When I go to church, I want to hear from God. I went to
church last night, I think. It was my first time to an “Anglican” church. I
went to hear a new African Bishop who was visiting the US. He was not
wearing his miter and ecclesiastical robe (but he did have on his purple
shirt and white cleric’s collar). He was African, Anglican, and Charismatic.
He spoke of casting out demons and hearing the audible voice of God. Now, I
am neither a judge nor a lawyer, but for me at least, the jury is “still
out” on this one. I have never heard God outside the phone booth of the
The Bishop was born into this world the same year as I was (along with
Presidents Clinton, and Bush, Donald Trump, and Ozzy Osbourne, - (who says
God does not have a sense of humor?). The Bishop also spoke of being
“Born-Again” two years after I was. I spoke to him after the meeting and
shook his hand, mostly because I wanted to hold the hand that might have
“cast out demons.” Except for being black and softer, it was no different
than mine. I don’t know about casting out demons, but I know there seems to
be no shortage of evil spirits these days. Churches are not exempt.
Darfur, Ethiopia, Sudan, and a host of other horrible places are filled with
demonic-like chaos according to the latest news reports. There are swollen
bellies and religious bullies, and broken dreams in Africa and around the
world. If I indeed shook the hand of an exorcist, I wish him well. He shall
have his hands full enough dealing with human nature, let alone the hounds
of hell. I also got to hear (during a question and answer session) about
Anglican Church politics and denominational (ever notice the beginning of
that word?)- turmoil. It seems the Anglican and Episcopal Church is having
an identity crisis.
I attended this meeting because my own spiritual Richter Scale has been on
the blink for a while. Oh, I have heard mission reports (but that is mostly
about what man is doing). I was wondering about what God was doing. I have
spoken to missionaries who have returned from Africa, and Russia, and
Europe, often with tales about human nature, both in the church and in the
government. I know about human nature. Tell me about higher and greater
things. I want to know about what God is doing in Africa, and Asia, and
Australia. So I wanted to hear from an African. Where has the “pillar of
fire” or the “glory cloud” touched down lately?
America no longer seems to be on the cutting edge in technology or theology. We
are too often like the powerless disciples on the bottom of the mountain
trying to help a poor lunatic in a crazy world. Only Peter, James, and John
got to witness the Transfiguration and they were told not to talk about it.
I wish someone would talk about it. No, don’t talk about the trouble in the
“movement,” but rather having seen the movement of God. Oh yes, I have read
our own press. Every church loves their bishops. Every growing church,
these days, has its own public relations department. Every group can work
itself into an enthusiastic frenzy about their own programs or preacher.
That is not what I mean.
I’m talking about the moving of the Spirit and the awesome power of the
Almighty. Reading about what your denomination or religious franchise is up
to is not always the same as finding out what God is up to. The days of
pith-helmeted missionaries are over. Natives are not naïve. Africans and
Indians hold PhDs and patents to our latest technology. A bushman in the
Outback is as much likely to have a cell phone and Nike sneakers these days
as the city-slicker sipping a double latte in Seattle. Laptop computers, and
satellites have “shrink-wrapped” the globe and made it smaller. We are able
to instantly “text message,” and according to the number of cell phones
stuck to people's ears, everyone is talking to someone. We live in a high tech
age. When God calls, I wonder if He ever gets a busy signal?
When I go to church, I do not want to hear some man as much as I want to
hear God. We have not really been to church unless we do. At the end of the
meeting the Bishop was taking questions. The Anglican congregation had many,
as you could imagine. During the end of the Q&E the pastor’s cell phone
rang. Every head turned to the somewhat embarrassed Rector. God calling? No,
it turns out it was just another guy. -id