Friday, October 30, 2009

Seasoned Believers Discerning the Times

Revival Camp Meeting Time

I believe we are in a new zeitgeist but the politicians, religious leaders and corporate leaders are missing most of it. Mr. Obama and his brain trust seemed to have caught the wave and rode it to victory in last year's election but they have currently regressed back to an earlier time. It will crush them if they don't wise up.

Many religious leaders seem to also miss what is happening as well. They talk about personal relationships, small groups, seeker friendly churches and meeting with people in Starbucks and on Face book. But in reality, when they set up a church they tend to fall back on what my professors used to call, "Theory X Leadership" when the world is rushing headlong into "Theory Y Partnerships".

Theory X is leadership from ignorance, hierarchy and distance. It is fond of bureaucracy, top down decisions, one way communication, secrecy, big meetings, mass communication, impersonal mass emails and talking heads with no feedback.

Theory Y Partnerships assume that we are equals in person hood, different in gifts and talents and that everyone has a place at the decision and action table. It is non hierarchical and open in communication while yearning for information and feedback as well as feed forward information.


We are in the Fourth Great Awakening with an overarching emphasis upon personal involvement in all affairs, mistrust of authority, hatred of fakes and a deep desire for spiritual involvement.

Great Awakenings begin with an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that brings masses of people to faith in Christ. The next stage is marked by enormous enthusiasm for God, the Bible, worship and fellowship. Then people decide that they need to grow and learn how to follow Christ as His Disciples so study under a person, a church or institution is crucial. The next stage is that of involvement as a Disciple who serves God, usually in a religious setting.

After this stage the masses move from external religious emphasis to developing a deeper experience of the Spirit within. This leads them to seek ways to serve Go outside the church and religious realm so they turn to influencing family, society, community, politics and financial system.

In the late 1700's widespread revivals spread from town to town and village to village in the Colonies. This radically changed the face of the church situation from one dominated by Anglicans and Congregationalists, who were financially supported by taxes ala Great Britain, with a few Presbyterians thrown in to the rapid growth of two new groups. Baptists and Methodists.

The Baptists and Methodists wanted nothing to do with state support nor with seminary training. They relied on enthusiasm, individualism and God's personal leading to propel ministers on horseback and in house churches to preach, teach, baptize and support. After a few years these people dominated the life of the Colonies. They were generally anti-hierarchical, anti-organizational and defiantly independent.

In a few years these red blooded Colonialists started to preach that God had created all men equal and there was no such thing as "The Divine Rights of Kings". Until now such thoughts were foreign and unknown. Now they were openly preached, studied and believed by all but a few traditionalist Anglican Clergy and British Nobles.

Awakenings always focus on two issues: Political and Economic Freedom of choice. That was soon interpreted as "No taxation without representation" and "We have no God named King George". The Revolutionary War was a result of the First Great Revival that turned into the First Great Awakening.

Stay tuned for the second Great Awakening as well as the Third and today's Fourth Awakening.

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