Friday, August 25, 2006

don't gimme no lines and keep your hands to yourself

Charismatics are funny people. I appreciate and admire so much about their faith and passion. In a world where people only believe what they can see and touch, charismatic Christians seem to believe more strongly in what they can't see than in what they can. I love that. It's inspiring.

But what's funny about them is that they also seem to think that life is one giant spiritual free-for-all.

On Tuesday nights, I attend a class about healing prayer at a church in Utica. The teaching is solid and responsible. People are encouraged to continue seeking medical treatment when they're sick, but are also reminded that God is the ultimate Healer and that He can and does work miracles. It's a great class. I started going because I'm not really sure what I think about healing prayer and miraculous healings. This seemed like a good place to figure that out, and so far it has been.

Because it's dealing in the miraculous, many of the people who attend are more charismatic in their faith. Last Tuesday night as we were leaving, one of the girls suggested getting people together for a night of prayer. In true charismatic fashion, she started talking about entering the "holy of holies" and allowing God to enter the "holy of holies" of our hearts and how powerful and wonderful that is. Then, rather suddenly, she reached out and grabbed my arm and started praying. After a few seconds, she opened her eyes, looked at me, and asked if I'm an intellectual person. I asked why she was asking and she said that when she grabbed my arm, she was trying to give me a little "Holy Spirit jolt" but that I was blocking her from doing it. "So I figured you must be pretty intellectual, 'cause intellectual people are harder to get to."

Here's what I wanted to say:
"First - I don't consider myself 'intellectual'. Second - maybe the reason you were 'blocked' is because I don't know you."

God has entrusted *me* with this body, spirit, and soul. Which means that *I* determine who has access to what and when. That's my perogative. Charismatics always seem to think they can lay hands on anyone anytime they please and that everyone should simply let them. But gifts of the spirit need to be handled responsibly and with respect for the other person. I spent most of my college years involved in the occult, and one of the things I learned through those experiences is that *I* determine who gets spiritual access to me. It doesn't matter what the other person wants. My spiritual body is no different than my physical. It should be treated with respect - by myself and by others.

I'm not writing this in anger, more in amused bewilderment. Spiritual connections are very personal and intimate, and sometimes I worry that charismatics treat them too casually.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Stef,

It's really "interesting" from an observer standpoint how different denominations engage with those around them as they engage with God. I was invited to this charismatic gathering this last weekend.

I appreciate the same things that you mentioned above about charismatics, but there's lines and boundaries and they should be cherished esspecially when they aren't self-destructive. I've been to a few meetings with other places before but this one I was just chilling in the back on the carpet (weren't any chairs left) and some woman just came up and through some tinsel-like stuff at me while putting her hand on my head before passing on by with no words prior to or after this awkward moment.

Weird? Sure. Invasive? Definetly. Respectful? Not at all. Intimate and impactful? No way. Positive in any way? I got a good laugh out of it.

I concur. Bewilderment is a good word.


4:55 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home