Saturday, February 26, 2011

"Testimony" as "The Poetry of Pentecostal Experience"

Linda, Holly, & I in a 3-seated chair in Sioux Falls.
Does it belong in "The Shack?"
I am reading philosopher James K. A. Smith's Thinking in Tongues: Pentecostal Contributions to Christian Philosophy. This is going to be, I think, an incredible read! And note this: Smith, a pentecostal himself, teaches at Calvin College. A sign of the Second Coming?

He is a brilliant and beautiful writer. Here he talks about his "experience of pentecostal worship and spirituality wherein testimony played a central role in the shape of gathered worship and in the narration of one's identity in Christ." Such testimonies form "the poetry of Pentecostal experience."

"Testimony is central to pentecostal spirituality because it captures the dynamic sense that God is active and present in our world and in our personal experience while also emphasizing the narrativity of pentecostal spirituality. This is also bound up with what Hollenweger has called the "orality" of pentecostal spirituality. As he acerbically comments, "the Pentecostal poor are oral, nonconceptual peoples who are often masters of story. Their religion resembles more of the early disciples than religion taught in our schools and universities." And there is something irreducible about this mode of testimony - it cannot be simply reduced to a mere pool for extracting philosophical propositions, nor can it be simply translated into theological dogmas."

Very, very nice. Add a little N.T. Wright to this and good things will happen.

And, BTW, we have testimonies nearly every week at Redeemer. For the most part they are more listened to and better than my preaching.