Thursday, October 09, 2008


Speaking in tongues is just a hint

People with weird-ass Pentecostal beliefs have been at the margins of my life -- and smack-dadgum-dab in the middle of it when I was a Southern Gospel radio guy as a lad -- and OK, well, they're nuts.

I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt and all, because, it is a free country, more or less, and God is de Judge, not me or any other human bean. But the White House is the last place I want any of them to be.

Sarah Palin and her most fervent supporters are dangerous.

This isn't about "beliefs." It's about the kinds of actions they imagine themselves taking in the name of God, and for God -- and imagination, especially when inspired by the search for power, especially the "wonder-working power of the Blood," if sought for selfish reasons, is not to be laughed off.

Thanks to Teresa at Anomalous Data for getting this stuff in front of me. Read all about these wackos, and be afraid, be very, very afraid.

The REAL 'Palin Derangement Syndrome'

The 'Third Wave of the Holy Spirit'

Catholic League Of One, Palin supporter, supports witch hunter

Makes me want to put a Christian flag sticker on my car -- UPSIDE DOWN.

With Europe losing its faith and the United States worshiping itself, the fastest growth in Christianity is in Africa -- and it's fundamentalist, mostly Pentecostal, and ignorant and fearful.

That worries me as much, if not more, than a Palin vice presidency and presidency.


Sigh. It just occured to me that the first followers of Jesus were ignorant, and fearful, and prone to go off on tangents.

So, I modify my concern for the Church in Africa. Ignorance and fear seem to be part of the pattern -- say, the first few steps on the Jesus Way.

I'm trying to be charitable! But the least they can do is stop stalking children and killing people in the name of Christ -- for Christ's sake!

And I don't care *what* all else, Sarah P. in the WH would be a farace and a disaster of ... biblical ... proportions.
I would note that the historical serpent/orisha based religions of much of Africa have firmly entrenched the concept of witches into their culture. The activities there do not translate easily into American thought. The new African Christianity that is rising in Africa will be African. In that sense, we will not recognize all of its adaptations or accomodations. Indeed we may not recognize it at all, much like the Christianity of slavehood that rose in America it will be significantly different than the WASP version.

And ER as per our talk of a few weeks ago, the article on temperment and political parties is on my blog today.
OK, I'll say it. The rolling on the floor and speaking in tongues thing has always creeped me out. But then, so does liturgical dance.

But the whole witchcraft thing is just bizarre. Having grown up in a Congregational church, with its historical roots in New England Puritanism, the idea that we're going to start having politicians shouting about having seen "Goodie Proctor consortin' with the Devil!" is beyond frightening.
Now, after I went and castigated MA for judging you, here you go describing "weird ass" charasmatics as unfit for the kingdom (they see our worship as quite artificial and wooden), and your view of African Christianity is well, a tiny bit condescending? Sheesh!
Seems that you have brought out an awfully broad brush today, my friend!
DrLobo, good points.

Broad brush? ONLY as pertains to the WH. That's my preference: That no tongue-talkin' witch-huntin' person occupy it. Didn't say nothin' about nobody's station in the kingdom. I'm talkin' purely secular gubment here.

But really: If it takes a broad brush to oppose stalking children and killing them in the name of Christ, well, I'm off to the Ace hardware for a truck load of 'em.

Oh, "weird-ass." It IS weird-ass to me. And, as has been pointed out, I'm wooden to them. So?
ER, was this post edited? Because I've searched it a couple times and I can't see anywhere that you claimed anyone was "unfit for the kingdom" as Anonymous claims.

I think there's a huge difference between people like MA, etc., who decide that, based on their particular naughty/nice list, I'm not getting into heaven vs. people like me who think that speaking in tongues and liturgical dance are creepy and that the Salem witch trials were a particularly dark point in America's religious political history, from which we should learn all sorts of important cautionary lessons.

Doesn't mean that I think tongue-speakers or liturgical dancers or witch-caster-outers are going to hell.

Apples and oranges.

By the way, if I state a preference for apples over oranges does that make me "judgmental" too? ;)
So, just to be clear, generally speaking, you regard Christianity in Africa to be "stalking and killing in the name of Christ"?
Hey Alan,

OK, so let's say you like apples, and I like oranges. That's fine, it is just a matter of preference.

But you might see things a little differently if I told everyone that your apples are poison, anyone who eats them is a wacko, and if you see Alan coming down the street with his apple cart, be AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID!!!!!! ;)
GP, read the links for clarity. I made no such broad claim. Neither does the link.
This actually a great analogy.

"But you might see things a little differently if I told everyone that your apples are poison, anyone who eats them is a wacko, and if you see Alan coming down the street with his apple cart, be AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID!!!!!! ;)

The apples aren't poison. But most people are allergic to them -- and I want them kept out of the WH. That's all I'm saying.
strike "most people"

insert "our secular government"
Note: A bossman here at work just remarked about my "inelegant country way" of saying things when I'm het up. Keep that in mind.

Strike "weird-ass," if it makes anybody feel better, and insert "odd, to me." Same thing, though.
Speficically, re: "So, just to be clear, generally speaking, you regard Christianity in Africa to be "stalking and killing in the name of Christ"?

No. Not what I said at all. This ties together my horror at witch hunting and the stalking of children, as referenced in the links, and the reality that the revival -- or "vival," I guess, is mostly Pentecostal and fundamentalist.
I'd like to point out that most Penecostals view Palin's variety of Pentecostalism ( NAR - New Apostolic Reformation)as a heresy.

However the NAR, or the "Third Wave of the Holy Spirit" or "Joel's Army" are a world-wide movement. They claim to have won millions to Christ through Spiritual warfare.

Practitioners claim that their "spiritual warfare" has had such effects as to destroy Catholic churches, kill Princess Diana, kill Mother Theresa, and caused hurricanes and earthquakes.

Whole villiages in various parts of Africa have sprung up to harbor children and elderly who have been run out of their homes by charges of witchcraft. Evangelical pastors demand payment in exchange for "freeing" children they themselves accuse. Desperate parents who cannot afford to pay abandon their own children to protect their other children. Infants-in-arms have been accused of witchcraft.

Seriously, (to the people decrying ER's judgement")if you can't judge that as wrong, what the heck good is your religion to you?

And might I remind you that "It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones." Luke 17:2
Anonymous, with respect, I don't know how often you've stopped by this blog or the blogs of our fundie friends, but I have *already* been called a false-teacher, a wolf in sheeps clothing, and much worse by our fundie blogger friends (ie. my apples are poison!), and that my homosexual agenda is to take over the church, recruit children, and make bestiality legal (ie. BE AFRAID!!!) And of course, I've been told over and over that I'm not really a Christian by all of them at some point or another.

That's last one is the judgementalism we've been discussing in other posts. Calling handling snakes or speaking in tongues or other stuff "weird-ass" (as ER says) or "creepy" (as I say) isn't even in the same league. I think mushrooms are weird-ass and creepy, too. I'm not fond of earwigs. Shall I apologize to the fungi and insect world too?

I'll let ER speak for himself, but I really think you should re-read the second paragraph of his post: "I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt and all, because, it is a free country, more or less, and God is de Judge, not me or any other human bean. But the White House is the last place I want any of them to be."

I don't think it's unreasonable, given history, to be wary of putting people who believe in witchcraft in the White House. There are plenty of people with plenty of beliefs I would not want in the White House. Religion is not a magic shield where one gets to believe in any ol' crazy thing and expect people won't use it as a basis to believe that person qualified or disqualified to be in office. If people make religion a political issue, then it's on the table to use as a reason to either vote for them or not. The personal, as they say, has become political. After all, some people believe being gay can be magically cured, and their supporters actually believe that's a reason to put them in office. So why, exactly is it wrong if I choose not to vote for someone with beliefs I consider weird-ass or creepy?

And, BTW, if I had a history of running people over with my apple cart, then you might have a good reason to tell people to be afraid. There are plenty of historical examples, but choosing just one, given this country's history with witch trials, in which the religious political establishment used such notions to kill many innocent women and one man, I think there's reason enough to be a little wary.

Also, as I noted, that was my own religious forbearers that did that (just as it was my own religious forbearers that burned Servetus for heresy.) So your implication that I'm somehow just pointing fingers at other people is incorrect.
Alan, re: "If people make religion a political issue, then it's on the table to use as a reason to either vote for them or not. The personal, as they say, has become political."

Wright on!
Indeed. I've seen far worse things being said about Liberation Theology than it's "weird-ass" or "creepy." And that seems to be a reason some folks won't be voting for Obama. Fine, that's their choice. Whatevs, as the kids say. Of course, many of those people go on to claim that Obama isn't a real Christian, or that he's a crypto-Muslim, etc.., etc., etc.

I'm not saying Palin isn't a Christian. I'm just saying that I don't want to vote for someone who believes that Witchy-Poo, Elphalba, and Witch Hazel are ganging up to get her and her little dog too.
And don't forget public policy that banks on these being the "end times" and Alaska being a "refuge" during the "tribulation".

I'd like to hear something about her policy positions and her reasoning. I find it unsettling that she doesnt seem to have any.

Today, I'd have to sommerize it as "We'er gonna get all Mavericky on it, there, ya know?".

Not settelin' kinda talk there.
OK, for the record, I join everyone here in opposing snake handlers, witchcraft practitioners, etc., in the White House. I don't disagree with religion being on the table in a political discussion. I cringe, though, when the language implies that child killing is representative of Pentecostalism as a whole or African Christianity as a whole, as opposed to it being the action of some Africans or some Pentecostals. (I am not a Pentecostal, but suspect that child killing is not among their creeds, I mean if they had creeds). Alan, the experience you describe as being targeted by "Be afraid!" language is the very point I was trying to make. I apologize for implying that you were finger pointing.

P.S. I agree that far worse has been said elsewhere about liberation theology.

P.P.S. Do the kids really say "Whatevs"? Gee whiz, I've got to get out more!
"This ties together my horror at witch hunting and the stalking of children, as referenced in the links, and the reality that the revival -- or "vival," I guess, is mostly Pentecostal and fundamentalist."

I see the link. Gotcha, thx.
I have good friends who speak in tongues, do not go to a charismatic church, but feel they've been given the gift for private use (eg one friend lost one of her children and had no more words to pray in her sorrow, and prays in tongues.) I believe the gift exists, but I don't have it.

Also the witch hunt doesn't have to focus on physical witches, I know a woman who won't let her kids read Madeleine L'Engle, a Christian youth lit writer known in the "world" too, because she writes about the "supernatural"(there's a lack of understanding symbolism,etc- and how is God not super natural?).

Teresa, what scares me with what you wrote, is that if these people really believe they killed someone with their spiritual warfare, they have, in their own minds, not only committed a crime, and are walking around gloating about it.
"P.P.S. Do the kids really say "Whatevs"? Gee whiz, I've got to get out more!"

So say my sources. I guess "Whatever" is just too long and their attention span is too short to finish the ...

Oh look! Shiny!
Karen, that is so sad about the person who won't let her kids read Madaline L'Engle!

I LOVED thos books! Meg was my hero!
Did I say 'gotcha'?

I meant you betcha!
Anonymous raises an entire straw argument here. I do not believe ER said there was anything un-Christian about the charismatic movement. He did say, however, that those who subscribe to these beliefs might pose a danger in positions of high power and authority, and he was uncomfortable with that. I see nothing wrong with that statement.

I think the witch hunter who appeared at Sarah Palin's church is hardly representative of Christianity in Africa. On a continent of nearly a billion people, forty-some countries (many of which are either Muslim or officially secular), Christianity takes a variety of forms, from traditional Roman Catholic and Anglican (especially in former French and British colonies respectively) to various liberation theologies (Cameroon and Senegal have produced some profound works of specifically African varieties of this genre, such as Jean-Marc Ela and Eboussi Boulaga). There is no one way Christianity is embraced in Africa.

Having said all that, I guess I would say that, like Alan and ER, I'm uncomfortable with the whole speaking in tongues thing - and I would double Alan's unease at liturgical dance - but that doesn't make it illegitimate. It just means we're uncomfortable with it. Like Alan, I've been called everything from false teacher to far worse, so I hardly think what I've written is even close to the same league as what our opposite numbers have said.

ER's post was about the dangers to our secular government posed by "Spirit Warriors". He was not calling in to question their Christian faith.
BTW, I should clarify, lest someone come to the incorrect conclusion that I'm a spoil-sport or stuffy.

I am against liturgical dance by anyone over the age of 6. If, however, like one of our flock, you are 3 and like to dance to the postlude, that is allowable.
OK, I didn'
t know what the liturgy was until about three years ago, and I have NO clue what liturgical dance!
You don't have a clue about liturgical dance? Count yourself lucky.

Liturgical dance usually consists of several past-their-prime housewives with no previous music or movement training, in leotards, "dancing" badly to hymns and/or other sacred-ish music, with or without waving ribbons-on-sticks around.

It is neither liturgical, nor dance.

If you're an Olympics buff, think the Rhythmic Gymnastics competition, but with septuagenarians. Or think "interpretive dance" but in church, and with arthritic organ accompaniment. Or think, "seizure to music."

But hey, that's just my opinion. If someone here does liturgical dance in their church, I'm sure you're totally wonderful. Really. Mean it. :)
Alan's right, but often they get young girls to dance as well, and it's embarassing. They wave little floaty veils around, spend a lot of time staring adoringly at the ceiling with their arms up in the air, while they follow choreography developed by someone who evidently never took dance herself.

Yes, Teresa, isn't it sad?
Oddly enough, I have never, not once seen a man do a liturgical dance.

When I was at Calvin, liturgical dance occasionally occurred at daily chapel. Of course in those instances it was college women who were dancing, and often dance majors. Since daily chapel wasn't required by that time, I suspect it was just a way to get the men into the chapel.

I went anyway, but just for the hymns. :)
Joel's Army gives me pause. We in Oklahoma City have a special aversion to any militia type organization. Joel's Army certainly fits the bill.

I have walked in the blood that such thought has shed.
So it wasn't the skimpy Danskin litugical wear that attracted you, or the attractive colors it comes in?
If you think about it though, it is a big step for churches where dancing was traditionally taboo - now they allow this, which years ago would have been heresy.

I can't wait 'til Christmas Eve service - we're always garanteed to have some then :(
Christmas Eve??'s the dance of the sugar plumb fairies. We just do lots of candles and try our best not to set all the pine stuff on fire.

You're right about the taboo part. Not long before I started at Calvin, dancing was strictly verboden. (As was card playing, and chapel attendance was mandatory.) I guess once they started the liturgical dance in chapel they realized it was cruel and unusual to mandate attendance.

I can't wait for liturgical card playing. :)
Anybody remember the joke about certain denominations not allowing the act of procreation standing up?
It might lead to dancing.

"Why don't Baptists have sex standing up? ... Somebody might think they're dancing."
Three things Baptists don't recognize:

1. The authority of the pope.
2. Laws banning prayer in school.
3. Each other at the liquor store.
Sorry I didn't join in this conversation earlier.

First things first: Yes, liturgical dance is creepy. UNLESS someone here engages and finds it meaningful, in which case I say, good on you.

Maybe that sort of worship should be a private kind of worship, in your own home? Just sayin...

Unless you're a child under six.
Now, to the more substantive question of charismatics and politics...

I spent a good many years in evangelical circles that regularly crossed paths with the more charismatic. Good people, by and large. They tended to be affirming of women in ministry. They tended to be genuinely concerned about the "least of these" and put that concern into practice in the real world.

Very good people.

They were/are my Christian brothers and sisters.

BUT, having said that, to a one, I would not want them to run for any office beyond dog catcher. They are just too mystical for their own good.

I think the same thing about some (but not all) of my New Agey friends and would probably think the same of any Voodoo practitioners, if I knew any.
Hidy, Dan. That's all I'm sayin.
Thanks ER for the new joke. It's hilarious and so true.
I was trying to tell the other joke without the "s" word...
I'm afraid you may wake up in hell some day if you don't get back to a "Real" church and away from those that are a sure thing to be there. Bless your soul!
A "Real" church being one that does not allow liturgical dancing because it makes the audience feel awkward, or one that openly encourages having sex standing up?
I'm a bit confused.

But maybe what you're saying is: in a "Real" church everyone would be up front about their alcohol consumption.
How can I know if I go to an unreal church? I mean, if nothing unreal exists, then I may walk right though one and not even know it.

Drat. Relijuns is hard.
Um, as holder of the Anonymous franchise in the first half of these comments, I just want to clarify that I am in no way related to the so-called "Anonymous" poser who confusingly sent you to a restful hell (you'll "wake up" there) while also blessing your soul at 12:52 p.m. Over and out.
LOL! I'm pretty sure that was Mom2, or maybe Tug.
It's easy enough to distinguish one Anonymous from another ... mostly based on decent grammar, scare "quotes", and good spelling. :)
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