They call him the “Peace Troubadour.” Or at least that’s what he calls himself.
His name: James Twyman. His website says he’s written 15 books, produced seven music CDs, and made five movies. He’s credited as the writer of Indigo, a 2003 film that, according to its Wikipedia page, “deals with the supposed phenomenon of ‘indigo children’ – a set of children alleged to have certain ‘special psychological and spiritual attributes’.” Indigo “was distributed primarily to New Thought churches,” which teach that all illness is psychological in origin and that the right kind of thinking can heal sickness. The film was released through “the Spiritual Cinema Circle, a DVD club that mails spiritually themed films to subscribers each month.” The film’s Wikipedia page cites precisely one review, which called it “crass and alienated beyond belief.”
In 1994, according to Twyman’s site, he “put the peace prayers from the 12 major religions to music and began traveling the world as ‘The Peace Troubadour.’” That’s not all. He’s also “the founder of The Beloved Community, a network of spiritual peace ministers around the world.” The network’s website, which looks just like Twyman’s personal website, quotes a thirteenth-century “Cathar Prophesy” as saying:
The Beloved Community has no fabric, only understanding.
The Beloved Community has no membership, save those who know they belong.
The Beloved Community has no rivals, because it is non-competitive.
The Beloved Community has no ambition, because it seeks only to serve.
The Beloved Community knows no boundaries, for nationalisms are unloving.
(The Cathars, by the way, were Gnostic Christians who thrived in southern Europe from the 12th to 14th centuries.)
Twyman’s site further informs us that he founded something called the Seminary of Spiritual Peacemaking, “which has graduated and ordained over 500 ministers.” It, too, has a website, which explains:
Our goal is to train thousands of dedicated people to serve the world as Peace Ministers in the Beloved Community, being the front line in a profound movement toward lasting peace. In the program we assist people in celebrating their unique gifts,finding their path of service and in identifying ministries where they may best BE Peace.
In other words, Twyman is, or at least represents himself as being, a New Age macher.
Frankly, we hadn’t heard of Twyman before. That changed earlier this month, when he made international headlines. Here’s the beginning of the story at Fox News:
An Oregon folk singer plans to leave next week to serenade the Islamic State, and he intends to bring the black-clad barbarians a prayerful message of peace – despite a warning from the State Department that his life could be in danger.
One of Twyman’s CDs is called God Has No Religion. That should be popular with ISIS.
The Fox story continues:
James Twyman, of Portland, Ore., told FoxNews.com he feels a “calling” and believes he can soften the hearts of the Islamist army known for beheading Westerners, throwing gays off of buildings and summarily executing innocent women and children.
“It’s going to be pretty powerful,” Twyman said, referring to his plan to have those attending and others around the world sing and pray for peace at the same time. “When people come together and focus on something in a positive way…there’s scientific evidence that it can change things for the better.”
A report in the Daily Beast added further details. Twyman would fly to Italy on January 20. After a weekend there, he’d head to Tel Aviv. From there, it’s on to the Majdal Shams, a town near the Israeli-Syrian border. Which means he’s probably arriving there…about now.
We’ll be staying tuned to see what happens.