Recently I sat on a panel at University of North Carolina @ Charlotte organized by Muslim Students. It was a delightful and inspiring conversation between folks from different religious/faith traditions. I sat on a panel of folks representing Jewish, Bahai’, Muslim, and myself, the lone Christian. In my introduction I had to speak about my location as a Christian. I had to fess’up and say that I do not represent the Christian faith as a whole. In preparation for my introductory comments I had to come clean with where I come from as a Christian. Which prove to be a soul-searching task. Which is this: black Pentecostal/Charismatic, Evangelical, prophetic Black church, mystical, with drops of postmodern forms of post-evangelicalism on the edges.
Yes I know. Those are big words. But what does that mean? It means that I still believe in the manifestations of the Spirit, the inspiration of Scripture, the saving work of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, the immediacy of the Spirit, the consistent practice of being suspicious of the dominant culture’s interpretation of the Christian faith (forgive me…but too much blood lies in its wake).
After that conversation with Muslims and others of different faiths I realized that something has been calling me back home. Calling me back to my pentecostal/charismatic roots. Not my fundamentalist roots (I was once a die-hard fan of the Neo-Conservatism of Pat Robertson and Hard-line Reformed theology of Rousas John Rushdoony….if you never heard those names before I suggest you read up on these folks..their pens and word influence many Christians today) but an understanding that the Spirit of God is the Spirit of Justice. That God has poured out the Spirit to create a community of folks that give faithful expression of God’s creative and redemptive intention for humanity and the creation.
In short: Everyday there is a growing desire to have one foot in old time Pentecost (one thinks of Apostle Seymour to Bishop Mason, Church of God in Christ, to Prophetess Juanita Bynum) and one foot in a fledgling form of Christianity that is beginning to question how deeply tied to Western Imperialism is North American Christianity. What some are calling the emerging church movement. Anyways…I’ve been doing some reflecting on scripture and the traditions. And for some odd reason I see myself going back home to the black Pentecostal-Evangelical tradition with a few major differences shaping my beliefs and practices. More of a black Pentecostal (c)atholic faith that seeks the immediacy of the Spirit while also hoping and looking for crooked places to be made straight, high places made low, and an outpouring of Jesus-Justice on God’s green earth. I feel more and more compelled to go back home. Ultimately, what is home? It is the bossom of the Father.