Friday, August 11, 2017

"Christian" Shamanism

A very Charismatic interpretation of Act 3:12 led me to post this comment yesterday:

One of the things I noticed was that Charismatics would place heavy emphasis on the importance of public 'Christian' actions. So younger people, most of whom found talking to strangers a rather pulse-pounding event, would experience a high level of internal emotions while attempting to do these public actions. If we judge by the fruit, it seems difficult to attribute these actions to God.

Meanwhile the intense emotional experience the 'Christians' have by doing this behavior becomes its own goal. I would prefer it if these people were not labeling their thrill seeking as Christian and would go rock-climbing, parachuting, etc...

Additionally, we often find various people- especially young women, feeling 'called' to do this thrill seeking stuff, rather than the more mundane homemaking sort of stuff that would actually keep a community together.

If you look at this from God's point of veiw- He does not distribute passports. He did, however, want to make sure Peter was known as His- for Peter was also known as a follower of Jesus. Messiahs were, and to some extent still are, a bit of a hobby for Jews. There's always someone wandering around who could be 'the one.' And then that one dies and his followers tend to drop off after a while. But this event with Peter did not fit a very well known model- and this was why it was surprising.

But if we look at what you have just written- how is that different from some sort of shamanism? If you get the circumstances just right, then God will act? How is that different from dancing the dance just right, so then it will rain?

I would like to see more thought given to this idea of Christian Shamanism. Ron thinks shamanism is someone trying to get a god to do something he doesn't want to do, whereas, surely God wants to do these healings, but it's just that we humans somehow can't get it to work. I think if it hasn't really worked since the inception the Charismatic movement, well, at the very least start looking at other parts of the bible. Maybe this 'public' isn't the same public- it would seem to me they would be more like the former Christians we should have nothing more to do with rather than the 1st century Jews.

So, obviously, I don't think the charge of Shamanism has been properly addressed. I am just starting to dwell on the implications. Obviously, I think your intentions are not enough- i.e., just because you don't feel or didn't intend to be a shamanist, it doesn't mean you aren't. Secondly, as might be implied from my comment, an action of the Holy Spirit might be deeply different from what happened in first acts- not because of change on God's part- but change here on Earth. We are in a different age, surrounded by different people.

I tend to think God, if He's not just given up on us, wants us to have a place to live as Christians. This would put us in an uncomfortable competition with many governments. It has been, instead, preferable to play the noble loser, and lose- even turning evangelism into a blood sport, in which you waste good people and assets on questionable goals and people.

This is much different from what did work. Monasteries civilized Europe. Unfortunately, few know about them or understand their function. Suffice it to say, in order to avoid having this post become a leviathan, early in Christianity, the impulse for transcendence was harnessed to work for the living, which is something one should expect from people seeking to serve the God of the living.

It is worth contemplation. Is your practice shamanistic?

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