ver.: 12 February 2008
People ask me things to which I've got to reply by defining me or the web site.
Spirithome > About the Site > Disclaimers
>> You've heard about the Amazing Randi, haven't you? He debunks all sorts of mystical flim-flammers. How are you any different from those he undoes? <<
James Randi does a wonderful job, even if he uses some show-biz razzle dazzle to do it (how else could he get your attention?). He will never run out of work, because there are always those who pretend that 'forces from beyond' are being called in to make them look powerful or to make them wealthy. The world of faith healing is by its very nature a world of quackery -- people with real faith in Christ don't want to make a spectacle of themselves. Anyone who easily believes what they see or read about the supernatural should see Randi's presentations or read his works.
How am I different from those he debunks? I don't heal. I don't give prophecy. I don't have any 'secret word' to share with anyone. I don't do astral travel, read minds or palms, speak to the dead, make things vanish, or levitate. The things I write make those who claim to do such things quite nervous. I don't travel the country preaching and speechifying. I don't have a 'ministry organization'. I involve as little money as possible in what I do. I don't put myself forward as a know-it-all or a 'man of God'. I'm just a man. But I have a gift for writing, and I have something to say, and so I write.
>> And how are you different from Randi? <<
He is not merely skeptical about anything 'supernatural', he totally rejects it. He's seen so much fraud in his line of work that if it's not scientifically verifiable, it's presumed to be fraudulent. That includes religions including Christianity, as well as faith, prayer, spirituality, and mysticism, all of which he openly rejects.
I share much of his suspicion, most notably about famous faith-healers and self-deemed prophets. I too help give people tools for sorting this stuff out. But I am firstly a believer in Christ, and in the Word which speaks of Him. There is no definable 'why' or 'how' to that. It isn't successfully measured and analyzed. And that has, for me, implications regarding the supernatural : there is such a thing, which by its nature seeks not to be measured, and it is all around us and inside us.
I've also found out about some things over the years. People
who quietly heal other people. Folks who experience ecstasies
in homes and in quiet settings with no plan and no hubbub and
few other people. People who 'just know' certain things that
help someone break through their times of trial. People who
prayed and worked good things in the lives of others. People
who have shaken off loneliness, addiction, selfishness,
hopelessness, hatred, and greed through a power far beyond
their own, in ways they never could have dreamt possible.
People who have learned what real love is, in a world where it
is rare indeed. What I've found out makes it impossible for me
to be skeptical about the supernatural itself, even if I have
to be skeptical about those who cash in on it. This isn't why I
believe, but my belief helped me to discover it.
levitate to the top of the page
>Is there any sermons that you recommend on the River or Holy Ghost
>meetings and Revival.
No. I don't point to 'sermons' -- I know of far too many people who have simply preached the sermon they read, more or less as is with perhaps a touch of local flavor or topical stuff added in. (In point of fact, it was the usual result of my linking to sermons.)
Good preaching and good teaching come from you sharing from your heart and head and your life and the life of those you see around you, as you and they struggle with the matter that's covered in the day's Scripture reading. This is what preaching is for -- to bring us to where the Word and its Good News hits our lives. There are things that I can't do online that have to be done face-to-face, that must be drawn from the immediate circumstance. Preaching is one of those things. I see it as something done with and for and from among people, not at them or over them.
I also don't believe in preaching about outbreaks of the Spirit, or what an outbreak would entail. That puts it in a pre-made box, when the Spirit may be trying to do something else with your congregation.
Pray, read the Word, pay attention to what's happening around you, and trust that God will lead you. (Not that you not be prepared, but that preparation is not something to obsess over.) God will do wonderful things. Oh, and maybe you might find something to inspire you by reading the pages of the Spirithome site :-)
> I am seeking a person who has the gift given power of
Sorry. I do know of a few I could refer you to, though probably not in your area. But I make it a rule not to make references for many reasons.
> Do you have that gift? <
No. Nor do I want it. It would probably turn me into an adulation-seeking creep. I struggle with that enough as it is.
> and financial healing touches <
I won't even begin to touch that one.........
>> You seem to be putting your drafts on
line. The quality
>> difference is huge! Your 'first versions' (according to the
>> version date you so studiously put at top) are often unclear,
>> slightly works-righteousness oriented, and have those big words
>> that throw me for a loop. There was even a phrase which has racist
>> As you go on, your writings get much simpler, clearer, and better,
>> in fact excellent. Why not work them out longer off-line? That
>> would be better for your users, I would think. <<
Maybe. But I have no editor. An editor would look at it, and say, 'Do you really mean that?' Or, "Shrink that down", or "this is garbled". I've tried to find myself an editor, or even a 'friendly eye' so that another person got to look at it, but it hasn't happened. In the meantime, the old saw about lawyers also applies to editors :
He who is his own editor
has a fool for a writer.
I'm a pretty good self-editor - for a fool. I end up depending on those who see the stuff on line, feeding back to me. I find out a bit late of course, after 100 or so unfortunate souls read it. I wish it were otherwise, but it is a real problem, and I am aware of it. I hope people use the most recent versions. I never post a 'first draft'; usually it's been in the drafting process for about a month or two before it shows up on line. The one on 'births and beginnings' has been there for six years, and I keep hoping to post it, but it's still not ready.
I am also aware of my limitations as 'theologian' and as writer. I was raised on a somewhat Catholic Long Island, and sometimes that cultural influence shows itself in too much of a focus on the value of deeds and doing and self-effort. I have no formal theological education, which at times shows in things not formally pinned down, but at other times is a big-time blessing. Also, I was raised with little consciousness about racist language, so I am rather naïve about the origins of certain colloquial words/phrases. (For instance, it wasn't until I got well into high school that I had any idea at all that 'coon' could mean anything other than a common forest animal that frequented my backyard. Any other meaning simply did not occur to me. Nor would it have occurred to me to put down any group of people - that's not how I was raised to think.)
The site is about speaking to just-plain-folks, so I have to use colloquial speech instead of theological shop-talk.
<<I notice that on Spirithome.com you avoid using the personal pronoun for God. Why?>>
I avoid using a personal pronoun for the First and Third Persons of the Trinity (I am trinitarian) where I can without sounding hopelessly wooden. It's not a matter of fairness to women. It is a matter of accuracy. The First Person is, according to Scripture, a spirit. The Third Person is, according to Scripture, also a spirit. They have no need for gender, and far transcend gender, thus I try to avoid describing them with gender. (They have characteristics that we humans think of as gender-related because of cultural conditioning and the need to relate somehow to God.) On rare occasions I use the term 'Father' for the First Person, because Jesus used it in direct address and taught his disciples to pray using it. Because I follow Jesus, that fact gives 'Father' overwhelming priority over any other terms. Other terms and titles are certainly useful and useable. Without any hesitation or hedging, I use the male personal pronoun 'He' or 'he' for the Second Person, Jesus Christ. Gender is an important part of the body-ness that makes Jesus one of us humans. I do not undo the gender of quotes; to me, that would change it from a quote to a third-hand report of what someone said. I insist : let them speak with their own voice, without our retouching; let us have to think it out to understand it. How dare we do otherwise!
The Holy Spirit in Scripture is definitely a person with a non-sexual identity, but according to Scripture that person sometimes acts like a 'she' that births things (such as the created world, and wisdom), in Scripture like a 'he' that impregnates (Luke 1:35, which is read around Christmas and the Feast of the Annunciation) and has great power or force or authority, and in Scripture even like an 'it', a moving wind or breath or flame or water. (Of course, while that means the Spirit can be described in 'it' terms, you don't address the Spirit as an 'it'. It's like with clerical work. A clerk works through procedures, mechanisms, and in ways you don't usually see until the result comes out. The process is an 'it' and its workings are the workings of an 'it', but you wouldn't call out to the clerk and say, 'Yo! Thing!', because the clerk is a person. Likewise the Spirit often works through the 'its' of material things and processes, which can usefully be talked about as 'it', but the Spirit isn't an 'it', but is instead the person behind the 'it'.) The whole category of 'gender' makes no sense from the Spirit's side of things. To avoid a ton of nasty letters and closed minds, I try hard to be gender-neutral about the Spirit. To do otherwise would defeat the site's purpose.
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