While I’m equivocating (establishing an argument through subtly allowing the definitions of words to ‘morph’ in the midst of the argument) I’d like to add to yesterday’s post (in which I longed to be reformed, charismatic, and catholic all at the same time) the footnote that in my presbyterian church, I have a ton of pentecostals.
Of course, anyone walking into our service looking for pentecostal fire would confront cultural shock of epic proportions. But in another sense, we are very pentecostal.
A while back, I was meeting with a group of key leaders and asked them to tell me what their ideal worship service would look like. Their answers varied, of course. But to a man they were all expressing their desires for worship in a way that was rooted in an experience of past worship and in their own emotional response to God. Many longed for worship that was akin to what they had grown up with, worship which, no doubt, evoked pleasant feelings and memories.
I inwardly chuckled at this. For all our talk of objective and biblical liturgy, when we peal away the surface, we tend to most respond to and long for worship that makes us feel good.
The critique those in our tradition often level at pentecostals is that they are all about emotional response. I think we are not too far removed from that, if at all. And I’m not sure that is really such a bad thing.