Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Lacking anything original to say, I decided just to steal the blog post of a young sage. We've scraped this subject before, but I love the way she wrote about it.

I invited her over to chop us all to bits. This is a rough corner of the blogosphere.


void77 said...

Yes, the girl has a way with words!

I posted there. Here's what I said:

"Sounds like overall, it was a great experience! I definately know what you're talking about, but from a different perspective. I grew up in "that" pentacostal church, and eventually, was so turned off by the emotional "rush" that people seemed addicted to, that I ran to a Church of Christ for a short time and then found my way back into the non-denom Christian denom. ;) I think to really get a feel for what's going on there, you need to visit it a few more times. You'll start to see/hear a pattern. Not that hearts aren't passionate for God, but there's a whole lot of milk-guzzling going on, and not a scrap of meat in sight."

scott said...

So are we gonna argue the pros and cons of pentacostalism? Fantastic. We needed some controversy here.

People like Mary and Eric and Joe have this great background of different churches, and sometimes I'm jealous of it. Because I can *debate* the stuff, but I've never actually *lived* it.

So, once again, when do WE start our field trips to different churches? Why does Bethany get to have all the fun?

Oh, that's right... All of us are so tied into the STUFF we're involved in, that it's unlikely we could find any Sundays that we'd actually be able to go somewhere else...

Sorry, I'm off on the wrong topic again.

Joe B said...

So lets all quit. I've already enrolled in Wheaton. You know, to bring in the wild sheaves I never brought in in my youth.

(Or is that sowing wild oats?)

(You know, that sowing wild oats expression is hardly decent if yu stop and think about it.)

brian said...

I just can´t get over the over-30 being old comment. I must be ready for euthanasia by her definition. ;)

BTW, Scott, I´m pretty darn eclectic, too. Every flavor of Pentecostalism (ranging from loosey-goosey to legalistic), Christian Church, and now, Baptist.

Caffelalia. LOL, nice!

McSpaniard said...

So, uh, who´s going to add me to this list as a guest contributor?

Bethany said...

heehee. I like you old people. Seriously.I saw a Unitarian Universalist church in Evansville right before we moved. Someone visit there and tell me what it's like.

Yay Joe's coming to Wheaton! I'll teach you how to make a frapuccino in the cafeteria.

I suppose it all depends on each individual church and where you're coming from. I found the emotional hype (if you want to call it that) refreshing because I've been to more conservative churches all my life. Maybe we're just prone to veer away from whatever we've been raised in.

It would be interesting to visit more. I'm glad you commented, Eric. I've only been once, so I really don't know what I'm talking about. I asked the lady I talked to if she ever felt she needed to "fake worship" to blend in with everyone else and she bluntly said yes. But honestly, when is faking it not a problem?

Argue away, I want to see where this goes.

Joe B said...

Bethany was up past her bedtime.

You know, I did a study on baptism for the monthly Sunday School brawl. It caused me to really confront again how this thing emphatically repeats: people dramatically receiving the holy spirit, usually with the laying on of hands and often with speaking in tongues.

Joe B said...

My uncle attended a Unitarian church fo ra while. He said they argued perpetually. Man, if that's not ironic!!

scott said...

McBrian, I'll see what I can do about adding you... Shoot me an email so I know what address your McSpaniard ID is under. I have to add authors by email address.

I mentioned something way back in this post about the documentary "Jesus Camp" that I watched in the spring. It's quite an interesting look at pentacostals. I still think we all need to have a showing of it on a Monday night. Whattya think?

Unitarian Universalist -- The one I'm thinking of is right down the street from Mary's parents house. Mary actually attended church for awhile in that building before it became Unitarian. From what I hear, there's very little of anything 'Bible-related.' It's quite, um, just a feel-good sort of thing. But I've never been there, so what do I know. Sounds like a field trip opportunity! That would DEFINITELY give us some new material to discuss.

And Eric worries about 'Chicken Soup for the Soul'-styles of sermons? I can only imagine...

Fake worship? Fake tongues? I hear from ex-penties that it's fairly common. But I'm sure that has to be taken on a case-by-case (or church-by-church) basis.

I'm rather skeptical, but I'm open to being just a tiny bit tolerant of any freaks who aren't exactly like me.

McSpaniard said...

It´s a good thing that God is a pretty good discerner of the fakers and the authentic.

Can you be an Ex-Pentecostal? I don´t know if the definition is applicable. And I certainly can´t agree that glossolalia is something that man can easily judge as authentic or fake.

Heck, there´s fake worship in every church of every denomination all over the world.

void77 said...

scott said:

"And Eric worries about 'Chicken Soup for the Soul'-styles of sermons? I can only imagine..."

I'm not certain what you mean there, but the "I can only imagine..." quip cuts deep man... REAL deep....

Robotface Shumway (Big Doofus) said...

What us "fake worship?" Are you faking it if you sing about how great God's love is and yet you're feeling alone and worthless?

Let's expand that a bit. Is there a such thing as fake prayer or fake bible reading? How sincere do you have to be for an experience to be real?

Granted, I agree that there's a lot of fake speaking in tongues out there. If it's not fake, it's certainly not biblical if they don't have an interpreter. Speaking in tongues is a tough thing for me to understand in the church today, but that's another issue.

My point is that sometimes it's ok for us to go through the motions when we do so out of discipline. Our discipline (whether we "feel" like it or not) can lead us into real fellowship with God.

A few years ago our church building burned down and we ended up meeting on Sunday late afternoons for services at another location while we were rebuilding. I had the opportunity to visit churches on Sunday morning but I didn't do it enough. I'd really like to see what goes on in these places.

Sorry I've been absent for so long. I've been doing a lot of traveling with work lately--and then catching up back at the office.

scott said...

When I say "ex-Pentecostal," I'm really just refering to that as a denomination -- as in, those that belong to that type of church, or those that believe a certain way. Someone could call me an ex-Baptist I suppose, although it doesn't mean I'm against everything the Baptists believe.

We talk so much about the heart and about motives. But like Rog said, sometimes we do something out of discipline. Plus, how do *I* even know if my worship is true or fake? I sure don't always FEEL sincere.

I think there is a big difference between:

A) Singing along to worship songs on a Sunday morning even though you aren't in a very good mood, and

B) Acting as if you are "speaking in tongues" when really all you are doing is babbling, because you know it's expected of you.

So, yes, fake worship is everywhere. But the difference is that one is slightly insincere. And the other is essentially lying.

Or maybe there really isn't any difference at all, and I'm just talking out of my butt.

Joe B said...

Great comment there, Shumway! Wow.

My tour of duty among pentecostals taught me their way is superior in just one big, fat respect: They fully expect that people are SUPPOSED to swerve out of human norms, that God is BEYOND our expectations. That it is NORMAL to get out of the NORM because that's where GOD is. And brothers, I miss that dearly. Those folks really DID reach into their pocket and turn it inside out on a whim. They really DID occasionally step out of their new shoes becasue someone else needed them more. They really BELIEVED that occasionally God would whisper in your ear that, for instance, the lady who just walked into that bar was one of his children who had fallen on desperate times, so get in there and show her a little kindness.

For each of these examples I can point an equal and opposite excess/abuse, mostly things to do with shamanism. (Spiritual intimidation, show-off stuff, and a general sense that "if it's not bizarre then it's not spiritual.")

I believe our distinctives become problems because we all segregate into different worship ghettos. Liberals left, conservatives right, and charismatics straight up on the chandelier. We are not there for each other to provide proper balance and make up for each others' shortcomings. No, we each deny each others' sincerity so that we can duck one anothers' authority as members of the Body.

Da zat make any sense?

Macca said...

Joe B said:

Liberals left, conservatives right, and charismatics straight up on the chandelier.

LOL! I hear what you're saying, but there seems to be a real movement away from such weird extremes in many of the charismatic churches I've visited in the last few years. It's still there in many of them, but many of them have finally caught on that weird stuff drives people away. That's the thing: People are weird, God is not. When non-charismatics experience something authentically supernatural, they are able, by and large, to rubber stamp it as something of God. It's just the human weirdness that tends to get in the way. God used the prophets to relay His message in the Old (and New) Testaments, and let's face it: those guys were flat-out freaks in real life. They lived in caves and ate bugs because "God told them to." No wonder they got a bad rap. My point is, their eccentricities tended to flavor the message, and the Scriptures which we treasure are marked by their human-ness.

No, we each deny each others' sincerity so that we can duck one anothers' authority as members of the Body.

Ouch. That's what I'm struggling with right now. Our church (which is of a mainline denominational flavor) is currently doing a topical study of the Holy Spirit. In this time, I have heard Charismatics labeled as "extremists" and other not-so-complimentary things. Sure, they can be.

But I agree with Joe, and will expound further that each denomination (excluding cults) has been revealed a powerful Biblical truth that is central to their experience, and has relevance. Movements are born when God wishes to emphasize a truth. Our problem is that we tend to exalt that truth (revelation) to the point that it is equivalent to the central tenet of our faith, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Such exaltation of truth distorts our view of the Gospel.

In the end, as the Apostle Paul said, I probably "speak in tongues more than all of you." But I'm not weird or bent out of shape spiritually. Being a Reformed Pentecostal hasn't distorted my view of the cross. That's what we can agree on anyway, isn't it?

scott said...

Strangely enough, the only time I ever remember Brian praying in tongues was at UK football games, when Jared Lorenzen would throw up a pass.

Macca said...

I´ll bite my tongue(s) on the Lorenzen comment, but I must ask, what weird, twisted universe finds both IU and UK 5-1????

Joe B said...

IU actually managed to accure 5 wins in only 2 games, an NCAA first. The first game was against Charlie's Angels and the second was versus the Olsen Twins.