I used to be radically charismatic. I believed that if you didn’t have the gift of tongues, you didn’t have the Holy Spirit in you. I used to wake up in the morning in search of that tingling experience where following what Benny Hinn wrote in his book, I’d have that sort of heavenly experience trickling over me. I used to hear God speaking to me, in a still small voice, I had no doubts. But I guess I didn’t experience them all as I’ve been taught. There were real encounters but most, if I’m honest, were my own projections. I was “slained in the Spirit” but when I fell, I felt pain. I guess I thought that something was wrong with me. But that was my concept of God back then.
Then I went to bible school, to make myself equipped for ministry. They gave us Grudem and Erickson to read. I read positions where people were critical of anything charismatic and that’s when I digested fundamentalism. I was Reformed to be specific. I was snobbish and highly critical of views than ran counter. I evaluated sermons and saw gaping holes in the preachers doctrines. To me God was the author of our life, which is true of course. I guess I swam too much in the curents of predestination until it became too much part of how I thought about God. God was nicely bracketed and caged in my well structured doctrines. God was Reformed. But soon inchanged my views eventually.
A tragic accident and staring at death in the face broke my well intentioned stance of God being boxed in doctrines. I was reeling in the death of a friend who I held till his last breath on our way to the hospital. That for me was the longest day. It felt like time had stopped. I started questioning God after that. Too many questions, if you will until I almost lost all faith in God. But then instarted reading stuff on Emergent and Emerging groups. They asked questions and were far more generous in how they believed in God. Their questions became mine and soon thought that God was still something worth believing. I read stuff by N.T. Wright, Scot McKnight and others to name just a few. Jesus was Jewish? Jesus was deeply steeped in history? That marked my recovery from agnostic to Christian again, or rather a follower of Jesus.
I’m still very much in still trying to understand God. I try to unlearn what needs to be unlearned and learn new things and be open. I remain optimistic with new ideas when people come up with them. I value more conversations rather than trying to answer every question. I love dialogue rather than arguments. I mean we all have good point to learn from one another. To me, God is not an open ended question and answer kind of thing. It takes us constant wrestling with the biblical text we read as our basis for foundation. We should be open with new strands of thought that comes to picture. After all, we have minds given to us to think through stuff. We should not neglect we are learners at best.
I think right now is another transition. Sometimes I’m tired to be relegated back again to the same old drawing board. But it is a needed thing to do all our journeys. A frien once gave me a good quote. Intraced it back while reading through my old posts, thinking about something to write. I also had a good conversation last night over the same line of thought as what I’ve written above. It would do us good to learn from the quote.
“if your concept of God is radically false, the more devoted you are, the worse off you will be.” William Temple