I am a ‘charismatic’ Christian,
and I’m unashamed to be affiliated with those who make the gifts of the Spirit part of their church practice on a regular basis. Honestly, to even attach the word ‘charismatic’ to the Christian label seems a little redundant, but there it is. Typically, this kind of Christian is characterized as dumb, poor, and diehards of the Republican party. What if there were good reasons for the poor and marginalized in our society to adhere to a charismatic form of the faith, and what if we should as well – whether that form is waving flags or just the emphasis on hearing God for the here and now?
Four Philosophical Reasons:
1. I don’t subscribe to a theology of privilege.
We see this in the news and we read it in the newsletters: those who worship alongside the poor and the most forgotten in our society regularly encounter a dimension of reality that goes beyond the privileged ivory tower most prominent within Calvinism, “Christian” Deconstruction, and Progressive ideology. When I found myself meeting people where they where at I didn’t have time to make up the distance. I was there, they were there, and presence was all that was available. Privileged theology is never ‘good news’ for anyone except comfortable westerners.
2. I am open to new experiences.
It is very western to think that there is what is just in my mind and what is outside of myself. But to be open to the world – or having a “porous” nature – allows me to experience all sorts of realities outside of the crutch of solipsism. Secular anthropology confirms this, as the phrase “going native” allowed this kind of experience to occur in many of the academies elite.
3. I believe that old scratch (the satan) is a real entity and must be thwarted in real life, every day, through prayer and action.
We do not wrestle with flesh and blood, and if we did it would lead to where it always does: violence. Violence is resultant of numerous factors, the most common is an unwillingness to see the humanity in the “other” and demonize the side of those we find backwoods and backwards and whatever other word you want to use for it.
4. I believe, like Aristotle, that a syllogism most logically leads to action, not mental assent.
It makes no sense to interpret the words of Jesus as the only command in scripture. We must also find his actions as worthy of a red-letter print. I do not believe that Jesus is saying that we all should speak in tongues – with the jury still out as to whether that is even a possible or necessary thing – but I do believe that the response to His life is to share our own lives in much the same ways, and the sharing of our lives with others who do not think/live/love/fight like us, will bring up us to the ledge of faith.