Tuesday, October 22, 2013


The Price of the Spectacular

From the WSJ a while ago:
In an interview with Esquire that is generating a surprising amount of buzz—and not just because she appears on the magazine's cover in her underwear—TV and film star Megan Fox talks about her Pentecostal upbringing and her experience of "getting the Holy Ghost." Ms. Fox's account of speaking in tongues is proving particularly buzz-worthy, prompting comment in Christian media as well as mainstream news outlets in the U.S. and abroad.


Mainline Protestant denominations and traditional Catholicism defined themselves largely through creeds, liturgical orthodoxies and conventions of biblical interpretation—they were, in short, religions more of the head than of the heart. At a time of rapid urbanization and social upheaval, Pentecostalism's promise of supernatural power and healing made it a popular remedy for the forms of soul sickness that afflicted many people in early 20th-century L.A. and beyond, as the new movement spread via missionary networks of established denominations.
There is nothing wrong with coming to terms with our emotions - our heart, but do we really want to make it the driver of our faith and lives? Our pets are emotional. We are supposed to be something different. It is not for nothing that in Romans Paul says the key to transformation is our minds.

As this article rightly points out, it is wrong to become intellectual to the point of lifelessness, but to become emotional to the point that it drives out our intellect is to become animalistic. There may be a certain staid quality to the "creeds, liturgical orthodoxies and conventions of biblical interpretation" of the mainlines and Catholics, but is the alternative really a woman on the cover of Esquire, in her underwear, telling us about the Holy Spirit?

G. Nick Street, author of the WSJ piece concludes:
These broad developments—a yearning for an intensely personal experience of religiosity, disenchantment with established institutions, and a concern for collective ills that those institutions seem unwilling or unable to address—strongly resemble the existential conditions that spawned Pentecostalism in Los Angeles a century ago. They also nurture Pentecostal movements in the developing world today.

Is Megan Fox the herald of America's latest Great Awakening? You'll know it if the hundreds of thousands of followers of her Twitter feed begin to tweet in tongues.
Which actually raises a much deeper question - can a church which follows social trends, in a fallen world, really be the active work of God? Seems to me the purpose of the church is to preserve and lead, not trend and follow.


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