Archive for the ‘Charismatic’ Category

Ecstatic

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Today we took the historical step of visiting the church that we used to attend 25 years ago. It is very hard to sum how we found it. We are talking here about a church that was in the vanguard of the Restoration movement of the 80’s and one of the first churches to spin off from Church House Bradford and we have had the intervening time to rethink our faith and come to some very different opinions.The first thing I was surprised at was how free I was from the control that was exerted in the old days. You always worry in these situations that you might end up feeling like a naughty schoolboy. Secondly, I really enjoyed their ecstatic worship. The songs were contentless and repeated endlessly, but that is actually the point of that kind of worship. The whole purpose is to free your mind and enter either a receptive state where God can meet with you and speak to you, or where your creative self can suggest concepts and solutions to your conscious mind depending on your point of view. Sadly, the dark side is still there: unity through paranoia,  simplistic passivity and triumphalism all raised their ugly head. But the people are still great and the fact that so many are together after all these years definitely counts for something.

Back to Leeds

Friday, February 6th, 2009

Our big news is our relocation back to Leeds, which is where my wife and I grew up, after 18 years in Scotland.

Decision factors were: the termination of some long standing contracts, the age of our children, family health and the undefinable one: a sense of calling backed by some prophetic words of 14 years standing.

The prophetic side is what confuses some of my friends as they don’t know what to do with someone who refuses to fit the fundamentalist evangelical framework but still follows leadings.

For me it makes sense and I am sure that there are Quakers and Catholic or Orthodox mystics who would understand as well.

What this means for small voices, I don’t know. The concept never really translated into a group, though I do get feedback sometimes when a group elsewhere has used the materials. Maybe this is an opportunity fo the format to find a home.

The Great Charismatic Hijack

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Some time ago, I mentioned to some old friends that I would love to write a book with this title. They loved the title and felt immediately that they knew what I would write. So far so good: an instant positive response and a sense that the title was self-explanatory. Maybe I had a new ‘Post-Evangelical’ or ‘A Churchless Faith’ on my hands. Unfortunately the story that they instantly felt that the proposed book would tell was not the same one that I was espousing. In their scenario, the Evangelical Church was taken over by mad Fundamentalist Charismatics who ruined it.This surprised me at first. After all “The Great Train Robbery” was not a robbery carried out by a train. “The Great Rock and Roll Swindle” was not a swindle perpetrated by Rock and Roll. I was clearly referring to the hijacking of the Charismatic movement by something or someone else.It seems as if (I actually wrote, ‘just seems as if’, then noticed and edited it out) the word ‘Charismatic’ has become such an evil word amongst post-Restoration refugees that if you put it next to any accusation, it is automatically perceived as the villain.Which is a huge pity, because an exploration of the whole area of charisms with your inerrantist literalist glasses off reveals a whole wealth of understanding that we who experience sychronicity in our lives and call it ‘divine intervention’ and seem to receive extra information from the ether and call it ‘a word from God’, can usefully apply. It also sheds light on the sticky problem of unfolding revelation and dovetails well with post-modern understanding of media. More in a year or two…..