Thursday, June 21, 2018

One size fits all—except when it doesn't!

By speaking of distinct, available, uniform experiences in the Christian life that are simply “there for the taking,” revivalists of various stripes essentially cast the goal of spirituality as “obtaining" or “having" these discrete experiences. The danger is in portraying these experiences as commodities that people obtain or consume, just as they do other things. Furthermore, when traditions discriminate on the basis of the "haves" and the “have-nots” of these experiences, political dynamics are introduced, including power-laden structures of those who are and who are not entitled to carry on the Pentecostal identity in formal capacities. For those who do not fit this narration, they can be dismissed, marginalized. and patronized as a result. Through the commodification of religious experience, the Christian life is depicted as a ladder of achievement or as a status-filled dynamic. Most Christians, including Pentecostals, would formally object to these outcomes. The difficulty for Pentecostals is that the logic and the language they tend to prefer in handling Spirit-baptism point this direction.—Pentecostalism as a Christian Mystical Tradition, page 147

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