Tuesday, July 10, 2012

On Holy Rolling and Social Justice

First, an admin note.  To all three of you (I'm assuming there are only three of you left at this point since I haven't written in three months), I'm sorry I've been gone for so long.  In the last three months, I got a house ready for sale, put it on the market, sold it, went on vacation, found a new job, lived like a nomad, quit my old job and moved across country, got a new place, and started the new job...roughly in that order and all while dragging my poor wife and boys around behind me. 

So please, forgive my absence, things have been, in a word, insane.

I'm going to ease back into this blogging thing by asking a fairly straightforward question that I asked the social networking world today: What would happen if Pentecostals were as passionate about seeking justice as we were about seeking "God's presence" in a worship service?

Don't think this just applies to we Holy Rolling Pentecostals, though.  I think similar mistakes are made across the spectrum of Christianity with unique expressions in different denominations.  Really, if you look at your local church body and see one particular activity being represented as somehow more holy than doing the work of the gospel, the same reasoning applies.

Anywho, I asked the question that way because it's the only way that I could fit it into 140 characters, but what I've really REALLY been struggling with of late is the question: how do I impart in these dudes:
 a desire to "act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly" with God?  And how do I encourage them to pursue those ends with same fervent intensity that we Pentecostals tend to teach them to pursue a certain specific set of circumstances that we commonly refer to as "the presence of God" (or insert your own religious flavor of the month here)? 

Now don't misunderstand me, I'm not negating the meaningfulness of these particular experiences, but I do have two specific bones to pick.
So let's commence bone-picking.
  1. These experiences are often treated as ends in themselves instead of as a means of moving us toward a more concrete expression of the gospel. When our Sunday mornings or Wednesday nights or whenever we go to church becomes its own end, meaning we go to have these experiences solely for the sake of the experiences themselves, then we've lost sight of what it means to live a life that has been transformed by the gospel.
  2. Perhaps for the very reason listed above, these experiences are often placed in a place of priority over, you know, the ACTUAL WORK of the gospel and are often inherently individualistic in nature (it's about me getting what I need) instead of focusing on how we get "this" (the existential connectedness that we feel in that worship service) to "them" (the hungry, the thirsty, the sick, the poor, the naked, the stranger, the prisoner).  On this point, I can't help but think the process of bringing "this" to "them" begins first and foremost with meeting their needs. As Desmond Tutu once famously said, "the 'good news' to a hungry person is bread."
So that's it, I don't have any profound summation of anything, no Grey's Anatomy voice-over to tie all of the lines of thought together, just an honest desire to talk with other people who are similarly interested in learning the hard lessons of what it means to live out the gospel.

So please you two (I'm assuming one left at this point because I somehow offended them), talk to me.  What say you?


  1. Luke, I agree with you. The heart is what counts, and how it's postured toward God and then naturally the world around. Church, Worship, (name any) ministry - these things should all be about edification, self-lessness and bringing glorification to God through furthering the Gospel.

    If the core day-to-day of our faith are dominated by a "me" or an "us" centered mentality, then it's all for naught. When I lose the idea of "self" and try to get past my needs, desires and preferences - the world (and my faith) are better for it.

    The Gospel doesn't need me, I need it. Thus, the Gospel, worship, relationships should follow. This is easier said than done, but it starts with clarity about who I am in relationship to a big, good God, and how the good news isn't about me. It's about HIM, and that's so freeing and inspiring.

    I'm all in for getting owned by the challenge of living out the Gospel. It's a beautiful thing.


    1. "it starts with clarity about who I am in relationship to a big, good God, and how the good news isn't about me."

      Crapola that's good.


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