Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Same same but different

Från The Ochlophobist:

"There are Pentecostals and then there are Pentecostals. I have known what might be called earthy Pentecostals in my lifetime. In fact, my long time best friend and his father are of this sort – and they were not uncommon in the hollows of my youth. They might drink, smoke, and cuss, along with seeing demons under most rocks and speaking in tongues. There is the overboard spiritualization, but also a certain, unwavering tenderness. These might wear the garment of health and wealth, but they don’t really believe it, or they appropriate it through a sort of kenotic givenness to others – they pray for your health and wealth even as they are giving you the shirt off their backs. They know enough of mystery – they pray and believe that God gives and heals, but when He doesn’t they don’t ask questions, or, more importantly, they do not provide answers.

There is another “type” of Pentecostal – and these are the unearthy sort. For these, all things fall under the spiritualized economy of divine cause and effect – the universe is nothing but an assortment of answers. If you do not have, or you are not well, there is a reason. Inevitably these reasons are moral reasons, even when tied to the notion of faith. You are sick or in lack or under divine punishment of some sort because of a lack of this or that virtue. Obviously, this sort of theology is about as far from Orthodox Christianity as one can get. I have never in my life been able to relate to this sort of Pentecostal on a human level."


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