Tag Archives: James K.A. Smith

“The Holy Spirit Is NOT for Sale” by J. Lee Grady

A few years ago while taking a class on the emerging church, I ran across the identifiers  “post-Pentecostal” and “post-charismatic.” At first I did not fully understand what these terms meant nor while someone would want to use them…but slowly over the years I have come to realize that I myself am a post-Pentecostal/post-charismatic follower of Jesus.

The term, contrary to what some may think, are not referring to cecessionist doctrines or theology, nor are they saying that we have move beyond the movement of the Holy Spirit as ushered in by THE Pentecost of Acts 2. Instead the terms post-Pentecostal and post-charismatic pay homage to the mentality of post-modernism in that they refer to a new shift in thinking about Pentecost and the workings of the Holy Spirit.

In other words, post-Pentecostal/post-charismatic folks tend to be tried out by all the hype and faddism that seems to follow Pentecostalism and Charismaticism.  We are people who are turned off by the worship of super-star healers, prophets, speakers, and miracle works. It’s not to say that God does not work through those people, ‘cause he can if he wants, it is just that we just not going to listen if all we hear is marketing and hype. Give me simple, humble workers of Jesus who see the lame healed, injustice destroyed, and signs and wonders in both the church building and on the street corners. Those are the folks I want to listen to and read about!

An unfortunate consequence of this post-Pentecostal/post-charismatic mentality is that my reading list and study material tended to come from the Evangelical, non-charismatic side of Christianity. I basically stopped paying any attention to anyone on the Pentecostal/charismatic side of the fence – all the while, mind you, practicing a spirit-led life that regularly saw miracles, signs and wonders (remember, I’m a member of the Third Wave and not a cessessionist!).  God, of course, doesn’t like fences and, as such, started prodding and poking me towards my  Pentecostal/charismatic roots – as I wrote about here and here.

Continue reading “The Holy Spirit Is NOT for Sale” by J. Lee Grady

Some Of My Favorite Blog Sites…

A site I have been following recently asked for blog suggestions as they were looking for some new sites to follow. In thinking about that, I decided to list out some of my favorite blog sites for your reading pleasure. Note however that this is a very small list as I have over 80 sites on my RSS feed… yeah, I’m strange that way!  😛

Vineyard Related:

  • Jason Clark – Jason is a Vineyard church planter in SW London, UK, as well as a teacher at George Fox Seminary and a PhD student in theology at Kings College London. He has some great thoughts and conversations on the church, culture, mission, and theology in general.
  • WordHavering – Written by Mike Freeman, a Vineyard Boise (Idaho) pastor, this blog full of amazing “musings/haverings on God, theology, the Bible and the occasional movie.” While it may sound cliche, I would have to say that Mike’s style of write is refreshing and warm to the eyes.
  • As I See It… – Marty Boller is the pastor of the Cedar Rapids, IA, Vineyard church and has been exploring ways to move from focusing on size of a church building, money in the bank account and/or the number of folks attending to really, truly following Jesus and being missional to our communities
  • Peace Catalyst International – Peace Catalyst is an organization seeking to “stimulate peacemaking between individuals and between peoples.” Most of the articles are written by Rick Love, a truly peaceful and loving man, who severs as a consultant for Christian-Muslim relations in the Vineyard, USA.
  • Brambonius’ blog in English – Brambonius is a Belgium Vineyard guy who writes some eye opening posts about Jesus, Christianity and the Bible through a European worldview.
  • Carl Medearis – Carl is an international expert in the field of Arab-American and Muslim-Christian relations as well as the author of “Speaking of Jesus(one of the best books ever!). The thing I love about Carl is his passionate love for Jesus and the ability to separate the culture of “Christianity” from following the person of Jesus. Well worth the read!
  • Verse&Verse – A wonderful blog full of heart felt poems and deep views on following Jesus. It is written by Steven Hamliton who currently in the process of launching a Jesus community in urban Pittsburgh. He is also deeply involved with the Vineyard Anti-Slavery Team.
  • Captain’s Blog – Written by Chad Estes, this blog just oozes the freedom, mercy and love of Jesus to all people at all times. It is definitely a good site to have on your RSS feed.

Continue reading Some Of My Favorite Blog Sites…

“Thinking in Tongues” by James K.A. Smith

I have to admit that I’m not quite sure how to describe James K.A. Smith’s book “Thinking in Tongues.” This hesitation does not come from a dislike or a disinterest in the book; rather it comes from a desire to do it justice while allow my heart to shine through.

You see, I could review this book on a purely intellectual level while using fancy $5 words like narrative epistemology.

Or I could simply tell you the story of how this book made me feel…. Interestingly enough, the book itself points the way forward through this dilemma:

“Because of an emphasis on the role of experience, and in contrast to rationalistic evangelical theology (which reduces worship to a didactic sermon, and conceives of our relation to God as primarily intellectual, yielding only “talking head” Christianity), Pentecostal spirituality is rooted in affective, narrative epistemic practice. According to this model, knowledge is rooted in the heart and traffics in the stuff of story.”

And, yes – I am aware that some of you will look at the above quote and quip about the use of fancy words in my attempt not to do so…but please, bear with me ok – ‘cause I am reviewing a philosophy book here! 😛

Now, where was I?

God has been taking me on a journey deeper into my heart and emotions these last six months while at the same time returning me to my roots. Having grown up in Charismatic/Pentecostal churches, I have always had an awareness of the supernatural and the miraculous power of God.

Continue reading “Thinking in Tongues” by James K.A. Smith

Society of Vineyard Scholars: Review

If you have been wondering about my silence, it is because I was enjoying the company of friends at the annual Society of Vineyard Scholars (SVS) conference in Seattle.

In typical Vineyard fashion, the conference was a wonderful blend of “spirit and scholarship” with 46 academic papers and times of worship and prophetic ministry. To show this blend, the Lord gave a local artist at the Vineyard Community Church (Shoreline), who hosted the event, a vision of two waves crashing into each other. This painting (show to the right) was prominently displayed throughout the event at the front of the church as a reminder to everyone present of the need for both spirit and truth.

Another reminder of this blend of spirit and scholarship was James K.A. Smith’s plenary session outlining a “Charismatic Epistemology” (i.e. a spirit led way of understanding knowledge). As a Pentecostal Philosopher, James Smith challenged the SVS scholars to two ways:

  1. To drink deep from the well of the Vineyard – Allow the values and Kingdom Theology of the Vineyard to impact and guide the academic nature of the Society. Don’t just parrot the theology and discussions of everyone else.
  2. Embrace a Narrative Epistemology (i.e. a story focused understanding of knowledge) moved by the Holy Spirit – Don’t allow the intellectual focus of Western enlightenment culture overrule ones embracement of emotions and experiences that God has given humanity.

My first thought when I heard this was, “I’ve been duped! I came to a scholars meeting to escape my emotions only to have God tell me to trust them!”

Continue reading Society of Vineyard Scholars: Review

Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism? By James K.A. Smith

smithJames K.A. Smith is a Christian philosopher who came to Christ through the ministry of the Plymouth Brethrens before having a long “sojourn in the Assemblies of God.”  He is now a Professor of Philosophy and Congregational/Ministry Studies at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Smith was influenced by the writings of Francis Schaeffer – to the point that he considers this book a “sequel to Shaeffer’s own engagements with humanism and existentialism” (:21). It is also worth noting that the core of the book was formed out of a series of lectures given at Schaeffer’s study center, L’Abri Fellowship, in Switzerland (:12). In regards to the emerging church movement, Smith has been both a critic and a friend, arguing that the emerging church is not postmodern enough.    At his core, Smith is a proponent of Radical Orthodoxy, a “sensibility that seeks to articulate a robust confessional theology in postmodernity” (117).

The thesis of Smith’s book is that the French postmodern philosophy promoted by Jacques Derrida, Jean-Francois Lyotard, and Michel Foucault has a deep affinity with central Christian claims” (:22) that can help Christians “recapture some truths about the nature of the church that have been overshadowed by modernity and especially by Christian appropriations of modernism” (:23). Continue reading Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism? By James K.A. Smith