Monday, July 25, 2011

Power and Spirit reduced to mere doctrine

So I've been catching up on the Harry Potter films. And a college friend called me while I was watching Prisoner of Azkaban. She's a pagan and we got to talking about religion. Which is stressing because the idea she has about Christianity is that it's all about semantics/doctrine/a book of rules/ etc (Not to mention her idea that Christianity causes wars and destroy the freedom of the individual.)

The dryness, the doctrinal debates, the wallowing in discussions of sin that so many evangelical Christians delight in... can turn away true seekers. I know people will say that a true seeker will not be turned away by the gospel, that something within the truly seeking person will find Jesus. Nah!!! I don't think so. There is a beauty in Christianity that some Christian adherents destroy. 

Humans like symbols and symbolic action. We like rules and laws also but we tend to like only those rules we think we're good at. We like stories and myths of great heroes. We like power and the supernatural. We are born with an awe for it. All these are in Biblical Christianity of course but the way they are presented in the denominational church.

I'm not getting all Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Episcopalian on folks because I don't believe that mere aesthetic sacramental church going is true worship. A lot of folks make that mistake. But there is something of the sacramental in the Biblical Church. 

The Baptist evangelical types shun the supernatural therefore anything "wonderful" (full of wonder and magic) or even seen as miraculous is suspect. So they consider the Shroud of Turin a demonic deception or speaking in tongues and discernment of spirits a fraud. St Paul declared that his preaching was not with mere words of power or reasoning debate but with power. Elijah had a showdown with the opposers of the true God that was not about semantics or debate but about showing the prophets of Baal that our God is supernaturally powerful, eternally present, easy to be entreated, and holy. Moses challenged the king's magicians through magic.

But nooooooo modern Christianity has been reduced to powerlessness. And even those sacraments and doctrines which have power are minimized. Who really believes nowadays that being baptized will cause demons to leave one's body? Few people, and so there is a spiritual work but no understanding of what the spiritual work is supposed to do. Same thing with communion. It is a healing thing. Continually taking communion while one is sick brings healing. Yet who avails himself of this? Few, because the believer's mind has been trained to not see the supernatural power of the sacrament. Do we really believe that when we praise God demons flee? And do people really believe that at communion we are joined to everyone in the Lord's body and with the Lord himself? If we did, wouldn't we love each other more? Do we really believe at confirmation that when the bishop/priest lays hand on us we receive the gifts Jesus dearly bought for his church: the ability to heal the sick, raised the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast our demons, do signs and wonders in evangelism through the gift of the holy spirit? No, we don't believe that. And even if we do believe that, we have enough doubt and unbelief simultaneously that we are double-minded. Our mind is not totally renewed by God's word because it has been brainwashed by denominational brainwashing?

Then there are other stuff such as multiplying food, being translated from one place to another... ah, the possibilities are endless. If Jesus and the early apostles did it, we can do it. No preterist here.

So when I see Christian people loving the aesthetics of Asian martial arts, the spirituality of Buddhism, or Wicca, or some other more "powerful" spirituality or "peaceful" spirituality or "beautiful" spiritual or more "environmental" spiritually I feel sad. Not only because there are Christian equivalents of some of these  things. I mean why go to Buddhism when the Quakers are here. Okay, the Biblical Quakers are here. But even then.. so much is missing in even Biblical Quakerism that should be there. The early quakers did miracles, after all.

C S Lewis rediscovered all these glories in his conversion from atheistic pagan to Biblical Christian. He was accepted back then but now modern evangelical Christians slam him. So now I'm working on My Life as an Onion. The main character sees demons, but worse she has the gift of discerning of spirits. I really can just see all the evil comments coming to me from Christians telling me I'm using magic. Oh well. Will see. But I want to do a truly Christian book... a charismatic Christian fiction. Heaven help me.

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