Wednesday, July 23, 2008

This is not Mysticism

This is just plain offensive. What have we come to that we can market such blatant self-indulgence as if it is legitimate spirituality? I like to party as much as the next guy, and I love to laugh, but this just makes me want to cry. The presence of God is never a joke, but from what I've seen in this and other videos - John Crowder is a joke. What kind of crap have we sown to reap this? For an analysis of Crowder's horrible attempt at preaching, see Scott's blog. In the meantime I'll just be over here lamenting.


DMofKor said...

Ok... I've got a bald spot now...from scratching my head trying to figure out how anyone can come up with something like this. ( that's without toking in the first place that is..)

Tim Kantel said...

Hi Frank. For the sake of dialogue let me try this:

I guess I don't see as much wrong with this guy as some might. In my time at TACF and around the renewal I've heard guys with shtick like this and been in services that quite frankly would be considered bizarre.

In trying to sort this stuff out in my own mind I came to two conclusions.

1. I don't think most of these guys if asked would say that the message they bring has anything to do with theology, doctrine, etc. Their message is completely and totally experiential (to the extreme admittedly) and as a result only really appeals to people who listen to it with that paradigm in mind.

2. Their message is also very focused as it addresses some basic elements of our faith (as I see it). The best way to explain this is to use me as the example. When I started getting involved in the renewal, what hooked me (for lack of a better term) was that it awakened the experiential elements of my faith that had been dead or I never even knew existed. I gave myself over to that process over the course of the next few years...was goofy, fell down, got drunk in the spirit...all that stuff. It was a crazy, imperfect, and beautiful time of my life. More to my point though it was very much "a season" (I cringe even using that term) that I entered into and walked out of years later into something else that was equally as new and exciting.

I'll stop here but just a couple of points from my perspective. As I write them, I can already put together lots of counter-points but I thought I'd add my voice to the mix nonetheless.

One of Freedom said...

Hey Tim, glad to have your contribution.

I too went through the wacky stage, mostly drunkenness in the Spirit, during the renewal. But a couple of things really made me aware that there need to be limits. First watching people get hurt. Not that this was intentional, but a movement needs to mature to the point where they are recognizing that worship is something we do together as a body, not an individualistic free-for-all that feeds on our sinful hedonistic desires.

The second is the elitism that such theatrics engenders. We work hard as a community to be open and active in the things of the Spirit while recognizing (and promoting) that there is no homogeneity on our individual experiences.

I'm a lot more generous with private spirituality - I love a good party. But the third problem I have is that this is very public. It paints the experiential dimension of our faith (something I strongly cherish) as a plaything of fools. Keep the shtick off the stage.

Having said all that I think some of what happened through Toronto was breaking down the "serious" attitudes we had about our faith. I found wisdom in some of the more bizarre experiences simply because they forced us to not take ourselves and our false dignity so seriously. Unfortunately some ran with this and made indignity a new spirituality, much like John White's notions of psychological responses to the Spirit. Like we say, if you are still shaking a year later and there is no significant fruit - stop shaking.