Monday, June 22, 2009

Another Boom And Bust Theory

I don't know if I was thinking about economics, religion, or thinking about fads, but I suddenly thought about how similar people's perceptions of how the Holy Spirit moves is to the boom and bust of the mainstream business cycle theory. I've written a little about this before:

This would be consistent also with what could be termed "Holy Spirt history."
I put in quotes because it's really nothing but anecdotes that we hear. The narrative is that there was this great outpouring of the Holy Spirit years ago, all sorts of miracles, etc... Well, if group identity has become inordinate, then the Holy Spirit would fade. It's not like He's going to stick around and prop up an idol.

Then again, many of these anecdotes are more like Grandpa talking about the good old days- I don't know that there is any evidence that one time period has more of an outpouring than another. Certainly, it started at Pentecost, but I would think the real variable is people, not God. People are fickle, God is not.

And now I'm sure it's not an accurate description of the Holy Spirit's action; it's that same cycle of human enthusiasm which creates fads. The western world's relentless adherence to linearity makes it rather hard to understand sacred time, or how an eternal God can relate to a time-bound man. As I have noted before, the Eastern Orthodox have the best take on this:

I think it's called totum simul- God's view of time as presented in the Philokalia. All simultaneously, which is a more accurate description of eternity, rather than the assumption of movement with no end. And they say that this grand illusion, the progression of time, is part of our present age which shall surely pass away.

If you've ever noticed, being ever-present is the least cost (and therefore most likely) way of knowing all. In human terms, we have to go find knowledge, and then somehow generate a facsimile of reality in our minds. Useful, but wasteful. God needs no facsimile, nor does He need to go anywhere, for He is present and aware of all. He's almighty, but not wasteful, which is a valuable insight.

So I suggest the outpouring is the same always. The boom and bust comes from us.

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