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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: Rev. Colin Urquhart and the Charismatic Renewal
chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:

But right now I'm preparing for my sermon by doing precisely that-- repeating the 'final product' over and over again. To some degree I'm perfecting-- finding a phrase that doesn't work or is confusing.

So in fact you are not repeating the 'final product' over and over again. Similarly a pianist preparing for a concert won't simply play the pieces they plan to play at the speed they plan to play it at repeatedly.

Preaching is a harder analogy, as for many people it is less abstracted from other things they also do. However, I assume that anyone who had improved their preaching over a period of time would have done a number of things, among them practicing many of the skills involved in preaching in isolation. Equally, a large portion of the time the average pianist will be doing things other than simply playing through music - if they hope to get better.

Of course, we could get all handwavy and say 'there's this whole bunch of other stuff that God does that makes my tongue speaking more fluent - that operates in parellel to me exercising the gift' but that just answers a question with another set of questions.

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Gamaliel
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Besides, whilst you may not personally have experienced 'coaching' or inducements to speak in tongues, the practice is rife in the Pentecostal and charismatic worlds.

I'd say that the majority if tongues-speakers I've met have been induced into the practice by the laying on of hands and some form or other of encouragement or peer pressure - however mild.

I know people who have begun to pray in tongues apparently spontaneously or without outside interference as it were - but in most cases it seems to be learned or copy-cat behaviour.

Indeed, studies have shown that in Pentecostal congregations people emulate the sounds produced by the pastoral team or dominant figures in the congregation.

I remember an interview with the British novelist, Jeanette Wilkinson ('Oranges are not the only fruit') in which she told how - as a teenager, she'd had a reputation for being able to interpret tongues. When the interviewer, Melvin Bragg, asked whether she had been able to do so, she laughed, 'Nah!'

I also remember hearing a BBC Radio 4 programme where the journalist investigating the phenomenon asked a professor who was studying it whether he could 'do' it. The professor thought for a moment then launched in with a credible attempt that, with a bit of practice, could easily have passed muster in any Pentecostal or charismatic church I know.

It's easy to 'speak in tongues'. Any of us here could induce someone else into the practice in less than 10 minutes - irrespective of whether they had faith or not.

--------------------
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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:

But right now I'm preparing for my sermon by doing precisely that-- repeating the 'final product' over and over again. To some degree I'm perfecting-- finding a phrase that doesn't work or is confusing.

So in fact you are not repeating the 'final product' over and over again. S.
Huh? You snipped off the part where I just said I am doing precisely that-- repeating the final product over and over again.


quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Besides, whilst you may not personally have experienced 'coaching' or inducements to speak in tongues, the practice is rife in the Pentecostal and charismatic worlds.

Yes, I know that. That's exactly what I'm referring to-- and trying to parse out why I find it so off-putting. Because I definitely do.

I'm not trying to argue either for or against practice or coaching-- my experience is to minimal for me to make a strong argument either way. More I'm trying to parse out my own small experience as well as my knee-jerk reaction, mostly by "thinking out loud."

[ 09. April 2016, 22:24: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
Huh? You snipped off the part where I just said I am doing precisely that-- repeating the final product over and over again.

*sigh*

I doubt if when you are actually preaching the 'some degree' qualifier is actually present - besides you are presumably missing out an earlier stage when you were deliberately composing what you did, and all stages in between when you were presumably mentally rehearsing segments of it and rewording it.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
Huh? You snipped off the part where I just said I am doing precisely that-- repeating the final product over and over again.

*sigh*

I doubt if when you are actually preaching the 'some degree' qualifier is actually present - besides you are presumably missing out an earlier stage when you were deliberately composing what you did, and all stages in between when you were presumably mentally rehearsing segments of it and rewording it.

Honestly, I'm not sure what you mean-- specifically, what does "the 'some degree' qualifier is actually present" mean???

As I said before, in the early stages as I'm going thru the sermon I am polishing-- making tweaks, etc. But by Fri/Sat hopefully/usually the tweaking is done. At that point I go thru the sermon several times each day in as close to the way I will deliver it as possible-- i.e. "repeating the final product over and over again."

I'm not really sure if I am disagreeing with you or not, as I'm not really sure what you're trying to say or why... [Confused]

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:

Honestly, I'm not sure what you mean-- specifically

The specific claim I was disputing was that repeatedly praying in tongues constituted 'practise' and thus that an argument could be made that this would improve one's faculty with tongues over time.

As I said, there are very few things that work this way.

Without isolating individual elements with the framework you outline and working on them in isolation, someone is unlikely to learn to preach in the first place. Without conscious reflection on them over time, someone is unlikely to improve.

This is very different from doing the same thing over and over again.

quote:

At that point I go thru the sermon several times each day in as close to the way I will deliver it as possible-- i.e. "repeating the final product over and over again."

At which point all you are actually practising is delivery (and even here there are numerous more granular skills people would/could work on if they wanted their delivery to improve - look at the sort of things debating teams/toastmasters etc work on), and presumably as you are going along you are thinking consciously and critically about your delivery.
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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:

Honestly, I'm not sure what you mean-- specifically

The specific claim I was disputing was that repeatedly praying in tongues constituted 'practise' and thus that an argument could be made that this would improve one's faculty with tongues over time.

As I said, there are very few things that work this way.

Without isolating individual elements with the framework you outline and working on them in isolation, someone is unlikely to learn to preach in the first place. Without conscious reflection on them over time, someone is unlikely to improve.

This is very different from doing the same thing over and over again.

quote:

At that point I go thru the sermon several times each day in as close to the way I will deliver it as possible-- i.e. "repeating the final product over and over again."

At which point all you are actually practising is delivery (and even here there are numerous more granular skills people would/could work on if they wanted their delivery to improve - look at the sort of things debating teams/toastmasters etc work on), and presumably as you are going along you are thinking consciously and critically about your delivery.

But I am practicing my delivery-- repeating it over & over again-- precisely as I will do it on Sunday.

Again, I suspect I am with you that practicing speaking in tongues is "off" somehow-- but not for the reason you're citing. To the contrary of your statement " very few things work this way" I think most things work this way-- that we improve with practice, and at least part of that practice is "repeating it the same way over & over again". Choirs, musicians, actors-- all "repeat it the same way over & over again." The fact that we improve with each repetition is sorta the point.

If it is different with tongues-- and I suspect it is-- it is different because tongues is different, or because spiritual gifts are different.

Unless you mean something totally different by "practicing" or "repeating the same thing over and over" than what I (and I'm guessing most people) mean by it.

[ 09. April 2016, 23:37: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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mdijon
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I have got quite good at cycling. Not just in terms of fitness but also in terms of keeping my balance, knowing the safer bits of road to use and being able to avoid trouble. I've done this not by any planned training course or graded exercises but by cycling the same route to and from work every day for several years. I could probably have made progress more rapidly if I'd taken instruction and done some specified and logical exercises but that doesn't mean I haven't made any progress by blind repetition.

I think the claim must be that there is something completely mindless and lacking in agency about babbling in tongues that makes the repetition pointless. I am agnostic as to what speaking in tongues actually signifies, but in my tongue-speaking-phase I think that practice enlarged the range of syllables and aesthetics of the patterns that I used.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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Baptist Trainfan
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Er ... I think that, entirely unwittingly, I seem to have taken us into a tangent that will only end in tears.

Might we return to something more akin to the original subject?

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Martin60
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I know I could do 'tongues' right now. I very much doubt I ever would. I might give it a try in my solitary walks. I'll report back. I certainly would NEVER ascribe an external agency to it. I HAVE sung in tongues, but it was entirely synthetic. I wasn't 'just' playing, it was in a sustained, high stress situation when I lived in a bedsit 7-5 years ago, surrounded by students. Bless them. One enforced insomniac pre-dawn I had to pray cognitively about the stress in no uncertain terms and that led to exploring comforting myself with Sigur Rós inspired humming and beyond. It helped my attitude in exhaustion.

I imagine I COULD apply this in hymn singing, could let myself go, but I just don't relate to so much of what is sung. The content. Icky. Grovelling. Don't get me wrong I LOVE the cathartic hyperbolic. 'Nought be all else to me save that thou art.' - Alison A Living Prayer Krauss right now - Amazing Grace, Facedown (King Crimson anyone?), My Jesus.

I had an intensely cathartic experience at a Taizé service in Royal Leamington Spa's parish church about 10 years ago, led by Anne Hibbert. I was feeling typically unclean and invalid, that I had no right to participate in such beauty with my raging intrusive thinking. I was outraged at the grace confronting the demon of condemnation who spoke with my inner voice.

If there was an agency at work - the Holy Spirit - in some ineffable way or actually warring over my Faustian soul, I can't know. I'm glad of the healing that happened in His provision.

[ 10. April 2016, 07:53: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

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Gamaliel
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I don't see why it has to 'end in tears' Baptist Trainfan.

Like others here,I certainly 'got better' at articulating nonsense syllables through practice - I was able to introduce tone, structure, inflection ... was this any different to what a scat-singer does? How does it differ substantially from the 'mouth-music' or wordless singing found in some folk music traditions - such as those of Ireland and Shetland?

Nobody has addressed my comment that it would be perfectly possible for someone without a smidgeon of Christian faith to give a passable approximation of speaking in tongues as it's currently practised in Pentecostal and charismatic circles.

I share Cliffdweller's unease at the 'coaching' and induction aspects ... and I can articulate my reasons for that - it can be manipulative, rely on suggestibility and lead to unhealthy levels of dependency on particular ostensibly 'gifted' authority figures or groups ...

Of course, this sort of thing can happen in other contexts too.

I've always been 'happier' or more comfortable with accounts of apparently more spontaneous instances of tongues-speaking ... in the same way as I am more comfortable with conversions that take place outside of high-pressure hot-house atmospheres.

I suppose I am agnostic about the purpose and value of the practice - it's essentially neutral, I think and only bears the weight and value we choose to place upon it.

I'm not sure my Christian life and experience is any the less for it - but it's impossible to 'prove' one way or another whether it's helped or hindered me in my discipleship and faith.

It's all down to context.

Some of this stuff only has value if participants agree to place value on it.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Baptist Trainfan
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I meant that the discussion might "end in tears" - the tone seems to be getting a little bit tendentious. (How's that for a word? [Cool] )
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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
The 'singing in the air' or angelic singing thing was a feature of earlier revivals ... and I experienced that myself - or thought I did (?) at the first Bible Week I attended - the Dales Bible Week in 1982.

Someone else heard the same thing. I was on a night-shift as I'd volunteered for the security team (despite being a short, little weedy guy) in order to get there on a subsidised rate.

It had a profound effect on me at the time but after all these years I'm no longer sure that whether what I heard was some kind of atmospheric effect - air-brakes in the distance? some kind of breeze effect? - or what I took it to be ... certainly heard something ... and something that sounded very ethereal and spine-tinglingly numinous ...

There had been reports of this from earlier years - both in the main meetings and late at night when people were asleep - so there could have been an element of suggestibility there - I don't know.

Whatever the case, I don't base my faith on whether it was real, imagined or some kind of combination of the two ...

Like Doone and others, I'm reluctant to write the whole thing off - I certainly saw some things happen that didn't admit of an immediately 'rational' explanation in terms of learned behaviour or responses to platform cues and suggestibility ...

But 9 times out of 10, I'd agree that much of this stuff was induced - with people willing to participate and lay their critical faculities to one side in order to obtain some kind of experience.

Why are you reluctant to write the whole thing off - including Paul's experiences - as entirely explicable as physical and psychological, Gamaliel? And Doone? And Eutychus? And anyone else? Sorry Baptist Trainfan, I'm not sure where you are on this.

What should I write in?

[ 10. April 2016, 15:31: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Why are you reluctant to write the whole thing off - including Paul's experiences - as entirely explicable as physical and psychological (...) Eutychus?

For my part, first show me where I have.

Just because something is physical and psychological doesn't mean it's necessarily only that.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Gamaliel
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Sure, I would agree with that too - if something could be 'proven' to be physical and psychological it doesn't mean that this is 'all' it is ...

I was interested to read an interview this week with the winner of the National Poetry Competition - only the second American to win the prize since it was set up in 1978. He describes how his brother used to write spells in a made-up language when they were kids and how his voice would convey awe and conviction when he cast them.

Whilst his brother's spells called for storms and thunderbolts, his own were 'for easier things like making people look up from what they were doing.'

He continues, 'That was my first time believing that language could cause change.'

Source: Poetry News. The Poetry Society www.poetrysociety.org.uk

Intriguing.

Both poetry and drama grew out of religious rituals and shamanic practices to some extent, so it's hardly surprising to find facility with speech accorded spiritual status in religious beliefs and practices worldwide.

As for whatever was going on in Corinth - you pays your money and you makes your choice.

Whether Paul is describing the sort of things we read about in Acts or something else entirely is a moot point. Nobody seems to know.

All we can do is make educated hermeneutical guesses.

As for what criteria there is for dealing with this stuff in church - how to 'interpret' tongues or whether they actually are spiritual gifts at all or simply a by-product of religious enthusiasm - who knows?

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Why are you reluctant to write the whole thing off - including Paul's experiences - as entirely explicable as physical and psychological (...) Eutychus?

For my part, first show me where I have.

Just because something is physical and psychological doesn't mean it's necessarily only that.

Eutychus, on All Fool's Day upstream you said: "I don't think it can all have been merely froth and bubble.". And ... you just said it above. If something is physical and psychological, is entirely explicable as ALL 'charismatic' claims are since and including Paul, what else is left to explain only by supernatural means?

Social justice?

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Love wins

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Martin60
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Gamaliel reckons over 10% of these claims are genuine.

How?

Even if it's a 'figure of speech' it's a massively disproportionately generous one.

In a blizzard of chaff there will always be the odd grain of wheat by chance alone. No suspension of the laws of physics is necessary.

Only cognitive bias is necessary as in this sad, deluded, desperately agendaed offering being put about by the vicar of a large church with which I'm extremely familiar.

[ 10. April 2016, 18:12: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Eutychus, on All Fool's Day upstream you said: "I don't think it can all have been merely froth and bubble.". And ... you just said it above. If something is physical and psychological, is entirely explicable as ALL 'charismatic' claims are since and including Paul, what else is left to explain only by supernatural means?

Sorry, I misread you as saying I wanted to write it all off.

As far as I'm concerned "what else is left to explain" is the wrong question.

Matt Inman, creator of The Oatmeal comic and not noted for his faith-friendliness, said
quote:
trying to scientifically prove God is like trying to find your car keys using Microsoft Bing
Explaining something psychologically doesn't preclude a spiritual dimension to it.

In my own faith journey, however much I can explain things I've experienced "psychologically" (I note nobody's come back on the Kabyle-speaking experience I related, though), I can't unmake the spritual impact of some of them in my own life. That doesn't mean I promote or seek that kind of experience, though.

I've looked long and hard at the answer to your "what else is left to explain" question as being "nothing", and concluded that the resulting universe is one devoid not only of God, but also of humanity.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:

To the contrary of your statement " very few things work this way" I think most things work this way-- that we improve with practice, and at least part of that practice is "repeating it the same way over & over again". Choirs, musicians, actors

If you honestly believe that most musicians *practise* by repeating the pieces they perform in *exactly the same way they perform them* ad nauseam, then you couldn't be more wrong.
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Gamaliel
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Where did I say 10% of it was legit' or that 90% of it us baloney?

I may have used figures of speech on other threads on these issues but I'm not sure I've done so on this one ...

Just as no-one has got back to me on the thing about people with no faith being able to 'speak in tongues', Eutychus is right that no-one has got back to him either on the Kabyle incident.

FWIW, taken at face value, I'd say this was more convincing than other stories I've heard and would be one reason why I wouldn't be in a hurry to write all these things off - unless it could be demonstrated that the participants were mistaken.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

FWIW, taken at face value, I'd say this was more convincing than other stories I've heard and would be one reason why I wouldn't be in a hurry to write all these things off - unless it could be demonstrated that the participants were mistaken.

But again, as I mentioned up-thread. Even if this was a miraculous event, it gives us a very poor basis on which to build a more generalised doctrine on tongues as a whole.
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Gamaliel
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At the risk of tendentiousness - thanks Baptist Trainfan - I'd suggest that 'tongues' don't remain the same either. Which iswhy some of the early Pentecostal pioneers mistakenly thought they were speaking Indian or Chinese languages.

The more they did it, the greater variation in the sounds and the more convinced they became.

I can't see why Cliffdweller's 'tongues' would be any different to anyone else's in that respect. Whatever else we may say about it, if glossolalia is a form of free-wheeling speech then it stands to reason that some sounds or 'phrases' will remain relatively constant in the memory or psyche - just like improvising on a musical instrument - whilst others will change each time.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Doone
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I really don't know, Martin60, except that we humans are experts at embroidering, exaggerating, limiting, marring, spoiling, denigrating, and a 1001 other negative words, when it comes to using God's great gifts in the ways and the uses for which He intended. That goes for the rest of the charismata as well. So, yes, there is a lot of 'stuff' that goes on that is manipulative, deluded or whatever or that can be explained physically or psychologically and I am cynical and don't seek these experiences now. But, I can't help believe, partly through some of my own experiences, that He can and does sometimes impart these gifts, even through our imperfect selves. And no, I cannot prove it. Sometimes all I can do is trust my Father.
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Green Mario
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I struggle to understand why if you believe God is real it is so difficult to believe that he answers prayer, heals people or speaks to people. I understand skepticism if coming from a Deist or atheist perspective but if you believe God is real and also intellectually ascent to the fact that he does this type of thing on occasion i don't see why you would almost want to disprove every specific example- or being looking for examples that you can 100% prove - it seems like trying to put God under the microscope in an attempt to prove him using scientific method.

Most instances of the supernatural in charismatic settings have alternative explanations if you are looking for alternative explanations, and aren't sufficient to "prove God" - but if you already believe in him it seems strange to try to find an alternative explanation every time you experience something where an obvious explanation is that its God, speaking or God acting. It's not really humility because we don't believe God acting among us is proof of our holiness or ability - it's proof of his grace and kindness, nothing else. I find it hard to be skeptical or put everything I have experienced or been told about down to confirmation bias because such a large proportion of the Christians I know have experienced God working in dramatic ways at times (as I have done). On the other hand I am aware that most stories can be explained away if you are devoted to a materialist world view. And if they come from an almost anonymous person on the internet if they are too easily explained they can be explained away and if they are too spectacular...well that person might be exaggerating or deluded because... well you don't really know them.

Where you have had significant experiences of God in the past I don't understand either the desire to explain these away now; even if they occurred in settings which are not how you would want to express your spirituality these days; it seems ungrateful to what God has done in you and for you in the past.

Gamaliel - you seem to take it as proof that something isn't real because you could quite easily fake it if you want to; which doesn't take into account the fact that most people are sincere and want the real and authentic (just as it is very clear you do) - they don't want fake.

More specifically with regards to tongues (and not connected so much to the above) I think it's perfectly plausible that they might be both a natural and spiritual phenomenon. What I mean by that is that it could be a completely naturally phenomenon to engage in pre-cognitive speech, something that anyone could learn to do but that the Holy spirit uses this to enable us to connect to God with our spirits. For me it is sufficient that Paul per 1 Corinthians regards the practice as helpful and is glad he does it more than all the tongues obsessed Corinthians in private. I think the testimony of Jackie Pullingers ministry to the effectiveness of praying in tongues is interesting here (and something that encourages me in using this gift) - and I know from someone who was involved in Hong Kong that this was a long way from ecstatic tongues; in fact praying with addicts coming off heroin this way was mundane and boring at times but it worked and it helped.

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OddJob
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Has anyone experienced a situation where two individuals both claiming interpretative ability have heard someone talking in tongues, gone away and independently given the same interpretation, unaware of any comments from the other interpreter? I haven’t personally, but in the late 1980s/early 1990s heyday of tongues knew a chap who claimed to have had an interpretation but wasn’t bold enough to announce it, then another person in the congregation said exactly what he had been too shy to say. The interpretation was however as nebulous as most of them tended to be.
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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Eutychus, on All Fool's Day upstream you said: "I don't think it can all have been merely froth and bubble.". And ... you just said it above. If something is physical and psychological, is entirely explicable as ALL 'charismatic' claims are since and including Paul, what else is left to explain only by supernatural means?

Sorry, I misread you as saying I wanted to write it all off.
Form a queue, one at a time, move down the bus.

Most gracious of you Eutychus, my syntax does take some parsing. I started this reply conviced that you were more valid in your reading. And then I realised I was right first time : ) I had said what I meant.

Enough of tedious cilvility:

"Explaining something psychologically doesn't preclude a spiritual dimension to it.", I couldn't agree more. My psychology, my thinking, my experience, my narrative, my existenz and that of the utterly materially constructivistically apprehendable cosmos is inextricably S/spiritual.

NOTHING I say about being completely rational about ALL charismatic claims has ANY negative relationship to faith and the Spirit/ual. On the contrary. You MUST know this, so what am I missing?

Are you also making a supernatural claim about the Kabyle speaking Italo-Gaul? Kabyle is spoken S of France and SSW of Italy and there will be plenty of Kabyle speakers in Italy, the nearest landfall north of Kabylia. And as you will know there are a huge number in France. So I MUST be misunderstanding you? As there is no significance in this whatsoever.

Sorry, it must be me, but what point were you making about that?

The infinite eternal cosmic multiverse, utterly devoid of magic, is no less magical, no less a manifestation of the transfinte, transeternal thinking out of Love.

--------------------
Love wins

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Martin60
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I feel like Bagpuss. TING! Next:

quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Where did I say 10% of it was legit' or that 90% of it us baloney?

I may have used figures of speech on other threads on these issues but I'm not sure I've done so on this one ...

Just as no-one has got back to me on the thing about people with no faith being able to 'speak in tongues', Eutychus is right that no-one has got back to him either on the Kabyle incident.

FWIW, taken at face value, I'd say this was more convincing than other stories I've heard and would be one reason why I wouldn't be in a hurry to write all these things off - unless it could be demonstrated that the participants were mistaken.

I actually quoted you Gamaliel:

"But 9 times out of 10, I'd agree that much of this stuff was induced - with people willing to participate and lay their critical faculities to one side in order to obtain some kind of experience."

I'm having a bad day obviously, missing everyone's meaning. I thought that you meant that you'd agree that much of 90% of charismatic, supernatural claim is induced. Therefore (?) as 10% isn't, and must (?) therefore really be supernatural, add that to the some of the 90% above that is too, and that's more than 10%.

No?

The Kabyle incident has already been totally dealt with. It's NOTHING. Nothing but cognitive bias. Nothing but believing what you helplessly want to despite nothing but faithful REASON not to.

If the Kabyle speaking Italo-Gaul was subject to a criminal investigation a simple explanation would be quickly found.

This is so childishly simply obvious I MUST be missing something? Sorry. Can anyone explain it to me in my wilful, criminally stupid, morally bankrupt ignorance?

None of you believes in Intelligent Design, right?

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Love wins

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Doone:
I really don't know, Martin60, except that we humans are experts at embroidering, exaggerating, limiting, marring, spoiling, denigrating, and a 1001 other negative words, when it comes to using God's great gifts in the ways and the uses for which He intended. That goes for the rest of the charismata as well. So, yes, there is a lot of 'stuff' that goes on that is manipulative, deluded or whatever or that can be explained physically or psychologically and I am cynical and don't seek these experiences now. But, I can't help believe, partly through some of my own experiences, that He can and does sometimes impart these gifts, even through our imperfect selves. And no, I cannot prove it. Sometimes all I can do is trust my Father.

Good for you Doone. Believe what you must. We all do. God bless you in it. And above and beyond it. I'd rather have the gift of empathy and compassion and charity and understanding and patience and inclusion and social justice and courage than speak a word of Kabyle. But unfortunately the latter is more likely. Asrad.

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Love wins

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by OddJob:
Has anyone experienced a situation where two individuals both claiming interpretative ability have heard someone talking in tongues, gone away and independently given the same interpretation, unaware of any comments from the other interpreter? I haven’t personally, but in the late 1980s/early 1990s heyday of tongues knew a chap who claimed to have had an interpretation but wasn’t bold enough to announce it, then another person in the congregation said exactly what he had been too shy to say. The interpretation was however as nebulous as most of them tended to be.

Oddjob, I'd be extremely surprised if such statistically insignificant coincidences, sorry GOD INCIDENTSIZ! didn't happen. That WOULD be spooky.

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Love wins

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
my syntax does take some parsing.

It seems to me we are having enough trouble interpreting each others' English let alone any other tongue on this thread...
quote:
"Explaining something psychologically doesn't preclude a spiritual dimension to it.", I couldn't agree more. My psychology, my thinking, my experience, my narrative, my existenz and that of the utterly materially constructivistically apprehendable cosmos is inextricably S/spiritual.
In that case I fail to understand why you appeared to be inciting me to remove any "spiritual" explanation from the equation:
quote:
reluctant to write the whole thing off - including Paul's experiences - as entirely explicable as physical and psychological
quote:
Are you also making a supernatural claim about the Kabyle speaking Italo-Gaul? Kabyle is spoken S of France and SSW of Italy and there will be plenty of Kabyle speakers in Italy, the nearest landfall north of Kabylia.
She was from the Piedmont, which is at the opposite end of Italy, but never mind. I offered the anecdote in response for a request for first-hand testimony of xenoglossy. I haven't made any particular claims for it.
quote:
The infinite eternal cosmic multiverse, utterly devoid of magic, is no less magical, no less a manifestation of the transfinte, transeternal thinking out of Love.
I don't require anything else, but when something crops up in my experience that looks and feels miraculous, I'm content to be thankful for it.

I might be tempted to put it all down to cognitive bias and the like, but I think I have read too much CS Lewis and would simply find it too miserable. I remember "the dwarfs are for the dwarfs", and that Aslan is not a tame lion.

Then again, neither do I put such experiences on a pedestal, announce them as the norm (or even to be expected), preach them as a doctrine, or make a Ministry™ out of them.

As my late grandma-in-law used to say, "be thankful for small mercies; big'uns are coming".

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Green Mario:
I struggle to understand why if you believe God is real it is so difficult to believe that he answers prayer, heals people or speaks to people. I understand skepticism if coming from a Deist or atheist perspective but if you believe God is real and also intellectually ascent to the fact that he does this type of thing on occasion i don't see why you would almost want to disprove every specific example- or being looking for examples that you can 100% prove - it seems like trying to put God under the microscope in an attempt to prove him using scientific method.

Most instances of the supernatural in charismatic settings have alternative explanations if you are looking for alternative explanations, and aren't sufficient to "prove God" - but if you already believe in him it seems strange to try to find an alternative explanation every time you experience something where an obvious explanation is that its God, speaking or God acting. It's not really humility because we don't believe God acting among us is proof of our holiness or ability - it's proof of his grace and kindness, nothing else. I find it hard to be skeptical or put everything I have experienced or been told about down to confirmation bias because such a large proportion of the Christians I know have experienced God working in dramatic ways at times (as I have done). On the other hand I am aware that most stories can be explained away if you are devoted to a materialist world view. And if they come from an almost anonymous person on the internet if they are too easily explained they can be explained away and if they are too spectacular...well that person might be exaggerating or deluded because... well you don't really know them.

Where you have had significant experiences of God in the past I don't understand either the desire to explain these away now; even if they occurred in settings which are not how you would want to express your spirituality these days; it seems ungrateful to what God has done in you and for you in the past.

Gamaliel - you seem to take it as proof that something isn't real because you could quite easily fake it if you want to; which doesn't take into account the fact that most people are sincere and want the real and authentic (just as it is very clear you do) - they don't want fake.

More specifically with regards to tongues (and not connected so much to the above) I think it's perfectly plausible that they might be both a natural and spiritual phenomenon. What I mean by that is that it could be a completely naturally phenomenon to engage in pre-cognitive speech, something that anyone could learn to do but that the Holy spirit uses this to enable us to connect to God with our spirits. For me it is sufficient that Paul per 1 Corinthians regards the practice as helpful and is glad he does it more than all the tongues obsessed Corinthians in private. I think the testimony of Jackie Pullingers ministry to the effectiveness of praying in tongues is interesting here (and something that encourages me in using this gift) - and I know from someone who was involved in Hong Kong that this was a long way from ecstatic tongues; in fact praying with addicts coming off heroin this way was mundane and boring at times but it worked and it helped.

Mario, I struggle to understand, how you struggle to understand. I don't assent He does it to anybody in a transferable way and He obviously hasn't done since the time of the first couple or three circles. I'm not interested if He has. None of it is helpful in the slightest. Not in the needs of ANYONE I know. Nothing that I have ever experienced was a suspension of the laws of physics. It's like if He really is God the Killer. That's His business. I don't know Him thus in Jesus. And I don't know the supernatural of Jesus in ANYONE. I don't need to. It's UTTERLY irrelevant to faith, gratitude, praise for me.

Now it is for you and I MUST count you, my brother and another man's servant AND Jesus - i.e. you are He as far as He's concerned for me - as more worthy than myself.

I'm having an ineffable experience of God right now as He Zens right at me. I couldn't be more grateful for His presence right now. Unfortunately. For THE metanarrative, for being able to invite Him in right now in my ignorant arrogance.

And you're right, I MUST be more grateful. For it ALL. Thank you brother. Iron to iron indeed.

--------------------
Love wins

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Martin60
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Sorry, GREEN Mario.

And Eutychus, we nasty uncharysmed dwarfs weep breathlessly at galena geodes and the tiny yellow anthers of Californian lilac. And the unbelievable red, black male and tinier blue female flowers of the utterly ignorable Lawsonian cypress.

We need no one in a billion 'miracle' when such are all around.

I'm glad that those that do experience them. Don't you wish we'd all experience social justice? That the Kingdom would come?

--------------------
Love wins

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
we nasty uncharysmed dwarfs weep breathlessly at galena geodes and the tiny yellow anthers of Californian lilac. And the unbelievable red, black male and tinier blue female flowers of the utterly ignorable Lawsonian cypress.

We need no one in a billion 'miracle' when such are all around.

Why are you reluctant to write the whole thing (in this case, creation) off - including your weeping in response - as entirely explicable as physical and psychological?

Apologies for direct plagiarism, but I hope you get my point. If you are prepared to believe creation is God's handiwork, why deny him the opportunity of getting Balaam's ass to talk from time to time?

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Martin60
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I deny Him nothing. If that's the way He wants to play. The grains of wheat that are there by pure chance in a blizzard of chaff are actually put there individually by Him to look like pure chance. Like if He really is the God of the Old Testament as reported. It's none of my concern. It's of no use to me whatsoever.

Jesus is. Like cheesecake, there's always room for kindness.

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Love wins

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Gamaliel
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Green Mario - I an grateful fir a lot if things that happened back in my more full-on charismatic days - that doesn't mean I shouldn't question, re-evaluate or re-interpret them.

Even if the whole thing was baloney then God is still present everywhere and fillest all things and us able to make something out of any mess-ups or mistakes.

I don't see how it is necessarily 'ungrateful' to reevaluate these things. It could lead to greater gratitude that God has helped us to gain grater wisdom or - hopefully - maturity.

I don't think any more or less of you, Baptist Trainfan, Cliffdweller or anyone else who finds glossolalia helpful.

If you do, then great. I'm happy to allow you the freedom to continue speaking in tongues - not that it's down to me of course - but expect the freedom in return to question and reevaluate.

Yes, I am open to the idea of God intervening, healing, answering prayer and so on - or doing things we don't expect or can't understand.

But why should I accept 'shala-malla shala malla untie me bow-tie calor gas heater' as a kosher example of speaking in tongues - particularly when that is more credible and convincing sounding than some of the examples that one hears?

Accepting such things might not be a sign of gratitude but credulity.

I once saw a claim on an Orthodox site that God was sending angels to miraculously touch-up faded medieval frescoes in a Macedonian church. I couldn't help but wonder why he didn't ask them to stop by and redecorate an old lady's apartment while they were at it?

Is that ingratitude on my part?

There is a balance, of course.

There are also other ways of understanding 1 Corinthians 12 - 14. Your particular interpretation isn't the only one available.

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Gamaliel
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Odd Job -I've heard stories like that. Not had any direct experience of it though.

Again, we are in the realm of the anecdotal.

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
I deny Him nothing. If that's the way He wants to play.

Cool. But that's not what it sounded like earlier.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Doone
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Good for you Doone. Believe what you must. We all do. God bless you in it. And above and beyond it. I'd rather have the gift of empathy and compassion and charity and understanding and patience and inclusion and social justice and courage than speak a word of Kabyle. But unfortunately the latter is more likely. Asrad.

But it's not either/or, I, too, care passionately about those things and would rather have them too. But, sometimes, a word of Kabyle in the right ear at the right time might mean inclusion or understanding or something else that that person needs to hear. Who are we to box Him up?

[interpreted UBB code]

[ 11. April 2016, 10:34: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Martin60
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Who are we to keep Him waiting indeed.

I'm delighted at an encouraging word of Kabyle in His provision. We are His mouths an ears and arms and minds.

If only I heard a voice telling me to speak sounds I had never heard I would ask the listener the guarded question if it meant anything and please don't smack me in the mouth if it's bad.

But it will NEVER happen to me I can assure you. Just as it hasn't to you or anyone else here.

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Love wins

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mr cheesy
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I've long thought that the explanations as to why the deity works in this way seem pretty weak: if you are interested in getting an accurate message to someone, then I don't think you'd immediately think of (a) giving someone a message in a language they don't understand (b) giving a second person the ability to understand that message (c) providing a situation where the two people are present and receptive as to the message and (d) ensuring the person to whom the message is directed hears and appreciates that the message is for them rather than just a load of phooey.

I think it must just be easier to speak directly into the head of the person to whom you want to receive the message, to speak to someone else to tell them to speak to the recipient, to send a dream etc and so on.

Of course, I'm not God, but this kind of convoluted message transfer seems highly unlikely to be a reliable way to spread important information and much more likely to be group delusion, a scam etc.

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arse

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Gamaliel
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Sure, which is why many charismatics interpret certain passages in 1 Corinthians differently to the traditional Pentecostal Tongues + Interpretation = Prophecy model.

In the circles I moved in, interpretations were generally (but not exclusively) seen to be more in the line of prayers or praise rather than specific messages along the lines of the Kabyle one that Eutychus cites - 'Oy, you, stop messing about ...'

I suppose one could speculate that having it delivered in a language you knew but the speaker didn't would certainly grab your attention and give the message a certain weight and cachet that it might not otherwise have ...

But again, that's speculative.

As Chris Stiles has pointed out several times, there is nothing in any of the incidences we've discussed here that suggests their adoption as a general model or template.

I'm not sure whether Chris would go as far as I am about to go now, but I've felt for some time that the salient passages in 1 Corinthians are so ambiguous and capable of such different 'takes' and interpretations that they can't really be used as 'templates' - other than in a general sense - of how we conduct church services and meetings today.

That's not to say that analogous things might not happen from time to time ... but it is difficult to work out from Paul's epistle what exactly was going on.

Some commentators have argued that what Paul was describing was the perfectly natural practice of people interpreting what was being said in a polyglot congregation - ie. people translating things for non-Greek speakers present - and that all he was doing was bringing a semblance of order to stop them all talking at once.

I'm not sure that entirely fits the scriptural data as we have it - but it could explain some aspects. Whatever the case, this was certainly the way these passages were understood in medieval times when 'speaking in tongues' and 'interpretation of tongues' was understood to be the heightening and quickening of natural abilities to acquire and learn languages.

The ability to learn a language was seem as a 'gift' in the same way as the ability to draw or play a musical instrument was ... the pertinent point here being that the languages (which is what 'tongues' means) were seen as normal human ones and not 'angelic' languages or some kind of unintelligible prayer-language.

Whatever one thinks of Patristic and medieval forms of Biblical interpretation, it's significant I think that very few people seem to have thought of 'tongues' as some kind of personal prayer language until the advent of the Pentecostal movement in the early 20th century.

The fact that this belief or interpretation developed comparatively recently doesn't necessarily obviate it in and of itself ... but neither, would I submit, is it necessarily indicative of 'progress' either.

For the early Pentecostals it was all tied up with the expectation of Christ's imminent return. You read any of the early Pentecostal accounts and it's clear that most of the prophecies and apparent 'interpretations of tongues' concerned the imminent end of the world and the need to prepare for Christ's return.

It was only later, as these imminent expectations faded, that the 'prophecies' changed emphasis to other concerns ...

That's not to dismiss or diss the Pentecostals ... after all, the Apostle Paul and the first generation of Christians thought the Parousia was imminent.

But it is to set some context for their behaviour and expectations.

A similar thing happened with the Wimber visits and so on. When the outbreak of physical healing on a wide scale didn't occur the promises soon changed to more general forms of well-being and 'inner healing' and so on ...

That's been documented and commented on many times.

Over-egged expectations always shift in a downward of less 'egged' direction ...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Baptist Trainfan
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It strikes me that a lot of the egg can either get "hard-boiled" (i.e. routinized/institutionalised) or "scrambled" (i.e. go off into various degrees of loopiness).
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Doone
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
It strikes me that a lot of the egg can either get "hard-boiled" (i.e. routinized/institutionalised) or "scrambled" (i.e. go off into various degrees of loopiness).

yes! [Killing me]
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Martin60
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It IS interesting that no one picked up on Paul's unknown and angelic tongues for two thousand years. Common sense prevailed for that long!

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Love wins

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
It IS interesting that no one picked up on Paul's unknown and angelic tongues for two thousand years. Common sense prevailed for that long!

I'm pretty sure the Quakers were practising Glossolalia in the 17 century. I'd be very surprised if there wasn't evidence of it going back a long way.

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arse

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chris stiles
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# 12641

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
It IS interesting that no one picked up on Paul's unknown and angelic tongues for two thousand years. Common sense prevailed for that long!

I'm pretty sure the Quakers were practising Glossolalia in the 17 century. I'd be very surprised if there wasn't evidence of it going back a long way.
I think what Martin is alluding to is the interpretation that has tongues be 'an angelic language' rather than an unknown language (but one which humans somewhere had once spoken).
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Gamaliel
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# 812

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The evidence is a lot more scanty than fervent charismatics make out, mr cheesy.

There were certainly instances of glossolalia among the persecuted Huguenots of the Cevannes during the French Wars of Religion ... but equally, all sorts of other forms of 'enthusiastic' behaviour such as rushing into battle believing themselves to be impervious to musket fire ... rather like the Sioux 'Ghost Dancer's of 1890 and the Chinese Boxers of the Boxer Rebellion who believed that they could conjure charms to ward off bullets ...

There may have been some instances of glossolalia among Quakers and other 'out there' sects during the Commonwealth period but it's surprising how quickly the Quakers settled down into a kind of decorous Quietism.

There were also some instances during the Methodist revivals of the 18th and 19th centuries - but again, sporadically and on a small scale.

Indeed, in the case of the best documented of all the pre-Pentecostal instances, the Irvingites of the 1830s, the 'tongues' and prophecies are decidedly unconvincing to say the least ... even those in favour of the manifestations found it hard to justify some of them.

There have been instances beyond the Protestant world too - often tied in with expectations of the imminent end of the world - such as in Russia reeling from the disastrous aftermath of the Crimean War. Some whacko-jacko indigeneous sects that split off from Orthodoxy - the 'Khlysty' and so on - indulged in all sorts of wierd and wonderful behaviour - including speaking in tongues. But they also used to get their kit off and indulge in mass orgies under the 'influence of the Spirit' as they saw it.

One of the difficulties for people researching this sort of thing is that it isn't always obvious what is being referred to. In the 18th and 19th centuries, for instance, it was quite common to refer to unusual levels of rhetoric or eloquence as 'speaking in tongues' without any reference to glossolalia - so unwary researchers can sometimes find instances that aren't actually there.

Trust me, I've done a lot of spade-work on this during my full-on charismatic days. There were certainly some instances of glossolalia around in the 17th century - and perhaps even earlier - but not a great deal ... and certainly nobody made a great deal about it until the Irvingites of the 19th century and the Pentecostals in the early 20th century.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Gamaliel
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# 812

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I like my eggs hard-boiled or just a bit runny.

Any runnier and you can easily get egg on your face.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

Trust me, I've done a lot of spade-work on this during my full-on charismatic days. There were certainly some instances of glossolalia around in the 17th century - and perhaps even earlier - but not a great deal ... and certainly nobody made a great deal about it until the Irvingites of the 19th century and the Pentecostals in the early 20th century.

Well, whilst agreeing with most of what you say, my reading is that this was a form of "folk religion" practice which has a long pedigree. The fact that records are hard to come by or confirm just shows what the attitude of established (in both senses) religious authorities had to this kind of thing.

But I'm not really willing to get into a detailed historical argument with you; if you think the phenomena of "speaking in tongues" was invented last week, that's fine. I just don't think that this view has much to support it.

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arse

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Martin60
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# 368

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As usual: both.

Anyway, universal social justice with peace anyone?

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Love wins

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