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Post-charismatic or Peregrinating?

Sven has shared an in-depth and thoughtful post on moving on from a charismatic church setting. I know what he means when he says:

I was thinking Where was God in all this? Why do I feel so alienated from the enthusiasm and passion exhibited in those around me?

Many aspects of charismatic church experience can leave me feeling the same, the more so the bigger and flashier they are. To be honest (dance as if nobody is watching, write as if nobody is reading…), I could do without any more prophecies for the nation until I’ve seen more healing, wholeness and abundance of life at a distinctly more local level.

I think some of it is just who I am. Based on past experience, I’m sure I’d feel the same in a strictly evangelical church, where everything has to be backed up with a quote from scripture, or a traditionally liturgical church, where people seem to be following rituals without understanding. It’s not even that difficult from how I feel when I’m at a gig in some loud and noisy club and everybody else looks like they’re really enjoying themselves.

Fortunately, I’m fairly much at peace with the feeling of being outside. Alien and sojourner? That’s me. I think that’s why I loved the pilgrimage experience I undertook earlier this year and why arriving at the destination seemed an anticlimax. I know where I’m going, I know who has called me and who walks with me, guiding my steps (“The Lord is my shepherd” – Psalm 23). However, I’m not minded to stop and build and say this is where I belong just yet.

That’s what aspects of the charismatic experience, the evangelical experience and the noisy gig experience all seem to have in common. They are full of people saying, with varying degrees of conviction, here is where I belong. But, at my back, I always hear the phrase that pulls me forward and stops me tarrying:

Here we have no lasting city but we are seeking the city that is to come. (Hebrews 13:14)

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