Sunday, November 29, 2009

Voice for Sanity

Interesting perspective on the 'meltdown' of pentecostal-charismatic Christianity ...

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/november/33.42.html

'A Voice for Sanity'

This article gets the fire going in my bones ... we are presently in the early stages of a huge housecleaning of religous nonsense and 'Christian' narcisism ... was it Stokley Carmichael who said "burn baby burn" ?

12 comments:

steve H said...

Good article -- sad reality in many ways.

John M. said...

I feel so removed from all that... I picked up a copy of
Charisma a few years ago in a bookstore. The ads (and some of the articles) saddened me an mostly turned my stomache.

just joe said...

thats kind of a strong reaction John.

What about the moving of the Spirit? do we want to throw that out?

Brian Emmet said...

I was struck by the manner in which so many charismatics (and I continue to number myself in that tribe, at least in some ways) have such a visceral reaction against anything that is non-spontaneous, organized, institutional, disciplined, etc. and yet can't seem to see the highly-patterned outlines of their own practices. I guess the question is, as Joseph indicated, what are the marks of a "move of the Spirit"? We obviously don't want to miss out on those... but not every wind that blows blows from heaven!

John M. said...

Joseph, I love the Holy Spirit, pray in tongues everyday (it's kind of my default instinct; I have to be careful in some situations), and welcome His presence and intervention -- in fact desire it deeply.

But I also react strongly to what I preceive as "money changers", "prophets", "apostles", and "teachers" who, IMHO are marketing and, at times prostituting the gifts and anointing. The hype and apparent hubris shown in the advertisements for "prophetic" conferences and seminars were most offensive to me.

Like I said, I feel so removed from those circles, that I can't really make any kind of accurate assessment. All I know is what I feel "in my sprit" when I touch some of what seems to be represented as the present iteration of the "Charismatic Movement".

On the other hand, I see some very postitive influences from the "move of the Spirit" on the larger Body of Christ.

just joe said...

I am almost done grading 50 essays (ugh … I enjoyed my colonoscopy much more!)

To respond to you John, of course I tend to agree with you and I am a critic of many things in contemporary Christianity; seeker sensitive mega-churches, evangelical self righteous anger, religious right politicization along with charismatic self-promotion and Christian moralizing and judgment toward the world. We have discussed most of these issues in here.

But I think one needs to be careful when one’s emotional reaction is intense and visceral. The same judgment we mete out toward the charismatics and Pentecostals will be meted back to us in the same measure. Those stones have a homing device that cause them to boomerang back and hit us in the face.

We ARE the church … and everything we are critical of in the church is also in us to some degree. As we have discovered after nearly 60 years … it is much harder for us to change ourselves than we ever suspected in our younger and more idealistic days. The only one that safely throw stones and can call Pharisees a bunch of snakes and get away with it is the one who has never sinned.

Martin Luther was pretty pissed … and over the next century or so multitudes perished in religious wars. Maybe there was no other way for the Reformation to take place, but there was a host of unintended consequences.

I am reminded of a verse that says “the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” … I know, I know, look who is talking! Back to the last three essays. I saved the worst for last.

Brian: I agree.

Brian Emmet said...

There's an interesting essay in the latest issue of Harvard Magazine about PhD programs in the humanities, Joseph: http://harvardmagazine.com/2009/11/professionalization-in-academy, but you probably don't want to read it in the midst of your paper-grading!

I think one of the signs of a "move" of the Spirit--and where did that term come from?--is that people are actually moved to change, moved to move towards God and into God's purposes. If this is so, then many of the moves of God actually happen pretty quietly, without a lot of fanfare or notice... more like a breeze than a storm? Waiting too much for the "next move" may blind us to what the Spirit is already setting into motion all around us already.

just joe said...

I read the article... it is good and I agree with it. I am grateful in some ways that I did not do the PhD earlier in life when I was more impressionable.

Because I have roots in Miami (illness, children and grandchildren) I will not likely be willing to move across the U.S. to take a tenure track prof. job ... so the chances of me making the cut are almost nil. This is my 4th year in the PhD program (not counting the part time masters) ... I hope to be done in 18 more months give or take 6... but one never knows. I get compensated more now (not much) as a TA for one class per semester than I would as a PhD "adjunct" which is almost like slave labor ... so ... there is some motivation to drag it out.

Regarding the move of the Spirit, I agree with you. By that logic, some things that are called "moves of the Spirit" might actually in the long run be very counter-productive in terms of enduring transformation. This seems to have been the case in Wales, and in Northern New York where Finney was very active.

Time to move on to another topic?

Brian Emmet said...

OK. Suggestions anyone? Joseph, are we still ON for January in the Keys--and if so, do we have firm dates? It's not too early to start sniffing around for good airfares!

just joe said...

yes, we are still on for Jan. 15-17/18. I have tent sites already reserved ... $45 per night. up to 4 adults are allowed per site.

I forgot to ask them about the cost for the cabins/hotel rooms.

Regarding topics, when there were 8 to 10 or 12 people contributing, it took 50 or more comments for everyone to be able to say their piece--and respond--but with only 3 and sometimes 4 of us conversing, anything much longer than about 10 comments starts to drag and become a little repetitive for me.

I mostly just enjoy the banter of staying in touch with you guys ... whatever we talk about.

by-the-way, we had some mildly good news on the medical front ... I posted it on our "friends" blog.

John M. said...

Ouch, Joseph, I just got hit in the face by one of those "boomerang judgments". Thanks for the gentle repremind. Seems that my "reactor" is always cooking...

Regarding our youthful idealism and wish-dreams... I'm reading "The Fellowsip of the Ring" (You read that right. "Reading", not "Re-reading". I'm still illiterate in many areas!)

When the members of the fellowship are preparing to leave Rivendell after the council, Elrond says, ..."For you do not yet know the strength of your hearts, and you cannot forsee what each may meet upon the road." Gimli responds with, "Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens." Elrond replies, "But let him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not seen the nightfall."

I identify, both with making commitments and expecting loyalty that could not, under the stress of life and our inherent weaknesses, be kept. And with discovering that my heart was not nearly as strong as I had thought and hoped...

Thank God for his grace and mercy and forgivness to berayers and covenant breakers, in whose company I am a peer...

John M. said...
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