Sunday, May 23, 2010

I attended a pentecostal church on this Pentecost Sunday morning.

As always, it is a little different to step out of the safe confines of my churchgoing experience to slip into another environment. People were friendly enough. The music was loud and lively. There was a lot of talk about the Holy Spirit and a "Pentecost for me" and a "fresh filling."

My mind went to those who are new to the Christian faith. What must they think as they hear all of this language? Are they intrigued or insulted by the insider talk? Does it speak of a mysterious God to pursue or a magical deity to shun?

I was dismayed by the talk of the Holy Spirit as an "it." It seemed that he was mostly referred to by what he does - miracles, words of knowledge, rewarding those who give financially. I didn't hear any talk about relationship - drawing close to God, to Jesus. I left the service wishing to have more of the Spirit in my life and wondering what that even means.

Mostly what I experienced this morning was the unending struggle of the professionally religious - the reflex to critique instead of the impulse to connect.

If "calling for flame" means anything to me this summer, it surely means to engage my mind in foreign worship experiences (yes!), but it also means engaging my heart, soul and strength as well. May my Father, the Creator of Pentecost, move me from mere evaluation into deeper adoration.

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