a charge for the sons & daughters of the Charismatic movement

I am burdened for the sons and daughters of the Charismatic movement in North America, many of whom are attempting to navigate an impossibly difficult in-between space, in this complex season. 

After preaching a few days ago, I felt led to pray over a particular friend of mine in ministry. But that particular prayer surfaced a number of things I've been feeling/discerning more broadly, for others who find themselves in similar spaces. It has been a strong, clear, consistent enough image as to feel worth sharing with some of you--to submit to your own process of prayer and discernment. 

I come from a slightly different side of the railroad tracks of the "Spirit-filled" movement than those who are in the new Charismatic stream, but we share much in common. There are so many good gifts in the contemporary Charismatic Movement. In particular, the emphasis on prayer & intimacy with God in the former generation of Charismatics has yielded revelatory clarity on the goodness of God in general, and revelation of the Father heart of God, in particular. God longs to be known by his sons & daughters, and delights in making his heart known to us--this is very much a move of the Spirit!

Yet as it was even in the early Christians communities in which the apostles themselves preached, the light of God shines to the world through cracked & broken vessels. The gifts of God are gifts of grace & thus, testify only to the goodness of the giver & do not "prove," authenticate or validate the recipient. These fathers & mothers have made room for the creativity of their sons & daughters in so many ways, and have taught them how to listen to the Spirit. Yet this particular generation of fathers and mothers, in the name of Christian "influence" has been especially blind to certain principalities and powers--actually, we might say a principality OF power. In the kingdom, the means are always the message, and this generation has failed to see the ways in which an uncritical pursuit of power has compromised the content of their message. Thus well-intentioned fathers & mothers yielded too much to right wing political ideologies, because the power-brokers offered platforms for their messages in exchange for their voices (and sometimes for their silence).

This compromise does not compromise their place in God's kingdom. It is not for us, like the sons of Noah, to expose them to shame or embarrassment. But in some ways, these leaders exposed themselves, & in doing so disenfranchised a generation of their spiritual heirs. Yet because no man or movement can trademark the kingdom of God, the work of the Spirit is not thwarted, and still the hearts of many fathers/sons mothers/daughters will yet be turned to one another! In the meantime, some degree of schism is sadly inevitable. The catalyst for this is not sons and daughters rejecting the witness of their elders, but elders rejecting the prophetic witness of their sons and daughters. 

The house some of you built for your sons & daughters is too small for the God you introduced them to. So some of them will go--not out of rebellion or dishonor, but out of reverence for the Spirit you taught them to follow. God will take them to places you could not have gone, to the far ends of God's goodness. They will carry the revelation you passed on to them into the places you could not. They will honor the good work God did in your past, even if doing so means offending you in the present. They will disappoint their elders for the same reason you disappointed yours when you obeyed the voice that called you--because the Spirit compels them.

The task for these sons & daughters is to not lose heart, be bold, prayerful...& most of all, deeply humble. The principality of power is as intoxicating in its progressive form, as it is in it's conservative one. The revolution must be as tender as the God who calls it forth. The revolutionaries do not sever, shame nor mock their fathers & mothers, even when they themselves are rejected. You are given strength to endure their rejection, precisely because the love of God shed abroad in their hearts has already been mediated from them to you by the Spirit! Thus you can be secure enough to love them in their insecurities, even the insecurities that cause them to reject you. Ironically, you will demonstrate the strong, emotionally mature, secure love of God the Father, to these spiritual fathers and mothers. You can and will do this, because God will father/Spirit will mother you in all the places you are cracked and bruised. 

Go in the might of the Spirit to carry the weight of God's love further, into all the broad places.  Show us how to bridge the distance between grace and power, between signs and wonders and justice for the oppressed. We have attempted to tear apart that which God has joined together. But all of this and more is joined together in you, beloved, standing whole in Christ's love.

The kingdom of God is within you. As you allow yourself to be broken open on his behalf, may his kingdom come and his will be done in us, too.