This is not going to be easy to write.
My ever prolific English Class tackled religion this past week. And how two people were driven away from the church by the thing known as a move of the Spirit. The crying, the shouting, the running around, the jumping up and down. The experience that is baffling to anyone watching it.
And someone in my class even said they gave up on church because of seeing that and not wanting to be that way.
If you are not sure what I’m talking about, then it will be hard to explain it. You really have to see it for yourself. People “get happy” as it is sometimes called.
In the Bible if anyone had a reaction like that it was the Spirit of the Lord coming upon them. Interestingly enough, in the New Testament no record is given of people jumping or running or crying or rolling around on the floor, though the Old Testament has some wild stories about that.
And it’s a staple of Revivals to have that happen.
But it can freak people out.
And I should know, it used to freak me out too, and if I’m honest it still puzzles me on occasion.
I am not a demonstrative person. I might get loud, maybe jump a little on my toes, but I’ve never been so overtaken by God that I behave wildly.
I don’t think it’s bad for that to happen, certainly the people it happens to enjoy it. For them it’s a release, a way to clear their emotions from all the stress of life, a way to feel closer to God.
The Church tends to view these spiritual experiences as more holy, and signifying someone is closer to God, versus the people who sit quietly or at most raise their hands and sing.
While people outside the church tend to view this as us getting overexcited, or perhaps being out of our mind, or just weird. At any rate, it’s nothing they want a part of.
I do sympathize with the no Christian a bit. That kind of behavior would freak me out normally. It can look an awful lot like crazy behavior. But it only comes on in church. During worship usually. I don’t hear about it happening in someone’s private life. Which is perhaps why people decide the church is the problem. Believe in God sure, but those people are weird…
Well, we are weird, I admit. Any people group is going to be wired to the people not in it, and even to other in it who just don’t jibe with their style. I feel a bit out of place at the Nigerian Church that my dad loves because I don’t get it. My dad doesn’t like the style of where I go. But doctrinally, the two churches are almost he same. So the question is, why is the way we worship such a devise issue for us and for Non-Christians who investigate?
I need to be fair. First of all, I do not by any means think that people have to get excited in the loud and energetic way in order to worship God. My favorite way to worship is in private, not so loud. I do enjoy is corporately too. If that really is an obstacle to someone, then going to a church that isn’t like that is no sin.
On the other hand, one thing that Christians who worship in this way tend to understand is that Worship is not really about our control.
At bottom, being wierded out by God moving in what seems like ridiculous or crazy ways is saying that you know better than God what is appropriate. It is also saying that the world gets to measure how sane it is to act in a given way. Why should the world decide this?
People filled with the spirit aren’t going and committing mass murders, or hurting other people, or filled with rage, not truly crazy behavior.
The reason it’s hated is that is is foreign. Even to other Christians. Every Christian is called to be holy (set apart) from the world. People who are acting crazy and don’t care are clearly not concerned about the world’s opinion of them.
God is not going to make sense to us all the time. So it would follow naturally that the way we worship is not always going to seem sensible even to us. As the people it happens to, they don’t get it either.
But I submit that you don’t always need to get it to know it.
And that applies to the many people who don’t experience this. We are not lesser as Christians. The folks who “get happy” are not always the most spiritual in their everyday lives. In fact, often that is the case. Maybe they need it more because of that.
God connects with people however He can, and for some that is quiet, for others it is loud.
I submit that God Himself doesn’t really care so long as the connection is real and true. Why would one little person jumping up and down discomfit God? Why would one person not doing that give Him pause?
What does give Him pause is genuine heartfelt worship, which means not feeling inferior to your fellow believers nor taking pride in being more holy than they. It means giving up control one way or the other. admitting you can’t control whether your worship loud or quiet. Just so long as you worship.
Everyone has their gift, be it small or large, and they can bring that. That’s all that God requires.
And if it’s all that we require of each other, we wills top comparing ourselves. That’s just not important.
Those are my thoughts, until next time–Natasha.