The Real Faces of Charismania

I know that it seems I’ve gone over the top on all things charismatic this month.  Personally, I am in the midst of processing my beliefs and feelings about all of us this which is why you get to read about.  My apologies to those who don’t relate.

Most of you know a little bit about my story.  During the three years that we were disfellowshipped, I went through the process of grieving, healing, and detoxing from a spiritually abusive church.  This detox focused on systems and structures, but didn’t really address my charismatic beliefs. Being completely separated from association with anything charismatic, that aspect of my former spiritual life became kind of a non-issue.

As other people left our former church, many of our relationships were restored.  After three years of detox and gradual personal change, suddenly I was surrounded by charismatics again.  Rather than examining a belief system in a detached manner, I was attending events and having conversations about this stuff.

In the past 6 months I have attended healing services, revival meetings, and prayer meetings, trying to sincerely observe, participate, and deal with how I now feel about it all now.  It is not the objective observance of an outsider because it involves people that I respect and love. Once you put names and faces on some of this stuff, it is no longer a black and white issue of doctrine.

I have been careful not to disrepect other people’s beliefs while trying to figure out how I feel about all this stuff. I do not want to disrespect the things that others value.  The fact is though that I see some things differently.

In the past month, I have processed and come to some conclusions about my view of charismatic christianity.  I have distilled the practices and values and developed a post-charismatic framework that makes sense for me.  I understand enough of the background and influences to know where the boundary lines are for me.

In the process of my study, I discovered that the doctrine our CLB has embraced isn’t something new and cutting edge.  It is the extreme of LatterRain teaching – prophetic presbytry for determining spiritual position, proper apostolic alignment necessary to access God’s grace for the individual, an elite remnant who will be purified to the degree needed to fulfill God’s purposes, the belief that they are needed for the salvation of the rest of us.  Good luck with that.

I am now comfortable and confident in my beliefs about the ministry of the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, church leadership, the role of apostles and other fivefold ministry in the church today, prophetic hype and revival mentalities, and the purpose of empowerment in the life of a believer.

I would rather find a place of unity in diversity than try to change others.  Yes, there is a discomfort at times when differences become obvious. I feel at those times it is most important that I emphasize relationship and diminish the differences so that my rejection of some charismatic practices doesn’t come across as a cause for division. That is what I can do. The other person then has the opportunity to decide if they will allow for those differences.

The reality of deconstruction in the midst of relationships is frequent moments of choosing how to react and respond.  And lots of questions…

Am I being authentic?
Am I allowed to be different?
What will it mean relationally if I don’t embrace the latest hype?
Am I equally willing to respect others where they are?
When do differences become too much to walk together?

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31 thoughts on “The Real Faces of Charismania

  1. Grace,

    Profound post. Your words truly hit home for me, as my wife and I are in the midst of a similar transition. We have committed ourselves to striving to maintain our relationships with our still charismatic/apostolic/Word of Faith friends, in spite of what we now see as the faults in those expressions of Christian faith.

    Unfortunately, we have already received clear evidence that no matter how hard we strive, everyone will not be able to accept us as we are now. With these persons, it means that we are not allowed to be different. Not our problem though. We are committed to loving our neighbors and following our Lord. I have truly enjoyed your site. Know that I have made it a favorite of mine on Technorati! Stay blessed.

  2. Hi Grace,
    I’ll try to answer your 5 questions as I understand them.
    Am I being authentic?
    Yes, you are authentic to what you believe. You believe that love is more important than being correct.

    Am I allowed to be different? This is difficult. There are forces at work that wants everybody to be the same. Allow others to be different. When people expects you to be the same as them, love them and do not budge from what you believe.

    What will it mean relationally if I don’t embrace the latest hype?
    It means that you will be a friend regardless of your friend’s circumstances, moods and beliefs.

    Am I equally willing to respect others where they are? That’s difficult. But each person has their own journey with God. They cannot have your journey. Aslo, we have to trust God with their lives.

    When do differences become too much to walk together? From your side, never. If they find the differences to much, then they can walk away freely.

    I have to go. I’ll write again.

  3. Grace,
    Thanks for reminding me that I have many Jesus-loving friends caught up in the charismaniac world who are always worthy of my love…and still worthy of my respect. Some days I just want to shake them. (Though I think most days they’d like to see me shake GRIN.) Loving and listening to them will have way more long-term impact.

    abmo – love your responses. Though I’m not 100% in agreement with point 5. I would tend to say to someone that has gone off the deep end – I’m always available for conversation but I am no longer able to walk with you. (Perhaps it’s simply semantics on my part.)

    As an example, if C Pete were a friend, I would tell him that I could no longer walk with him as I feel he’s leading thousands astray – and I would say it publicly for the sake of the Body. But I would also say that I am willing to engage with him in conversation, whenever and wherever.

  4. Grace,
    Thank you for explaining more of your background as it is helpful into understanding and knowing you better, as well as understanding the heart and topic choices of your blog posts. Additionally, I always enjoy “getting to know” fellow blogging friends more deeply.

    I’m sorry that you underwent such a rough and rocky institutional congregational experience. Sigh…you are certainly not the only one. Although my exit from the Religious system was not due to abuse (per se), I DO certainly know many who underwent an awful time before leaving. In my case, I was disillusioned with the box in several aspects (feel free to read “My Life Story” 8/12/08 on my blog for further details).

    Anyways, I love what you said here: “My friends get to be where they are at the moment. I don’t plan on making it my project to inform or change them. I would rather find a place of unity in diversity.”

    Excellent.

    Blessings,
    ~Amy :)
    http://amyiswalkinginthespirit.blogspot.com

  5. grace:

    Profound as usual…

    Just a few short weeks ago I was on my annual fishin’ trip with my 2 good high school friends. We’ve been doing this for 15 years now…

    Both are members of the largest 4-Square church in their area. We all have the same Jesus Movement history & associated charismatic/Pentecostal background. One friend staunchly charismatic & a defender of Bentley, the other a much more pragmatic skeptic as myself…

    We got into a heated debate about the Bentley/Lakeland implications & I can get fired up about such a topic after a few beers. Okay, after more than just a few. But the exchange was emotional & quite disturbing for him to even consider alternate perspectives that brought it all down closer to earth. It did not strain our relationship any, but it did get pretty animated.

    This same friend has a wife that claims severe Satanic Ritual Abuse part of her past. I told him a few years ago I simply did not believe his wife & that she was the victim of recovered memory issues that clouded some real sexual abuse that occurred when she was young. I simply cannot accept the whole concept. But the stories she has recounted (and not even in great depth to me) are enough to make you shudder. Way too much outlandish stuff to even consider it possible. And of course, not one shred of evidence…

    When you live in a supra-natural existence that emphasizes the demonic in gory detail, is it any wonder one would want to counteract that with the divine manifestations of the kingdom? I can appreciate the clinging to a desire to have the supernatural manifestations of God validated whether in themselves or in someone else. It is a comfort of sorts. But I will not soften my stance if the topic is brought up. I think there is too much unchallenged theological ‘stuff’ associated with Pentecostal/charismatic practice & perspective. I’ve been involved enough in the prophetic to counter any such pronouncements from a well meaning friend. And any uncommon manifestations will not be ignored if they wish to start shaking or crunching or twittering or whatever in my presence. I will not let such things just happen without a comment/observation/question simply because a friend is wrapped up in such things. No one needs to accept the claims from some well meaning friends that this or that is “of God.” I am not going to do so without some inquiry & discussion. If we choose to “agree to disagree” then fine. But I do not want to remain silent as if giving tacit approval for practices/perspectives that I find unwarranted or just plain wack…

  6. Thanks for putting words to it. You’re right – my deconstruction 1.0 was also about structure and systems, but feel that the current 2.0 leg of the journey is more about belief systems.

    This is definitely where the rubber meets the road I think. If love is not the end product (no matter the circumstances), then we’re missing it! Thanks for posting! :)

  7. Grace,

    I share several intersections in your spiritual path. I came from a Reformed/Presbyrterian background, got deeply into the Pentecostal/Charismatic scene, found my way into a ‘balanced’ non-sectarian period, struggled through some postmodern deconstruction/emerging stuff. Right now, and I am quite positive for the remainder of my days on earth, I am committed to being ‘Kingdom focused’. It’s so much simpler, and so much more fulfilling. Kingdom focus allows me to associate with about anyone connected with the King. When folks are focused on service in the Kingdom, the non-essentials pretty much disappear. It’s when they get focused on dogma, that’s when all the problems begin.

    Joseph,
    How do you get away with drinking a few beers around Pentecostals? Didn’t they rebuke the spirit of alcohol before you got into the boat? That would have never floated when I was in the Pentecostal crowd. A sip was a sin!

  8. Joseph,
    How do you get away with drinking a few beers around Pentecostals? Didn’t they rebuke the spirit of alcohol before you got into the boat? That would have never floated when I was in the Pentecostal crowd. A sip was a sin!

    LOL

    Ken:

    My two friend’s wives are staunchly anti-alcohol. One because of serious alcohol abuse in her family’s past, & the other from a more rigid religious conviction. However, us ‘men’ are freedom bound once we get to the 8,200 foot level of our mountain lake campsite. We all enjoy a good libations. They are more beer aficionados, I like the finer California red wines & fine Kentucky bourbon. I become a much better Christian when I became a serious drinking man. No kidding. I ‘emerged’ out of a religious past that did not let me enjoy myself very much. I took up drinking & golf & a good cigar now-and-then & never looked back.

    Their wives are not so enthusiastic about what we do up in the hills, but they allow their men to imbibe on this camping trip knowing how I am such a positive influence on their religious perspectives… :)

    I am not hindered at all by my wife. She likes the fact that I am a drinking man now. Alcohol consumption by Christians still a hot-button topic today. Much of the cultural taboos that Protestant evangelical/charismatic Christianity about as unbiblical/artificial as you can get, but they are some of the most passionately held ‘beliefs’ used to measure that speck in other brother’s eyes…

  9. Joseph,

    Growing up in the (Dutch) Reformed tradition, it was considered ‘odd’ if you didn’t enjoy a good brew (however, our Christian Reformed brethren had to do it more secretly …). Later when I was attending and serving at a Pentecostal church, the Pastor knew I enjoyed a good beer but I refrained from drinking in front of him or any other it might offend. He did try to ‘convert’ me once, but he couldn’t get around Deut. 14:24-26. (And I will say this for the Pentecostals, they are “people of the Word!”) So we remained in a good relationship at a standoff on the issue. While serving with a mission organization, I once took him behind the Iron Curtain on a mission trip. We had to pass through West Germany on the way. We stopped at a YWAM ‘supply station’ there (a man’s private home with an out building), and Pastor was very impressed with the faith and courage of the brother who owned and operated this station. That is until the brother told him “It is a sin to travel through Germany and never drink a German beer.” I agreed with the brother, so we went out into the storage building and repented of my sin while Pastor visited with the wife.

    It’s all perspective I guess.

  10. Well, I do have to disagree with at least one thing I read in the responses… If you are loving at the expense of being correct – that is not truly love, but sentiment. True love embraces God’s truth first and foremost. We can lovingly call our charismatic friends (of which I was formerly) our brothers and sisters in Christ. But love is honest. We speak the truth in love. This does not have to be seen as coming against them if we are good Bereans WITH them and search the Scriptures together.

    One can be sincerely sweet and sincerely deceived. So, the issue is not sincerity, but truth. Does this mean we throw these relationships away? NO! But we may find that they , unfortunately, leave us, perhaps.

    I urge you to see this excellent presentation by clicking the “demo” on this site: http://www.justinpeters.org. He explains it very well and comes highly recommended by my pastor, Dr. John MacArthur.

  11. Grace,

    Thank you, as usual, for a wonderfully deep and comprehensive post…and for sharing a bit more of your story.

    While I do not come from your same background, I couldn’t help but notice how much this all reminds me of what’s happening in the sphere of politics…and how much we need “grace” voices in that realm. A good dose of political deconstruction and then purposeful, Berean, reconstruction would be a grand thing.

    Blessings on you and your friendships….

  12. Thanks Pastor Griffin! It’s nice to meet you. I was encouraged by reading the values of your church with its emphasis on wholeness, missional purpose, and the holistic view of ministry as part of life.

    Yes, we can’t determine another’s response, but as much as it depends on me, I will focus on what we have in common.

    abmo,
    Thanks for sharing those thoughts. Your underlying message of “above all love” is what matters more than differentiating. Maybe it isn’t always necessary to set views that are different on a scale of right and wrong.

    Thanks daniel.

    bill,
    There are acquaintances of mine that would require a “coming to terms” as far as past and current practices in order to establish a relational connection that I would consider friendship.

    Thanks amy. I will try to get your story read sometime soon. I considered including links to the pertinent parts of my story, but it has come out in bits and pieces over several years’ time.

    For those who are newer to the blog, the spiritual abuse articles chronicle the specifics of that situation, and posts under the category “the journey” might give a more chronological picture from the past.

    sarah,
    I wonder what 3.0 will be? Journey on!

    ken,
    OMG, you were RCA Reformed? We’re probably related. You know there is less than “6 degrees of separation” among Dutch people.

    I don’t know about pentecostals, but all of the charismatics that I know drink. (although maybe the key to that sentence is “that I know”). And the Reformed people of my childhood didn’t drink, unless there was a whole realm of closet drinkers of which I was unaware.

    Agree that “kingdom focused” is much simpler and more fulfilling.

    CLS,
    I guess it depends on what one considers “correct” and which issues are worth damaging relationships over. There has been so much damage done in the body of christ over “speaking the truth in love”. I believe it is important to consider what Jesus says in John 17 that above all He wishes that we would be one. If we can focus on the oneness that is ours in Him, the doctrinal differences can remain secondary to love and unity which is where they belong.

  13. peggy,
    After I posted, I realized that there is a much broader application of these ideas than the specific situations that I am dealing with. How do we walk in grace with others in our areas of difference whether it is doctrinal, or as you said political, or so many other possibilities of differences in values and lifestyles?

    I can’t remember if I posted at your site, but you, your family, and sister-in-law are in my thoughts and prayers. May Papa’s love surround you.

  14. Grace, your journey has been so helpful to me. You are always a bit ahead of where I have been yet and what you see helps me prepare for that next step.

    One of my “kids” just left our CLB and visited with us today. She was just about to be married when everything hit the fan. She was living with us at the time and moved out that night. We were uninvited to the wedding, etc, etc. It was wonderful to visit with her today although she still believes so much of it. It will be interesting to relate to her. One thing stood out as we talked. I could not believe the fear she displayed at the words she spoke. I remember being like that and it made my heart hurt for her.

    So I have my first name to start my list with.
    Thanks for the grace you display to those who are around you. I can’t imagine going back into those meetings though. Good job!!

  15. I am struggling with a lot of the same issues. I am more than willing to still walk with the majority of the people from ‘my former life’. However, there are several of them that don’t want to walk it with me. They don’t mind being around me. They just feel like it is their job to nag and brow beat me back into my old life.

    Some of these people I do have to severely limit how much time I am around them.

  16. Grace,

    In my location and (early) experience there was a rather strong polarization between the RCA (Reformed Church of America) and the CRC (Christian Reformed Church). The CRC was much more strict in issues of moral dogma. (I grew up in the RCA, and even as a boy I could sense the air of superiority my CRC peers held over me.) The main difference was that the CRC were strict believers that your children attend Christian School. Then there were all the nuances – no alcohol, no movies, keeping the ‘Christian Sabbath’ (Sunday) holy. In this, my CRC peers were envious. I pretty much was able to go out and play on Sunday, just like any other day. They were very restricted. One of my friends once told me that the rule of thumb was that they could do ‘square things’ (read books, lie on their bed, etc.), but not round things (play ball, ride bikes i.e. round wheels, etc.). I thought that was very curious as a child. Today the gap has narrowed considerably. The culture has infiltrated and ‘softened’ the CRC with one exception: children are still to be educated in Christian schools.

  17. Hi Bill,
    On question 5, I ment in context with what Grace wrote.
    I would probably not make friends with C Pete, but if he was a friend and he led others astray at the deep end, I would probably drive him nuts :) Sort of, I’m your worst nightmare :) I tend to be persistent when stuff matters.

    I think the level of friendship is important. During the first few years, I’ll listen, build up and encourage. I’ll bite my tongue when I differ. As the friendship deepens, I’ll begin to speak more freely on what I believe, but only to bring the person closer to God, not to influence them to my viewpoint. Usually I’ll confront after about 8-10 years of friendship. My friend will by then know my heart which I believe matters.

    The “age” of the christian also matters. I remember where I was 20 years ago. If someone told me to “cool it” then, I would not be in awe of that person. We were so radical the other radicals were afraid of us :)

    We have to give people their own journeys. We have to let them walk, run en yes, fall. We have to see that their journeys is holy and trust our Father a little more with what He is currently doing in their lives. We are not in this to get everybody on “our” side, but to love them towards God.

    thanks

  18. CLS:

    I highly doubt Dr. John MacArthur can speak insightfully about anything charismatic. And simply having an air of doctrinal superiority not at all related to being a “good Berean.” I happen to think those that are more convinced of right scriptural interpretation & practice not at all interested in having a conversation about differences, but simply out on a crusade to right all perceived wrongs…

    Dr. MacArthur subject to the same myopic adherence to his theological perspectives that he was taught & then passed on to others that happen to agree with him. But many sincere Christians of all stripes do not agree with him or accept his brand of reformist Protestant evangelical ‘correctness.’

    Now I do think your perspective worth more than the link you provided or Dr. Mac’s perspective since you state you were formally charismatic. One that has been part of a charismatic expression can speak from personal experience about it. Dr. Mac being an outspoken anti-charismatic can only be a naysayer from the outside looking in.

    It does appear from your post that you had some type of epiphany. Former charismatic now a cessationist? And a “new, improved, enlightened saint” that has seen the cessationist light? Such a point-of-view not part of my post-charismatic experience nor a convincing theological/doctrinal argument that is the most correct one.

    So, do you want to share a little more of past experiences or are you just interested in a drive-by eye cleansing armed with the balm of correct doctrinal acuity?

  19. grace:

    I can appreciate your desire to preserve relationship vs. addressing charismatic beliefs/practices that drive a wedge between friends+acquaintances.

    At some point though, the abuses you experienced need to be spoken out against & any true friend would be willing to caution others about it.

    I don’t have any former church acquaintances that I interact with. I do have my close friends & we will continue to withstand any differences of religious opinion.

    And who knows, maybe it is you that brings change/clarity/understanding to those former CLB friends that still live an extreme charismatic faith expression.

    I don’t know that we need to be accepting or accommodating to those that practice a religious expression that is questionable or makes us uncomfortable. Unless, of course, you are convinced their expressions or giftedness or theological perspectives are of God…

    Then there is the consideration that simply being willing to interact with them will affect them regardless of what you specifically speak out about. They are familiar with your story & if they want to ask you questions about it you can let them know more of your personal journey.

    In your case I can understand the shared identity of being former CLB members is more valuable than the causes of division that catalyzed the individual exoduses in the first place. So, yes, no more judgmental attitudes or doctrinal emphases, or attempts at correcting theological misconceptions, or labels of heretic, or messy excommunications. Certainly you are a real example of mercy triumphing over judgment. Kudos.

  20. Hey Grace,

    Excellent post, and one I definately need to take note of, you see I firmly feel that God is calling me to stay within the Instituational/traditional Church, and therefore I often feel out of place (although I imagine less so in the UK than I would in the US!) and have to hold my tongue and ask those 5 questions.

    Keep walking and asking,
    Nick

  21. Grace, I’m not surprised by the way you’re treating your friends. Your posts have always been very gracious towards dissenting views with a few notable and justifiable exceptions. Well, maybe more than a few, but they deserved it. You are trying to walk in the way of Jesus and it shows.

    I’m walking that same line with a few friends and its not always easy, but its good. There is a perverse refusal to discuss the burning issues. I can spend a day or weekend with friends and topics will never surface. Its just not their time yet. I see the fear in their eyes when I bring up the issues so I let it be. I figure that God will give me opportunity when and if he pleases. Its taken me many years to get where I am now and I have to trust that God will take my friends there too, in his time.

    With my CLB this correction would have been done according to the leaders’ timetable. Words—confront, accountability, proactive, intentional, leadership—would be tossed about in some kind of motivational lecture and we would be sent out to enforce the system.

    I’m getting all worked up just thinking about it. I have to reread your post. Its calming, rational, loving, and thoroughly Godly. Thanks.

  22. Grace,

    Thanks you for your prayers. The chemo and radiation have begun and she appears to be lucid and handling it…we will continue to trust in Papa’s love for her and the rest of the family.

    I’m beginning a series on Scot McKnight’s new book, The Blue Parakeet…and it is going to be a wonderful read. Scot is a true Berean and one who knows how to speak the truth in love. I have so much enjoyed reading his books and getting to know him. I am blessed to have you and Scot (and so many of my other “virtual” friends) in my life.

    Did you see that Brad “FuturistGuy” is starting a new series on this same topic? Check it out!

    Blessings to you as you discern which relational bridges are strong enough to bear an increasing weight of truth…and which ones are not. That is the realm of wisdom dressed in love.

  23. thanks for sharing. after my CLB i went through a real thinking about what friendship was. Devouring Proverbs was very helpful. God has also taught me that some friends are not there to lose.

  24. I am still very much enjoying these posts …

    Our fellowship is VERY eclectic … and though some comments here seem to claim the moral high ground …

    I am certain there is more to it than the didactic – I like what Joseph said, “I happen to think those that are more convinced of right scriptural interpretation & practice not at all interested in having a conversation about differences, but simply out on a crusade to right all perceived wrongs…” – yeah, well – that goes BOTH WAYS.

  25. My CLB is pretty close to what you described Grace – Charismatic, Latter Rain, prophetic presbytery (with a whole lot of Bill Gothard thrown in there in the early 80’s to supplement the Latter Rain authoritarian stuff).

    Where I’ve landed doctrinally is:

    What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.

    Many Charismatics (and other) doctrines don’t lead to Christ – they either lead to me or lead to the leader – but put Jesus nowhere in that mix.

    Most churches I’ve been in since the great departure (Charismatic and otherwise) – don’t even mention Christ. Like one preacher said – “the most important thing is to make the most important thing the most important thing.” Of course – he was talking about something other than Christ. It was a good line though.

    Jesus Christ is the most important thing – much of the other stuff is bull sh.. (dung as Paul calls it)

  26. Just found this site guys and can relate to much of the stuff discussed here.For many of us becoming Christians in the 70’s and 80’s the Charismatic thing seemed to be long lost New Testament Christianity brought back to life.After a while in the ‘new ‘ church systems we realised that they had the same problems as any other church – rivalry,manipulation and finally violent expulsions.This is I’ve discovered how society has worked since the Beginning of Time – in fact results of the Fall.All religion even sacrificial Christianity works along these lines.Let we recommend the writings of Roman Catholic scholar Rene Girard ( Things Hidden from the Foundation of the World).His theory on mimesis and model obstacles(e.g. pastors??) answered all my questions and disillusionment on leaving an abusive church.I suppose I am now a kind of radical liberal charismatic – a rare breed indeed.Freedom from the rivalry of hothouse religious enthusiasm and it’s accompanying authority structures is indeed Good News that lies hidden in the Gospels.

    Charlie

  27. barb,
    I’m glad to hear that your relationship with this girl is being restored. I remember walking very carefully in my few relationships with friends who still attended the CLB. You get to be the person in this girl’s life who extends liberty and grace rather than control. Even if she isn’t aware of it, the difference will minister to her soul.

    Rose,
    Nope. If I were, I’m afraid my anonymous and real worlds might collide. ;)

    Mark,
    That is difficult. Sometimes it gets pretty complicated. The other person’s choices are theirs to make, but setting healthy boundaries of how people treat you is part of determining how the relationships play out.

    ken,
    I had relatives that were both. Sundays were definitely long and boring for kids.

    Nice to meet you smudge.

    abmo,
    I love what you said about allowing people their own journeys, mistakes and all, and trusting what God is doing in their lives.

    joseph,
    I wasn’t abused or offended by the charismatic nature and practices of our CLB. All of the circumstances in our situation were about authority and leadership.

    I do speak out quite directly concerning those issues, and most of the people who left are also aware of the abuse and control that continue there. I no longer have relationship with the people who still attend, and I feel no obligation to warn them of the false teaching they have chosen. If they couldn’t figure it out when 200 people left, they just don’t want to see.

    I don’t have any issues with the charismatic paradigm of my friends who left the CLB. I have moved to a different position, but it doesn’t matter to me if they change, and I really don’t expect them to. My biggest concern is that they would view my post-charismatic stance as a rejection of them personally.

    nick,
    I pray that you find the grace to walk in the place you are called.

    David,
    Thank you. The sensitivity you describe is important, to recognize receptivity to certain issues and to understand the degree of trust in the relationship for broaching controversial topics.

    Peggy,
    You have a beautiful way with words. I loved these phrases…

    strong enough to bear an increasing weight of truth

    the realm of wisdom dressed in love

    Blessings to you.

    ali,
    I went through a similar process, especially when so many valued friendships were suddenly broken. I continue to learn important lessons in friendship in the midst of restoration.

    mark,
    That lens of certainty can make unity in the midst of diversity impossible. My post for tomorrow talks a little more about that.

    jerry,
    We missed the Gothard season (thank God). It was before we began attending our CLB.

    I agree with your conclusion, the centrality of Christ first and foremost, and a refusal of the things that detract from that.

    Hi Charlie,
    Systemic abuse of power is a topic that comes up fairly frequently around here.

  28. I TOO still would rightfully rather see pastor first live a sermon instead of too often now merely preach it to others and I really do think it is so farcical how some sinfully, proud evangelical pastors are ready to condemn others, to gossip about, to now preach about the other person’s sins but someone how they can’t seem to deal with their own false abuse of others, their own sins, and their own false pride.. http://postedat.wordpress.com/2009/08/31/get-real-now/

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