Thursday, September 29, 2005

The End is in Sight

No, this isn't going to be a "turn or burn", scare-the-heaven-into-you post about the end times. (Sorry if that disappoints anyone!)

The end that is in sight refers to my many months of research and writing on "Post-Charismatics". It was sometime in the summer of 2004 that British blogger Maggi Dawn first suggested (or challenged) that I put some of my thoughts of what it means to be post-charismatic into writing.

Since then, others have also contacted me to encourage me to start writing on it. So, in late January of this year, I started researching. Because of the sheer number of people that I personally know (or have come to know in recent months) who would identify themselves as post-charismatic, I wanted to do a really thorough and thoughtful piece of work.

Originally, I thought I would entitle the whole thing as "Post-Hype", but the more I thought about it, talked to others, and re-read a lot of books from a charismatic perspective, I realized that it goes far beyond the hype of charismania. The reasons people have been rejecting charismatic expressions of worship, spiritual gifts, etc. usually has as much to do with cultural aspects of the charismatic movement as it does with some of the theology.

A very real danger, IMO, that post-charismatics run is that we will reject the charismania aspects and "throw the baby out with the bathwater", and end up attempting to build a community of faith on our own strength and ingenuity. As Bob Girard wrote 35 years ago (nothing new under the sun, eh?):
"The idea persisted that much about (our church) with all its early marks of success was no miracle at all! It wasn't Acts. It was a monument to the kind of good things men can do... all by themselves. (emphasis in original)
My personal contention is that we dare not be post-Holy Spirit in our emerging, deconstructing communities of faith. What needs to happen is a careful re-examination, de- and re-construction, and re-imagining of our understanding of:
  1. A biblical view of authority and the five-fold ministry that is not hierarchical and controlling
  2. A view of spiritual formation (oldskewl: discipleship) that goes beyond the typical weekly crisis-event of "ministry time" but without eshewing genuine Spirit-initiated crisis-events
  3. The role of spiritual gifts -- including the more upfront (and often abused) gifts -- in the gathered Body
  4. The role of faith, and what it means to be living by faith; to be people characterized by faith
  5. Anything else that God brings to mind as I start working on the (final) section of a Reconstructed Praxis!
I received a couple of emails just this morning from other bloggers wondering if I had forgotten or given up on this project. I haven't! Lord willing, it'll all be online as a subsection of this website within just a few more weeks. Thanks should also go to Brother Maynard, an old friend in the analog and digital world, who has been proofing, critiquing, and fish-slapping encouraging me to finish.

The End is in Sight!