Charismatic past and present or coming out the closet

There has been much talk in blog-land of the stuff going on in Florida and John Crowder’s approach to correlations between the effects of the holy spirit and drugs (I might be inclined to call this re-contextualisation in a similar way to how we use Flow, – maybe I am not as on the edge as I thought). One the best posts by far is by zoecarnate The Last Unicorn full which also has nearly all the links you need if you are unaware of what i am toking about.
As well some questions about the methods, much of the criticism is linked to the label of revival being given to this and the lack of impact on the community. There are questions and references made to the Toronto stuff a few years back and again the impact and the outworking in communities was a factor in this at the time.

Now I am an open skeptic, and back when the 1990s was uncomfortably linked to a house church that openly embraced the Toronto blessing. Skeptically I went along to a meeting, and sitting quietly at the back, could not get my head around what was going on and didn’t agree with the antics, so just thought I might as well use the time productively and quietly prayed. My main motivation for skepticism (as someone committed to the wholistic gospel and social justice, and living in a marginalised community) was exactly the same as many have now ie why isn’t this affecting the streets, why not the poor, where is the kingdom outworking?) but as I sat skeptically at the back praying slowly my hands started to heat, until they were what I only describe as vibrating with an intense heat as if on fire. As I went to stand to try and talk about it with a friend, I staggered as if drunk, and all I could say to my mate was “my hands my hands” repeatedly. At which point someone suggested I lay hands on him and as soon as I moved my hands towards him, he collapsed (i didn’t get as far as touching him). This and a few other strange occurrences happened at the time, and the explanation (or word) suggested at the time was that God was loosening some things in me.

In the past few years as I have reflected on that time I have come to understand that I would not be where I am now without those experiences. There was some real loosening, I do feel God implanted a real courage to move out in mission with the community, that I have become aware of in recent months, and that the work I undertake around Flow and the creativity stems from this releasing by the Spirit, and yes it does have an impact on the community, the kingdom. (At the time it did have an impact on the young people I was working with as well and many became Christians and are still pursuing God)

Now how much of that outward impact is due to me being in a place where that is/was my focus i am unsure. Are we expecting God to bypass the church in seeing this stuff happen on the streets, and are we advocating our responsibility by this expectation? What I find interesting is that some/many people who I now see as kingdom activists or emerging church activists, have had charismatic experiences of one kind or another in the past, but have moved on? into more grounded community/mission and do not see a link. Certainly many who comment on the various posts, acknowledge a charismatic background. So although I remain an open skeptic I am very glad the impact that this had in getting the conversation going about the charismatic in emerging circles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.