‘NAMBODIA – Post 9 -On the Charismatic Service

A few years ago I tired applying the value of not criticizing someone else’s offering to the Lord.   Born out of worship wars between traditional, contemporary, ancient, and progressive, complicated by relationships that I cherish ranging from my parents to my students, and moved by own experiences in private and corporate worship.   Oh all that and processing the spirit of I Corinthians.

IMHO, I think for some, unity in diversity is a really cool thing to say, but not really something to take too seriously.  Otherwise, I think more would embrace the blessings of plurality.  I write that with blood on my hands because during the charismatic worship service, unity in diversity sounded a lot better when I picture worship when David Crowder  or my friends Glenn or Tim are leading (the quality is different but Crowder has been showing significant improvements over the years).

I won’t get into the what’s and why’s of what made me uncomfortable but rather mention a few positive aspects of the ministry.  One is that they are very community-minded towards the poor and suffering. They have numerous ministries geared towards that and I found that to be worthy in a community that had many needs. I  also appreciated the extra service that they put on for young people on Wednesday nights that exist in addition to their Saturday and Sunday services.  And from our time with one of the pastors, it really seems as though they genuinely care for people.  That may sound a bit odd, I mean, most churches intend on caring for people but I sensed that they were very connected and appreciated that.

The service probably had about 100 or so young people.  Loud, energetic music, air conditioning and  constant calls to pray stood out as most memorable to me.  Steve noted, similarly to our experience at our second mosque, there was always a call for prayer.   That seems to be one of the basic elements found in all faiths – the desire to connect to the One who is greater and not of this world.   Don’t get me wrong, because of Jesus, I am not a universalist, and I know the religions of the world argue on which deity, the attributes, the mission, etc., but I do believe the God who made the covenant with Abraham,  is the one our collective heart searches for.

Lastly, say what you want about the charismatic church movement (this coming from one with a lot of skepticism  in regards to how some express their sign gifts), one thing is for sure, this church is drawing people and many of them are being introduced to Jesus.  I don’t think that’s pragmatic, I think it’s a reflection of the Church culture in the Global South (see Phillip Jenkins if interested).   It was good for me to see that.

Speak Your Mind