A few days ago I went and test drove a few cars as I am pretty sure that I will need to replace my 12-year-old one sometime soon. While I was looking, I just decided that I should take a spin in some of the more exotic 2-seaters. After all, I can always look for a used Honda some other time. What's the big attraction for me? I guess they have always been exciting and I simply decided that this was my opportunity for a little fun. They were cars that I have always wanted to own, but I haven't been able to afford. As I looked past the Estimated MPG window stickers(which was 12 on the 427R Mustang!) at a luxurious and sporty cockpits, I was in another world. In the end, I was impressed with the Corvette, an American automotive legend. The Crossfire, well that was underwhelming to say the least. I really liked the Mustang. It is amazing how the Mustang and Corvette have come of age in 50 or so years.
It appears to have taken a long time for the automakers to return to their roots in some of the long standing classics, the T-Bird, the Mustang and VW bug all have retro styling in their new versions. The new VW even has heat! So what does all this have to do with spirituality? The church has long needed to return to its roots. I attend a denomination that was thriving about 10 to 15 years ago. Today, I don't see the exciting life that once was. What happened? I decided to dissect what was going on then, and compare the results to things today.
I used to own a 1968 Shelby GT-500KR and drove one of the new Shelbys, there is no comparison. The old one had more power, period. The new one handles better and has more creature comforts. I think the church is a bit that way. The old one had raw power, and the new one is made for comfort. For whatever reason, the two just don't go together. You can't have wild revival meetings in a neat little box where everyone is comfortable all the time. If God is there, the Holy Spirit will cause things to happen. It has always been that way.
There was a time when Baptists and Nazarene's (The original Holy-Rollers... yes the rolled on the floor laughing!) both spoke in tongues. But it didn't fit the package and the supernatural wasn't natural enough. It happens all the time. You make a fast car and someone gets hurt, so you remove the engine, right? Or you quench the Holy Spirit and sing a few songs and go home. Amen. Poppycock! You don't limit the car or the Holy Spirit, you train everyone to handle the power. It's about character, experience and training. Read Ephesian chapter 4. The church is meant to be equipped for the work of evangelism, teaching, prophecy, apostleship and pastoring. Last time I looked we were training people in homiletics and counseling. What happened?
Here is what happened. We took a good thing and made it comfy and explainable (natural). In the midst we got all religious about some prayer that worked 40 years ago. And when it didn't work we began to interpret the Bible to fit our needs, our cultures and the lack of understanding of the supernatural. For those that did experience the supernatural, we stopped working at it. We didn't want to pay the price of the anointing.
Now back to my original rant about my denomination. They have a list of of things that make them a denomination; a family, a way of worship. When I read the list I couldn't find one thing that we are doing to that fit. That IS what's wrong. One of our values is to see the gifts of the spirit moving. I would think that it might be in everyone, not just one. We used to train people in those things, now we have the "How Crappy was My Week" time and go home. Honestly, if we are going to race, we are going to have to train.
I'll see you at the finish line.