No new Crowder-Morrell post today – enjoy the Lord’s Day. If you must read my blog (God bless you!), let’s catch you up on the nu-pneumatic/emerging church dialogue we’ve been having this week, as well as some classic posts from the ‘ol archives that you might not be aware of.
First off for our new readers, some tie-ins I did last year looking at this whole phenomenon we describe as worship:
Restoring Worship: An Example
New Worship for a New Covenant
All this discussion about letting go and letting God be God in the more visceral, intuitive, and gut-levels of our beings elicited a phone-in comment from a friend at The Bridge in Portland. I don’t want to steal his thunder should he decide to comment, but in essence he’s been really, really into my initial post on Spirit-led deconstruction and John Crowder’s subsequent responses. To paraphrase, he said “What if the emergent movement could be known not just for our deep, insightful rethinking of theology and praxis; what if we could have fun, get silly, and let go in a way that modernity couldn’t? What if we’re missing out on some of God’s own re-thinking of our lives and agendas?”
This was funny to me, coming from a guy in The Bridge PDX, which is one of the most emotionally healthy and expressive emerging churches I’m aware of. Maybe the Sons of Thunder could thunder under The Bridge, bringing their heavy drunken glory to Brewtopia? I might fly out for that!
I haven’t danced in the aisles at worship in years and years, but I totally could – head and heart in rhythm – treated to a spirit and vibrancy and heartfelt integrity like this:
Their roving freeform worship band is Agents of Future. Their YouTube playlist can be found here; even better sound-quality songs can be found on their Myspace page – I particularly recommend “Nothing in the Way” and “I’ve Tasted You.”
Update: Here’s the complete post directory:
(Holy) Ghosts of Revivals Past
Charismatic Chaos or (Holy) Spirited Deconstruction?
What Is the Future of the Prophetic?
Guest Blog – John Crowder Speaks!
Crowder & Morrell Dialogue: What About the Fam? (Or, ‘Sex-Crazed Charismatics?’)
Crowder & Morrell: Kids & Cocaine Jesus?
Crowder & Morrell: Charismissional – What About The Poor?
Crowder & Morrell Final: Sweet Mystical Communion
Maybe today, wherever we are, and whatever we believe about pneumatology, we can sing our hearts out to the One who makes our hearts beat, saying ‘namaste‘ to the Sacred Pneuma in our midst, preferably inhabiting some near and dear people we just can’t live without.
Namaste, friends. Selah. And shalom.
If you come to Portland…let me know…I will buy you food…at a restaurant, even!
Wow, thank you, Mike. I had no idea you felt this way.
Well, what I said was that the spontaneous play aspect of what we’ve been discovering in our community (see THE WHIRRSHIP and TOMFEST set) is similar to what the New Mystics have been operating under in their ministry. A skill for throwing caution to “the Mighty Wind”, if you will. However, there still is a suspicion of the formalities of following the leading of The Spirit. That goes for me as well.
I was thrilled that you continued this conversation that Stephen started (hi, Stephen!) mainly because I have felt that it is a HUGE missing piece in the whole “rethinking church” conversation. The authenticity assessment tools most of us use are seriously flawed; biased by aesthetics and buried under semantics. Oh, and let’s throw one more tough thing in the mix: subjectivity.
So, last night I was suffering from SEVERE lower back pain. If you’ve suffered that brand of pain at all in your life, you know how powerless and helpless it makes you feel. I was desperate for relief, and Tylenol 3 wasn’t cutting it. My kids were compassionate, putting their arms around me, asking me what they could do. I felt sorry for them, having to see me like that, but I realized I needed their care so badly. They asked if they could pray for me and you should have heard their prayers: “We want you to heal daddy’s body”.
And here is where we all stand. What’s next? What happens? God moves in our requested way or He doesn’t. Authenticity, right motives, desperation, formula, all of that is pomp. Want we want is circumstance. Pomp could be the title of the sequel of Screwtape Letters. Screwtape 2: Belzebub Boogaloo, or whatever.
I watched most of the New Mystic vids and saw the India videos from their site, and again it struck me: who cares how it looks?!! Did the poor of that country give a damn about the emerging conversation? No, they just wanted healing and hope from an outside source! They were done fighting it themselves.
But I’m seeing similar arguments from each side (the sides being – those who believe that they are walking under the Spirit’s leading, and those who have decided it’s better to not claim they’re being lead by the Spirit but want it to be true). Conversations that amount to needless gatekeeping don’t move anything closer to health or close community. As it’s been said here, snobbery is robbery, but also it seems we forget that all of the wisdom we’ve received was a GIFT to begin with. So, whatever it is we’ve seen/experienced, we have to make it available for everyone to exercise/practice. That means we need to INSTRUCT folks and EQUIP them to do the work, if they’re wanting to try it, too. When that happens in the context of community we can address personal experiences and fears as they come up and walk alongside each other to greater stuff.
Theologically, my Conservative Baptist upbringing doesn’t allow for my hurt back to be healed, but here I am typing this pain-free. And I’m not questioning it, just enjoying it. I’m gonna go thank my kids and God now.
I used to play for a church league softball teame called Sons of Thunder. Kaboom!
“Maybe today, wherever we are, and whatever we believe about pneumatology, we can sing our hearts out to the One who makes our hearts beat, saying ‘namaste‘ to the Sacred Pneuma in our midst…”
Is this the voice of the Bride longing for her Beloved? 😉
“So, last night I was suffering from SEVERE lower back pain. If you’ve suffered that brand of pain at all in your life, you know how powerless and helpless it makes you feel. I was desperate for relief, and Tylenol 3 wasn’t cutting it. My kids were compassionate, putting their arms around me, asking me what they could do. I felt sorry for them, having to see me like that, but I realized I needed their care so badly. They asked if they could pray for me and you should have heard their prayers: “We want you to heal daddy’s body”.”
I’ll be keeping yo in my prayers. I had a bulging then ruptured disk and the pain affected my whole life. I fell into the hands of some fantastic Drs and had a miraculous operation. (I was pregnant at the time and the babies survived, but we were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) I pray you healing.
Love the post. I have thoughts but The Joshua Tree is on. 🙂 TTFN
I’m a little nervous..
I like what you provoked in me Todd, when you stated the question of whether or not those Indian people gave a thought about the interior of the establishment that was providing for them.
By the way, I didn’t watch the videos because I cant be patient like that, but I read everything. If this discussion is only about whether or not those two guys’ wacky spirituality is authentic or not, then my letters here are going to be a waste to you.
What I have been challenged with most recently, is the “why’s and about’s” of God doing seemingly trivial miracles. A woman told me about a man who finds precious stones by his feet. “He had an expensiive collection of rubies, lapis lazulis, and opals and things.” I have seen oil pour out of someone’s bible.” she said.
I hear about miracles happening all the time. I don’t have to accept them as truth ever, because I’m always told second hand or in some manner I can regard as less than 100% honest. I was unable to detect any dishonest motive.
What I really want to either trust/believe, or understand/see is that God is glorified in some way. If a bunch of inconspicuous, unorganized group of christians pray for a city and God honors that prayer with some kind of revival. Not a single one of them will have their hand shaken in thanks until heaven, but God is certainly glorified.
I’ve always felt threatened or at least thoroughly annoyed with improperly trained dogs that bark when you are nearby. My church has tolerated people who have come to church drinking, but never ever have made the suggestion that that would be okay.
When my friend told me about the miracles she had seen, I whole-heartedly believed her. I can’t correctly express the feeling I had when the emotions belief and skepticism came in at 100%, at the exact same moment. All I could tell you now is that I believe God does seemingly pointless little things, and seemingly desperate monumental things. For me acceptance is the next seemingly huge step. Thank you for reading.