Going Back Home

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. 


5 thoughts on “Going Back Home

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  1. I also see great satisfaction in the faith of my youth. For me though, it seems to be that faith was easier then. Now, faith requires much more work. I am constantly reevaluating my purpose and direction, but I always know that the real answers are going to come from the redeeming work of Christ.

  2. I’m right there with you…holding the hands of William Seymour and Cornel West. Pentecostals have so much to say about justice! Keep preaching that gospel, and maybe we can all learn to speak in tongues…as you know, on the day of Pentecost the miracle was in the hearing: they all heard the message of Jesus in their own language. Talk about equality and social justice! The Good News accessible to everyone, no matter their language, culture, or status.

    By the way, I miss you man…you need to come around more!


  3. I’ve been having the same back and forth in my head for about a year now. I love the questioning spirit of the emergent church. But I love the comraderie and openness of the Black church.

    After living in Houston for a few years and being around so many Black Catholics (which I’d never even heard of before I moved down there), I started embracing the tenets of the Church.

    Advent. Lent. Praying “the hours”. The power of the Our Father. There’s something about praying the same prayers that folks are praying all around the world. About praying the prayer that Jesus himself told us to pray.

    I will admit that I’ve got issues with the church (mostly it’s emphasis on stuff instead of living simply and being good neighbors in this world of ours), but I love the Lord.

    I’d love to belong to a multiracial emergent church!

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