I did not really grow up as a charismaniac. I did not even grow up Christian. However, at the tender age of almost-fifteen I became a Christian of the charismatic variety and I have spent the past twenty-eight years in that tradition (non-conformist, evangelical, charismatic).
It is a varied tradition and there is much in it that I appreciate. However, two things constantly frustrate me.
1. There is a tendency to be ever-looking for the latest thing; the new move of God; the new wave of the Spirit; the coming revival. Ordinary Christian life is “dull” and “mundane” and we always strive for the extra-ordinary—the miraculous, the new, the (frankly) weird. This instinct is not without merit. It (potentially) fosters a constant pursuit of God and a refusal to be satisfied with mere form. On the other hand, it can be a cruel tyrant that distracts believers away from the key dimensions of walking with God (in the ordinary, run of the mill aspects of life and Christian praxis) and leaves a trail of destruction and disappointment. The Charismatic movement often promises far more than it can deliver. As for revival: I don’t think we’re going to have one and I actually do not want one (at least, not of the variety that I am told I should want).
2. Worship that is fine and dandy — with much that is good about it (honest) — but that misses out on SO much by bypassing the rich resources of liturgy. I am simply bored with “out of the packet” charismatic worship — bunches of songs strung together by a man with a mic. What I crave at a very deep level is the spiritual depth and profundity of liturgy. I don’t know how many fellow charismatics “get” this but I would swap a knees-up worship band for a simple liturgical service any day.
So—what I am after is a High Church, smells and bells, charismatic church with evangelical(ish) preaching. Me and the cat . . .
You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. Perhaps some day you’ll join us, and … then there’ll be three of us (you, me, and the cat).