Years ago I flirted with the charismatic world. I suppose the farthest I ever got was Vineyard, which may only be like making it to second base, I really don’t know. During Bible college I became pretty sickened by the rank intellectualism of the seminarians I was encountering and so became a champion of headless spirituality. Now you have to understand, I mean that in a positive way. So much of Western Christianity is pure frontal lobe. As Richard Rohr says, “it’s about 1/3 inch of 1/2 of your brain”. Frankly, I think that there needs to be more heart and more hands within spirituality. Head, I feel, can often get in the way…at least it has for me historically. Alright, skip ahead several years. Fly over the anti-intellectualism of my house church days. Zip across most of my snobbish counter snobbery rhetoric. Find me located in a much healthier place (I imagine), that appreciates all three aspects of the human organism. Feeling has a place, as does choosing, and so also does processing, analyzing, questioning, thoughtful discourse. Each of these are integral in a healthy integration of being incarnate (allowing All of God to reside in All of me). In other words, full spirituality requires all of my capacities exercised to their fullest capacity. That includes the intellect. In fact, I’m not sure if faith can exist without a healthy measure of doubt also in orbit. True worship of the Divine includes, in a Job-like sense, the questioning of the Divine. In fact, the picture we see in Job is one of a Holy community between GOD and Job filled with questions for one another. An integral spirituality requires thought, consideration, and ultimately question. This is a product, I would say, of the human intellect. I also believe that to the best of our ability we are compelled to be ‘articulants’ of the Word made flesh. We use the words we know to tell of the indescribable. We strive for better words that give more full expression to the ineffable Mystery of God. Language is also of a product of the human mind. As we see with Adam, the naming of things, the giving birth to word and description, is fundamental to being human and being made in the image of God. And finally we are compelled to be co-creators with God. Creation involves imagination. We are invited to imagine and RE-imagine new worlds or the world with new properties. This is another element of the mind. There are undoubtedly far more reasons than this to be thoughtful Christians, but for me 1)Question 2) Expression 3) Imagination are reason enough to cultivate a healthy appreciation of intellect among the trinity of the human soul.
I’m saying this because I want no argument for what I’m about to say. I want no one jumping out of the bushes and saying “Brittian wants us to ‘check our brains at the door’”. Because I don’t. I’m simply making a suggestion.
Back to the charismatic world. I admire them. I admire them because regardless of their daily issues or uncertainties there is an assumption that God is active in the world, both at large and in their lives. Not just any God, but the immanent God, the God who is HERE, the God who can overturn tables and hearts and bodies. To many in that move, God can speak and WILL speak. His voice is definite and deafening. Maybe this only applies to their church services. While the Presence undoubtedly springs from those events or meetings, the expectation flows into the fullness of living. There is a casual expectation that God will be made visible and He will be known. I deeply respect that. Actually, I envy that. I sort of think of it like this…if that isn’t the sort of God we are involved with then we should just move beyond God.
Here’s my thought. I’m bothered by the hyper critical intellectualism of post-mod melody making (worship services, etc.) Many of us were frustrated by sit and soak Christianity where church became a spectator sport and we all watched Pastor Jimmy slam dunk another sermon (while we sat on our hands and listened to him have a great time). Enter the dialogue styled talks of emergent gatherings or the small group anybody is free to share sessions of house church. Awesome!!! We weren’t sitting on the sidelines anymore, right? Guess, what…I believe the same needs to happen with worship and song. Just as the discussion in house churches or emerging churches requires an conscious engagement of the head, so this will require a conscious engagement of the heart.
I envision a space of suspended disbelief…a momentary blip in time where we consciously interact with our emotions and allow our imaginations to be activated. Psychology might call it, “silencing the internal critic”. Actually, all it really is is simply fully interacting with a moment, being present. Charismatics might call it, “following the Spirit”. Being in tune with the spirit and being moved by that. This moment is a expectation of the glorious. I imagine that it will take practice. I imagine that it will take courage. But I also imagine GOD will be there…powerful and present.
Wanna try it with me?
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