Some of the reasons I am a Post-Charismatic, and barely holding on to that…Part II
I used to take such pride in the word Charismatic. I felt it separated me from ordinary Christians and put me on a higher level. We were the “real” deal, not like those Baptists or Methodists. We were God’s special forces among puny regular soldiers.
I “sobered” up a bit when I came in contact with the Vineyard Movement. In general, people of that movement had a great love for “other” Christians, sometimes even people who had no love for them. I had and still have great respect for many Vineyards leaders who had and have the attitude of peace making when faced with unfair sometimes very mean-spirited attacks.
There was a very “earthy” feel to the Vineyard church i started attending in the early 90’s. I was amazed how down to earth people were and the love they had for each other and others. On Sunday morning you would often see bikers and bankers at the same table drinking coffee and worshiping together.
There was something going on that has later been labeled the “Prophetic Movement” with some of it’s origins in Kansas City, that’s when a lot of s**t was hitting the fan for me. It’s like many people stopped thinking. People turned acts of love and kindness into waiting for hours for the professional “prophets” to give them a word. People who seemingly hours earlier wanted nothing more than to see God move in the supernatural right smack in the middle of their ordinary life, at work, in the grocery store, now lived at conferences or traveling to see the prophets. Character had played a huge role up til now, all of a sudden people started over-looking obvious character flaws to “receive a word”. Gifting became king, over-ruling everything.
All my issues with what was going on multiplied greatly during what was called the “Toronto Blessing”. Another “move” of God. Among some people you were considered worse than a total heathen if you didn’t go to Toronto to receive the blessing. Shaking, barking, laughing, falling, became signs of maturity for many. Staying married, paying bills, loving your neighbors getting involved in your community fell on the back burner; boring things left for the non-committed, nonspiritual losers. I do want to note that many Vineyard leaders fought this tooth and nail and tried their best I think to bring things back normal, whatever that was.
Charismatic issues was not part of the main factors why my wife and I eventually left the Vineyard. A lot of what I have shared in this post I didn’t connect with theology until later. I just thought people were stupid and immature, to be honest. It has been easier to make a fair and balanced take on things from the “outside” so to speak. I still have friends in the Vineyard, some deeply committed to the things of God, in very mature and wholesome ways. Some, still with their heads in the clouds with little or no connection with reality, tending only to their need for spiritual fixes. All they talk about are what has happened to them, or what will happen to them, or what they wish happened to them. They get the ‘no-one-is-home” look in their eyes at any great story of super natural kind. Sad really.
Calling myself Charismatic I feel, will side-track me. Since healing, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and things like that are not the main point of it all, it can’t be my main focus. It’s like if I was a football player but called myself a Gatorade drinker. Drinking Gatorade is important but not the main point. I hope that makes sense.
I am trying to rid myself of all additives, I don’t even call myself a Missional Christian, or a Emergent Christian, I am deeply committed to both those conversations but my main focus is Jesus, as naive as that may sound. My life has been deeply interrupted by God. I have been called to follow Jesus wherever He may take me. That’s my main focus.