Wednesday, June 29, 2005

But that's not to say

I don't believe in signs and wonders, or wish for more here among us Westernese.

Reading the New Testament through recently I was struck by two things.

1. How incredibly central the Holy Spirit was to those people, and how the Holy Spirit was worshiped and glorified.

2. How much those people longed for heaven, and how heaven focussed they were.

Two themes I have been giving much thought too. I think that the modern church, here in Westernese, a. ignores the Holy Spirit too much (bar some movements obviously) and b. is far too earth focussed.

Unfortunately Dad has stolen the heater and my hands are beginning to freeze to the keyboard and my back to front mouse. I will expand later, so please hold the firing squad.


Iain said...

The reason why people might feel too "earth focussed" is because that is a reaction to what has been a movement in just the opposite direction - towards an 'afterlife mentality'.

There is no point preaching heaven to a people already with their head in the clouds, who feel that saving souls matters, but physical needs don't, and going on spiritual crusades through africa is the order of the day compared to providing aid.

Traditionally, people never get the balance. If you are spotting the 'earth focus' that's probably quite good because it means that your faith community hasn't been afflicted by what we've got up here in the Big Smoke. Now it's up to you to provide the healthy tension for them, so that we get communities where people pull in both directions equally.

That's why I found going to a pentecostal church interesting for a time, it had a charismatic pull that balanced my previous influences. But those days have gone, now I'm floating free like a little barnacle, all suckered up with no place to go.

Highly interesting you say that, by the way. Nice to hear those kind of reflections.

SubversNZ said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Sharyn.

Perhaps God does more miracles than we think...?

He once healed my dogs miraculously... they fell down a cliff (grazed and limping), but we prayed for them and they were fine, not even a scratch.

But perhaps we don't see as many healings etc because he wants people to heal people, to be Christ to each other.

In Africa all many people have is each other, but in the West we take each other for granted, so perhaps the miracle God does in the West is community, while in Africa it is healing etc...?

Just some thoughts...

andrew brown said...

I don't quite understand what you mean by "ignores the Holy Spirit"?

We worship God (and the Holy Spirit for that matter) with our entire lives, how by doing that are we ignoring the Holy Spirit?

I don't mean to troll, thats not what I'm doing, but I used to go to a "spirit filled" church and now my new church isn't "spirit filled" but I would say there was just as much of the Holy Spirit at my new church as my old one even though at my new church we don't ever "see" the effects.

I only say this because I don't want you to mistaken certain things as the Holy Spirit. I'm not saying you are but I do believe it's a wee bit of a trap.

Iain said...


What Sharyn means by "ignores the holy spirit" are those churches that devalue the role of the Spirit in the Godhead, the ones that talk about Jesus heaps and God's love.

The one's that talk about helping people physically and not saving them. The ones that would rather give humanitarian aid to Muslims for the rest of their life even if they are banned from preaching Christ.

The ones who aren't charismatic, as your church must be. The ones who might be cessationist - who doubt that the spirit works in miracles today.

The ones that would rather feed and clothe a person, meeting their material needs, than address any spiritual issues.

Those people practice Christ without preaching Christ.

Other people, their opposites, preach Christ without practicing him.

We need both. Sharyn is pointing out that, in her assessment, the people she has come across are of the practising variety, not the preaching. I'm the opposite.

Both require balance.

andrew brown said...

"What Sharyn means by "ignores the holy spirit" are those churches that devalue the role of the Spirit in the Godhead, the ones that talk about Jesus heaps and God's love.

The ones who aren't charismatic, as your church must be"

If I understand you right, are you saying that my church ignores the Holy Spirit? Because it sure as hell does not.

Although I do agree with your other points, in theory though, as Sharyn is saying that modern church often ignores the spirit, and I don't in practice see many churches doing what you said, ignoring the spirit.

Iain said...



The one's who aren't charismatic, unlike your church which must be.

Hope that's clearer now.

Also, whether you see it around you or not, I can assure you that there are both types of churches in the world. There are definately those that do works-based Christianity and there are others that do words-based Christianity.

If you don't see many of the works-based ones and tend to find many healthily charismatic ones, that's awesome. It doesn't mean the ones that you don't see don't exist ;)

andrew brown said...


But either way I wouldn't say my church was charismatic AT ALL but I don't really want to argue :) Peace out.

deb said...

Gosh that's all very deep. I just want to know what Sharyns hands have thawed out enough to type some more and what are you doing to do for heat when you leave home?? Maybe you should consider the purchase of a heater, preferably a works-based one!!