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In a fairytale world

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sometimes it seems like we’re speaking in tongues


OnceUponATime

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Many moons ago when I was a teenager, we went to a few different Pentecostal churches. Looking back it was quite interesting. They had quite different, yet similar views on spiritual gifts and things like that. It made for some interesting times. I did get quite a few free personality tests out of it. Apparently matching your MB profile to your spiritual gifts will let you enhance them and figure out just how to serve God in the best way possible.

Church 1 believed that spiritual gifts are still imparted today by the Holy Spirit among believers but that they differ in the frequency that they appear in. Where faith is great (apparently in Africa) and people aren't hindering the Spirit's work, gifts of healing are more frequent than in Western churches. Apparently Western society is too comfy and lacks the faith for that. :confusion-shrug: Prophesy and speaking in tongues are gifts given to some believers.

Church 2 believed that spiritual gifts are imparted today and all gifts are able to be obtained by all people. In fact they went so far as to say that all Christians are known by the fact they can speak in tongues. We had sermons based around what was claimed to be linguistic research around people speaking in tongues. This church was very much emotion driven, and if you didn't feel like raising your hands during worship time, well the worship leader would have no problem singling you out and encouraging you to do just that for the next few songs. Because all gifts were available to all Christians, they weren't exactly 'rare'. But they could be temporarily given to you or something. I never quite understood that.

 

So digging in the archives here has brought back some memories:

1) Prophesy. This wasn't so frequent in church 1, because rarity. It did still happen, and in my opinion the people with this gift were usually the biggest busybody gossips. In church 2 what they claimed was prophecy I don't always believe was. It was a sermon topic reasonably frequently though. We used to go to youth events, and at youth events the guest speakers loved to prophesy over people. Cue the weirdness. Because on two separate occasions I was standing in the crowd and the quest speaker would single me out, and start prophesy over how I was going to grow up to be a "great man of God" and a whole lot of other random generalized stuff full of male pronouns. I am female, so yes, it was weird. The first time the other people in my youth group were busy yelling at the person that I was female, while I was dying with shame. That person heard and ignored them. The second time was just as embarrassing. I didn't appreciate being told "that boy with the long hair, stand up." twice (second time was "young man",) while everyone was staring while I though they must have been pointing to someone behind me, because hello - female. According to my youth leader the prophesies were still valid. Apparently God could tell someone about my future but not about my gender.

2)Speaking in tongues. In Church 1 this wasn't done much and was considered a bit weird. It was meant to be a personal thing, not something you shoved into people's faces. And if you were to do it publicly you may only do it if there is an interpreter around. Moving to church 2, that was fun. There everyone was meant to speak in tongues. There were 'lessons' in how to do it. The biggest lesson "fake it until you make it". Apparently if you say things like "bah, bah ca, sa la, ab ba" a lot eventually tongues would roll out of your mouth. It was likened to a baby babbling before speaking proper words. Personally I'd go for a mass hysteria explanation. YMMV

3) despite the above, anything like snake handling was still considered weird. Thankfully, because snakes in church would have made me go :562479351e8d1_wtf(2):

 

Most amusingly, Church 1 was considered really happy clappy, hanging from the rafters in its town, whereas Church 2 wasn't. Church 2 was way more happy clappy rafter weirdness than Church 1. It made me wonder what other churches did in Church 2's town to make it seem normal. I guess I will never find out.  :confusion-scratchheadblue:

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WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo?

Posted

I guess if you just visited the two churches you probably don't know what they're like currently. My closest experiences of "charismatic" churches (I'm never sure what exactly that means--my best guess is similar to Pentecostal but more independent?) included churches splitting and melding and splitting.

One church was part of a large, mainstream denomination (not Pentecostal, charismatic, or fundamentalist), but its minister started getting more and more charismatic, until he left that church (along with about half the members) and started a new church. The new church split again (not sure how much later) and he left it as well.

Another church I knew was always a "charismatic" church. A musical group from another state came to perform at this church several times, then decided God had called them all to move to that church's city to live and double the size of the church. Within a year or two, the new members had splintered off and left the church smaller than before and a bit dazed.

I wonder how common "church splits" are?

(I'm glad you didn't have to deal with snake handling. That stuff's scary!)

ETA--I googled "charismatic movement". I know Wikipedia isn't a great source, but their definition came up first, and I'm feeling lazy!

"The Charismatic Movement is the international trend of historically mainstream congregations adopting beliefs and practices similar to Pentecostalism. Fundamental to the movement is the use of spiritual gifts (charismata). Among Protestants, the movement began around 1960."

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OnceUponATime

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5 minutes ago, WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo? said:

I wonder how common "church splits" are?

Common where I was. I saw at least 3 in 7 years from 2 church bases. And there were at least two others in the towns we lived at during that time. I think more common in the more recent church denominations.

Church 1&2 we were at for 6-ish years in total. I have lost contact with people from those churches, rather deliberately I will add ;) Sometimes I would like to still have contact so I could shitstir a bit/keep up with some local gossip.
We moved a bit, and between moving was 'church-shopping'. oh joy. The list of things that got a church rejected: women preaching, women pastors (if they were exclusively for women it was ok), not a large enough youth group (apparently this would cause me to backslide...), too much structure, not enough missions work, and then probably some theological stuff. There was always about 6 weeks of parental arguments about churches :roll:

The pastor from Church 2 is now pastoring a different church in the same town. One that already existed, but it is one that held a different theological background. I'm confused about that. The current leaders from C2 I recognize from my time there - people I personally don't think are very suited for that role. Maybe in the last 10+ years they've changed though. :confusion-shrug:

 

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WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo?

Posted

I guess people and church politics are similar in many places. :pb_confused: I never church shopped until I was a young adult; maybe early 20s. I think I could put that on a list of my least favorite activities.  :pb_rollseyes:

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OnceUponATime

Posted

I church-shopped my way out of church. I wasn't quite sure that I was done. I think I went to 13 different ones. In half of them no one said hi to me. I'm not exactly extroverted, so that was a deal-breaker for me. I tried out a few new churches, they all were a bit too fluffy for me. The people were generally friendlier imo. They also were mostly non-generational Christians, which made 'bible study' interesting to say the least. Apparently Amplified bibles aren't popular in those circles. :confusion-shrug:

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