Charismatic Christianity is trendy, from what I can tell. That’s where Christians experiment with miraculous healing, prophesy, speaking in tongues, discerning whether Jesus or Satan is at work in a given supernatural occurrence, and other “spiritual gifts”. The bible enumerates those gifts. Look it up if you’re intrigued.
The word charismatic has nothing to do with charm or cocktail party prowess, although practicing its principles can certainly capture an audience’s attention, which is indeed one purpose or effect of charismatic Christianity. The root phrase is charis mata, Greek for “gifts of Grace” or “manifestations of Grace”. (I think I have that right; correct me if I’m wrong about any of this.) Rather than try to explain Christianity through logic or indoctrination, charismatic Christianity seeks to bring people to Christ by demonstrating his powers “in the flesh”, so to speak. It’s direct.
I think charismatic Christianity is ballsy. It takes balls to put hands on a person and openly try to heal him in the name of Jesus Christ. Either it works and everyone’s jaw drops, or it doesn’t and you make an embarrassment of you and your faith. Most folks practicing charismatic Christianity are wise to not make any grand overtures, but to practice quietly and humbly. This saves face.
I think charismatic Christianity is trendy right now because of the incredibly fast decline in church attendance that’s been going on in the United States over the past few decades. There doesn’t appear to be any sign of a turnaround. The church needs warm bodies, new blood, a fresh round of sustenance. Time to pull out the big guns:
Magic tricks Flashy spectacles Miracles are in order.
You might think by my tone that I am belittling the movement. On the contrary. I think it’s rad. Why? For one reason, I honestly do think the tradition is ballsy. It forces adherents to put their money where their mouths are. Anyone can recite bible passages and announce their beliefs. It takes a whole other level of commitment to go around expecting miracles.
Charismatic Christianity is an effective rhetorical tool. Everyone knows Christ supposedly went around healing people. But not everyone knows why he did it. Sure, half the reason he did it was to be kind. But the other reason was to prove he had heavenly authority on Earth. That’s right, part of the reason he healed a paralyzed dude was just to make a point.
The final main reason I like the movement is because that’s how I came to know God. A dude healed my knees, and moments later I had a spiritual awakening.
I shouldn’t believe in any of this. That’s not who I
am was. But the fact is I’m now under the spell of this thing called Christ, and it’s not hurting anyone.
So I roll with it.