One of the things about the way I’ve been reading blogs lately is that I often get summaries after-the-fact and reactions from others on various topics and happenings, which offers me a shortcut to catching the drift of some notable posts. And sometimes in this exchange I feel perhaps I’ve missed something important. Often I let it just slip by, but then there are times when I find my feet just instinctively digging into the sand adjacent to home plate as my eye fixes itself on the ball. This time it’s internal bickering among some who insist that any bickering on these points could not be classified as internal, because It’s fun to exclude others.
Now and again there comes an issue in this old E/MC blogosphere that begs for comment from those of us with egos ample enough to imagine that everyone else cares what we think about it. Sorry I’ve been a bit remiss on the point, but I’m finally getting around to comment on Michael (iMonk) Spencer’s prognosis for Evangelicalism. Of course I’m not alone in offering a response, but naturally I imagine you want to know what I think. First, I must offer some explanation for the sake of my readers who read no other blog but mine so that I can fill in the back story.
I’m not always the best at responding to comments here on the blog, but I read everything. Sometimes I compose responses in my head, which only helps on those occasions when I get it out through the keyboard and into the comment space. Then something comes along like, oh, Christmas, and I get sidetracked without ever having properly replied. So a week or more ago, my critical review of the Dunn/Crowder CD prompted a more serious discussion. First, Barb asked me a direct question in her comment on the post, and I wanted to be sure I responded… and it’s a good question. She wrote,
Bro. May, could you answer a question for me. I can’t get anyone to sit still long enough to have an intelligent conversation about this.
This weekend, on November 30th, I will mark four years of blogging. And just today, I’ve discovered that I’ve been nominated for “Best Religion/Philosophy Blog” in Canada. Wow. And voting closes tomorrow, so what can I say? Vote now? I’m kinda late getting my “campaign” started, but I only just found out I was even in the race at all. Shows how oblivious I can be — but thanks, whoever nominated me. I even get a fancy badge of honour to display. Now, in the unlikely event that I actually make the cut into the final round of voting, I’ll need y’all to go and vote again next week, okay?
Earlier today, my wife mused aloud, wondering what those “prophetic types” are saying about Barack Obama being elected in the USA. I thought Grace choking on her scone in response to an appalling snippet of conversation concerning the rise to power of Barack Obama, “almost exactly like the Left Behind books.” No wonder she choked on her scone. I mentioned this “end times” idea to my wife as a suggestion of what these prophetic types might be saying. She made a mental note to ask a friend who tends to get told these things by people who thinks she cares. At least, that’s how my wife put it. So a few hours ago, Frank Viola tweeted a link that brought this whole question up again. Now by the way, Frank’s blog post today not only offered his view on the recent presidential election, he also named who he considers the top six Christian bloggers around, including yours truly. I’m not sure if I’m actually that good or if Frank’s a little deranged, but I figure it’s best not to press to far, just in case I don’t like the answer.
Sometimes I’ll jot down notes and ideas on a 3×5 card or a scrap of paper. The paper eventually finds its way into a pile on my desk, and someday, sometimes, I’ll retrieve it, or find it by chance. The trick then is to remember what I was thinking about when I wrote the note and how it’s relevant — or if it still is. The note I found today was about discipleship, and I wrote it about a month ago while I was thinking about the pilgrimages people had been making to places like Lakeland, Florida… and to Pensacola before that, and to Toronto before that, and… well, you get the idea. People flock to stuff like this, to get a blessing, to hear the “latest word,” or to get some kind of healing.
I just pulled an envelope out of my mailbox from Mike Morell at The Ooze, as I’m one of those “select blogger” folks. Not that I’m out of reading material yet, but books in the mailbox always make one go “Oh, goodie!” inside. What I extracted from the envelope made me ask, “Mike, are you sure?” I set down the CD called “Toking the Ghost” to have a look at the book, which looked much more promising — it’s called Miracle Workers, Reformers, and the New Mystics. Hmmm, “New Mystics” (the emphasized cover text), I thought. “Should be good.” A slightly closer inspection of the front cover showed revealed the following text at the bottom: “Discover the lives of William Branham • William Seymour • Aimee Semple McPherson • George Whitefield • Sundar Singh • Brother Lawrence • Madame Jeanne Guyon • Charles Finney • Teresa of Avila • Smith Wigglesworth • maria Woodworth-Etter • St. John of the Cross • Jonathan Edwards • and many more!”
It’s a snippet of conversation I had a few weeks ago with a friend. Sitting across the table with beers and dry ribs, it was the first time we’d gotten together like that in more than a year. A lot can change in a year, and for me it was one in which I became increasingly entrenched in the post-charismatic camp. For him, it was a year overseas, away from church, family, and friends. He has an occasional habit of recording sermons by a local pastor at another church when they air on television, and sometimes he ends up recording the program that comes on afterward as well. The second program was our seguay. The preacher is head (I would say pastor, but it’s more a CEO thing) of one of the biggest churches in town, and it’s one with a prosperity stripe.