Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Balancing Ideals

A friend made a post today about the idea of balance. You can read it here.

I left the following comment:
good stuff here.

it made me think about something that i read - so here it is, just additional food for thought.

when the gifts of the holy spirit began manifesting within the vineyard movement, john wimber and the vineyard were accused of "overemphasizing" the gifts. this is what wimber had to say specifically when prophecy was being activated in their community.

Any new move of the Spirit usually brings with it significant problems. The prophetic ministry is no different. When God introduces something new, the church usually responds by overemphasizing it. That's human nature. But this is only a temporary imbalance, an intense learning stage in which the Holy Spirit instructs us.

When the Anaheim Vineyard started back in 1978 we'd gather and worship for oneandahalf hours, and then disperse. Almost nothing else happened: little prayer or Bible teaching, few testimonies, shallow fellowship.

Early on being "baptized in the Spirit"-accompanied by speaking in tongues-became a major focus. In fact, speaking in tongues was the high spiritual watermark in the minds of many people. Later we added praying for the sick to worship, and that became all we did. Our focus at every meeting was on healing-to the exclusion of other significant practices of the Christian life. We'd open our meetings with a few minutes of worship, then jump into praying for the sick.

In time we outgrew our myopic practice. Today we still pray regularly for the sick, but it is only one aspect of a corporate life that includes worship, prayer, teaching and preaching from the Bible, and so on.

Prophecy is now assuming center stage in the Vineyard, and-as we have done in the past with other moves of God-it is almost all that is talked about. I'm sure that it will remain a commanding topic for a year or two, and then it will take its appropriate place in the church.

you see this played out even in your life - early on, the charismatic experience was something that was deeply emphasized in your walk, arguably even over-emphasized. then God began to show you His heart in a different area...and for awhile, you went into that particular "deep end." so its cool now to see you move back into the center of your experiences, and bring all the things you've been experienced into an integrated whole instead of fragmented parts.
this issue of balance is something i've been grappling for the past year. the college experience is one that i treasure - and no doubt quite formative in my life. but a downside of the euphoria and joys of the college environment is that sometimes it is insulated from the pressures of the "real world."

i've mentioned this several times before, so i won't beat the dead horse. but the point being - the first year out of college was like "road testing" all the cool ideals that i espoused in college. the funny thing about road testing ideals is that you begin to see that they're not all that they're cracked up to be...and often times, those ideals need a bit of revising.

in many ways, my college experience was one where my pursuit of the gifts of the holy spirit really took off. i was free to pursue what i was interested in and admittedly -- i formed many "ideals" of what it meant to be "filled with the Holy Spirit," or "speaking in tongues," and etc. God was introducing something new in my life...and i did my human part by overemphasizing it. :)

my senior year, after i had been burned out by charismania -- i began swinging back to my roots. my involvement at intervarsity had a lot in shaping that, and i began to discover "jesus, justice, and poverty." what did you mean that jesus talked about money than any subject other than the kingdom of God? what do you mean the sodom and gomorrah were destroyed by their gluttony? wait, you mean most of the prophets are talking about justice for the poor? and once again, God was introducing something new in my life...and i did my human part by overemphasizing it.

i used to fear being out of balance - but i'm seeing in my own experience that being out of balance for the short term is okay. it takes extremes sometimes to forge a reality in your life. mountain experiences are not "every day life," but they are a crucial element in shaping our values, beliefs, and decisions.

the revising of my ideals isn't done. i am far from "getting it." i am much less sure about things than i was several years ago, even if i do feel like i have a little bit more wisdom.

at the end of the day?

i'm getting deeper into Jesus' heart, and thinking after His thoughts more and more every day. and i think that's good ideal to run after.


  1. ah. somebody's been reading "quest for the radical middle". and if you haven't been, you should :).

  2. haha. read it and loved it.

  3. ah. somebody's been reading "quest for the radical middle". and if you haven't been, you should :).