Friday, August 5, 2011

EFFECT OF THE SPIRIT ..June 4,2011..note to Edward Fudge

Edward. If we could just make the leap that these twelve examples of the effects of the Spirit (in Edward's essay below)represent the  'the early Christians' story', 'their direct experience of the Sacred/Spirit' and then look to find our own experience. We miss 'our own story' if we fail to look for it  in the correct place; within ourselves  individually and our social communities. Christianity has been a 'copy what the early Christians experienced' far more than it should or need be. 'Their story' is our heritage from which to start but 'their story' is not ours anymore than Israel's story was theirs.  Their story nor any  story is the eternal story. The Spirit's  story is always a new NOW. Yes, they took the Old Testament Hebrew story and were able to say, "They experienced their way with God and we are experiencing  ours."  They actually did a total reinterpretation of the Hebrew story. That is what the gospels are about: The gospels are saying, "There is NOW something different and  greater than Moses and the Prophets, that is Jesus." (There is something dangerous, I believe, in their assessment, if not revised,  for it created a definite superior attitude that has plagued Christianity through the centuries. And today that superior stance  undermines the Christian story's authenticity  among questioning people.)

Our era can find it's story of interacting with the Spirit the same way, by being open to the present activity of Spirit.  Because the earlier Christians were in touch and expecting a  'living Christ'  a 'living Spirit' they did not restrict themselves or hold the Spirit in jeopardy to do what the Spirit had ,according to Israel's story, done before. Until present day  Christians can make that leap and quit looking over their shoulder for any kind of repetition of the the third and fourth generation's Christian story, as described in the New Testament, we quench the Spirit that we are so amazed that they experienced. We must stop 'Biblicizing' the  work of the Spirit. The activity of the Spirit is far more and even different than the New Testament. We must allow it to take on totally new, unexpected and unimaginable forms and experience...not  just ' twelve we can look for'...not that we should not learn from these as you describe them.. 

 Also it is way past due that we see much of the 'effects of the Spirit' you state here as now explainable in terms of depth psychology. That does not make them less a wonder or less authoritative in their experience but  it brings them out of  magic and superstition into the light of human consciousness. Also these 'effects' can be very misleading and harmful if not properly questioned. The more people see and interpret them as being 'just like' the Biblical versions of Spirit's work the more dangerous, the more superstitious, the more archaic, the more 'crazy' they actually can become. Until we can see that the Spirit's  amazing and sometimes truly overwhelming works are natural, not super-natural, we remain at the mercy of magic and superstition.

The Spirit's activity does not impose on us something foreign or 'other', even though such direct  experiences  may 'seem' like an 'other' taking hold of us.  And the ecstasy will not be lessened by our better understanding, or having a provisional explanation of it. The Spirit(the  direct effects of the Collective Unconscious) are a most natural part of us all, as natural as a nightly dream or a psychological vision or a 'revelation'  or ' set of circumstances' being just  so-so as to not be reducible to chance.  Even when more explainable they will  always seem to us as from a source far broader than our ego consciousness.  That is because they are. But this does not demand  the peculiar  irrational  insistence that they are less natural than the birth of  baby or a sunset.   We just now can  know some important things about the  world that  will no doubt always  seem 'other' to us simply because it is far more than our conscious ego can ever fully comprehend. What the ego can't know or imagine in our day  is attributed by  'Biblical  literalism'( which describes the larger part of modern Christians) to the 'super-natural'.

 I am only concerned and wish to fully experience that which is natural. That is plenty to make us consciously 'religious' in the most healthy and real meaning of the word. We live in a world, we have  a body, a mind, a heart, soul  that is all potentially a whole, is of one piece.  It is not  'split'  except that most all presently popular interpretations  of Christianity, and many non-religious systems, insist on it being.  Like the other 'opposites' we experience with our ego consciousness  'natural and super natural' are 'one' and that unity needs to be claimed and sought. Then we will come to know that 'Spirit and Flesh', 'Body and Soul', 'spirituality and sexuality' along with 'natural and supernatural' etc. are actually one.  And this would all be the grand  and healing  'effect of the Spirit' for postmodern Humanity. As the apostle once proclaimed, "NOW is always the day of salvaion ..(and we can add)...TODAY is always the day of the Spirit"
 Blessings, Jim

On Sun, 05 Jun 2011 03:59:00 -0400 "Edward Fudge" <> writes:

Edward Fudge

In the previous gracEmail, we noted the variety of expressions Luke uses to "name" or to describe the Pentecostal experience, by which Jesus Christ immerses or overwhelms believers in the personal powerful Presence of the Father and of the risen Jesus Christ. This experience is accompanied or followed by a wide variety of effects. Luke identifies at least twelve different results or manifestations of that experience in the Book of Acts alone. They are:
1. Audible and visible tokens of wind and fire--both primal elements of energy and power (2: 2-3).
2. Spiritual praise in language naturally unknown to the speaker (2:4-8; 10:46; 19:6). Even at Pentecost, those who speak in other tongues are “declaring the wonders of God,” not preaching the gospel as such (2:4, 11 NIV). The listeners all hear in their respective languages, but the speakers are not said to normally speak or to understand the languages in which they are speaking. After a large crowd gathers, Peter stands up and announces the resurrection, ascension and exaltation of Jesus of Nazareth as God’s messiah - presumably in a language both he and his audience understood in common. Luke does not say whether anyone understood the utterances given in tongues at Caesarea (Acts 10:46) or at Ephesus (19:6), although he does say that the Cornelius household was “exalting God” (10:46).
3. Signs and wonders (2:43)--any variety of supernatural manifestations which signify their divine origin and create wonder in those who observe.
4. The house was shaken--a tangible, observable phenomenon (4:31).
5. A vision of heaven and of the ascended Lord Jesus (7:55). This is the only time the Bible mentions Jesus standing in heaven--perhaps as a gesture of honor for Stephen who is martyred immediately following the vision.
6. An overwhelming sense of awe (2:43).
7. An extraordinary spirit of sharing and generosity (2:44; 4:32).
8. Gladness and joy (2:46; 13:52).
9. A praise-filled life (2:47).
10. Bold proclamation about Jesus as Savior and Lord (2:14ff; 4:8; 5:31; 6:8; 11:24). This is the most frequently stated effect of an outpouring, baptism or filling of the Holy Spirit.
11. Wonderful cleansing of the soul (15:9).
12. Prophesying, or supernaturally delivering a message from God (2:17-18; 19:6).
In view of this striking scriptural diversity, we must say two things. First, that when someone is baptized in the Holy Spirit, we may expect any of these manifestations, or any others which may please God who is sovereign and who gives the Spirit. Second, that we must not require any particular manifestation on any given occasion, or judge the experience to be inauthentic solely by the absence of any particular biblical effect.
Copyright 2011 by Edward Fudge. You have permission to resend, reprint or otherwise to redistribute this gracEmail in any manner not for financial profit.

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