Pentecostalism and the Mislocation of Power
Hi friends, sorry it has been so long since my last post. Since it is near the end of the semester at the U of C, the busy Lenten season (quickly heading towards Easter) at Church, and the time when major papers are due in my current studies, I haven’t had much time for writing (on here) these past few weeks. I have, however, had some ideas that have been rumbling through my head for some time that I want to soon tackle, particularly as it relates to Pentecostalism and what I believe is our frequent misunderstanding of the meaning of our experiences of the Holy Spirit.
In my next series of posts I’ll be tackling the following topic: Pentecostalism and the Mislocation of Power. I’ll write about things like speaking in ”tongues,” being “slain in the Spirit,“ the idea of “generational curses,” and even “prayer clothes.” My forthcoming posts aren’t intended to be a critique of the Pentecostal experience per se. I deeply believe that many of the things we’ve experienced, and continue to experience, are of God. These experiences have shaped my life. Rather, the posts are intended to be a re-imagining (and at times a critique) of our understanding of these experiences, particularly as it relates to where we understood the power to be at work, as well as what that power was/is seeking to accomplish. In other words, I’m not exploring if the experience was real, rather, I – like a good Pentecostal – am looking back and asking the same thing they asked in Acts 2:12 – “what does this mean?”
Before hopping into Pentecostalism, however, I will first offer a different (to some) reading of the Tower of Babel narrative in Genesis 11. The reason I want to start here is because many have noted a link between Babel and Pentecost. Oftentimes, people have referred to Pentecost (Acts 2) as a “reversal of Babel.” I’ve said that exact thing many times myself. In recent years, however, I’ve come to change my mind about this. I no longer think Pentecost is a reversal of Babel. I now believe that Genesis 11 and Acts 2 display a great continuity of thought that taken together are very helpful as we think about the work of the Spirit in our post-colonial age. If you’re at all interested in these things, stay tuned. I’ll begin this series in the next few weeks.
I realize that many of you may not know that I have a podcast where I process some of my thoughts and interview some really incredible thinkers about their work and thoughts on current events. My podcast is called Theomagination and is available everywhere you listen (including right here on Substack – check past episodes).
That’s it for now. Have a fantastic weekend.
Grace + Peace,