Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The cult of spiritual ecstasies...

"All the stages Israel’s march to Canaan are distinctly noticed, but no particular journal is kept of Jacob’s expedition further than Beth-el; no, he had no more such happy nights as he had at Beth-el, no more such visions of the Almighty. That was intended for a feast; he must not expect it to be his daily bread. But, we are here told how cheerfully he proceeded in his journey after the sweet communion he had with God at Beth-el: Then Jacob lifted up his feet; so the margin reads it in verse 1. Then he went on with cheerfulness and alacrity, not burdened with his cares, nor cramped with his fears, being assured of God’s gracious presence with him. Note, After the visions we have had of God, and the vows we have made to him in solemn ordinances, we should run the way of his commandments with enlarged hearts."

I was reading this in Matthew Henry's commentary on Genesis 29 and found it to be so true...feast vs daily bread. We so often get this truth mixed up. Hyper Charismatic Christianity is guilty of perpetuating this idea in my experience. Too many Christians get confused on the purpose of the Spiritual Sun they have discovered. In an overzealous mesmerization with the glory of the heavenly light they end up blinded by that which was given to light their paths ahead. They long to eat from the hands of angels, like Elijah did as he fled from Jezebel to Mt. Horeb; but they do not want to go on a 40 day journey in the strength of that food, as Elijah was commanded, they would rather camp out and have Angel's cater to their lust for spiritual highs.

As a young man, I was led to believe that a life in the Spirit was something akin to a perpetual ripple of spiritual orgasms. Could anyone be really of any use if that were the case? If the idea is completely ludicrous in the natural, why do we insinuate or push the idea spiritually? In a healthy sexual life, there are moments of extreme enraptures of bliss that ignite, bond, meld, savoring pleasures that produce life and electrify every nerve in ones physical body. But these are not meant to be experienced moment to moment...to expect that would be insane and more a hint of neurosis than godly indulgence.

Unfortunately common sense does not often prevail among Christians. Next Sunday I enter the portion of 1 Corinthians that discusses spiritual gifts...I look forward to demystifying, life in the Spirt, without naturalizing it...a delicate balance. We can't reduce eternal realities into physical explanations that remove the mystical from our spiritual life but we can't allow ourselves to get so nutty that we end up looking and sounding like groveling addicts for the next spiritual fix.
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