Sky Links, 7-14-18

(This post was updated on 7-15-18)

Encouragement to all those who have left the church building: I love their perspective.

John & Amy Meyer.


I am intensely interested in revival.  How does it start?  What was it like?  This is history.
Interviews with some of the last, living participants, a documentary movie, and two articles

Mattie Cummings and Lawrence Catley: Azusa Street Revival Witnesses

Part 2: Fred Griesinger, One of The Last Azusa Witnesses

God's Glorious Outpouring: The Azusa Street Revival

Here is the Azusa Street Story, in a Succinct Article, by a Historian.  I took Dr. Robeck's class on Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, when I was at Fuller.  He has also written a book on Azusa, The Azusa Street Mission and Revival: The Birth of the Global Pentecostal Movement.

When I put together the thousands of details that emerged from these sources, I found a story that is rich and full. Unlike the judgment of arrant tomfoolery or religious mania that our unidentified writer claimed was the essence of the revival, Azusa Street is a fountain that produced a global movement that has changed the face of Christianity forever. Unlike the conviction of a Los Angeles preacher, who at the time viewed the Azusa Street Mission as nothing more than a place where “they rant and jump and dance and roll in a disgusting amalgamation of African voodoo superstition and Caucasian insanity, and will pass away like the nightmares of hysteria that they are,” I have come to appreciate the variety of ways that people responded when they encountered God at a deep personal level.

Azusa Street:100 Years Later, Cecil M. Robeck, Jr.

Pentecostalism Today: Roger Olson grew up in Pentecostalism, and taught at ORU for years.
Today much has changed among some Pentecostals—especially within classical denominations such as the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) and the Assemblies of God. The denomination I grew up in changed its Statement of Faith a few years ago so that it no longer says speaking in tongues is necessary for being Spirit filled. There are many wonderful Pentecostal scholars of biblical studies and theology embedded within Pentecostalism, not being “shown the door,” so to speak, but the changes came too late for me. I love being an evangelical, moderate (not fundamentalist) Baptist. The one thing I miss from my Pentecostal (we called ourselves “Full Gospel”—others called us “Pentecostal”) upbringing is the energy, the enthusiasm, the passion especially in the singing. In my experience, Baptists just don’t know how to do that (with the possible exception of African-American Baptists). I also miss hearing my beloved fellow Christians (now mostly Baptists in my context) say things like “You know, I was praying the other day and God spoke to me and told me….” I haven’t heard that since I left Pentecostalism. I believe God still speaks to individuals today—not with new doctrines or anything that contradicts Scripture but with clear words of encouragement, conviction, guidance and comfort. I find that the Baptists I associate with believe that but rarely, if ever, talk about it. I don’t know why. There is among us a deep, deep fear of “fanaticism” that drives us away from any sort of religious “enthusiasm.” I regret that.

What is Pentecostalism?  What Do Pentecostals Believe?  Roger Olson

The next question, at least for me, is, "what happened?".  I have asked that question, since I first started learning about Azusa.  And there are various answers and opinions.  The preceding revival in Wales was also very powerful and then ended.  Conclusions have been drawn on that, based on the history.

The answers to "what happened?" are sad, but familiar, if you have read the Bible.  Despite the battles lost, the mistakes, missteps, and the in-fighting, party spirit, and splits; the fire spread to the whole world.

The Pentecostal movement is the fastest growing segment of the church, worldwide.

Today, the legacy continues and pentecost is active in places all over the world.  At the same time, pentecostalism and its denominations have institutionalized and been corrupted, but are also being actively reformed.

Twenty-Five Ways to be a Servant Leader (written by a man, for men):
  1. Includes his wife in envisioning the future. Being the leader in your home does not mean you are the only one with input or the only one who cares about the family. Involving your wife about where your family is going is huge. What do you both want? What do you both need? What excites you? How will you spend your time and money as a family?
  2. Accepts spiritual responsibility for his family. He takes the lead on getting his family to church, praying with his wife, praying with his kids, praying at meals, reading the scriptures as a family. He is the type of man that if his wife has a question about the Bible, she comes to him.
  3. Says, “I’m sorry” and “Forgive me” to his family. A husband is able to admit when he is wrong and take responsibility instead of passing blame or finding excuses.
  4. Discusses household responsibilities with his wife and makes sure these are fairly distributed.
  5. Seeks the consultation of his wife on all major financial decisions. A husband values his wife’s input. He does not rule by decree. He makes decisions that are the best for his marriage and his family. He does not make decisions that are best for him personally.
  6. Follows through with commitments he has made to his wife. When you say you will be home, be home. A man is only as good as his word.
  7. Anticipates the different stages his marriage will pass through. He reads books, talks to mentors and other couples who are farther down the path to find out what to be prepared for and is prepared for them as best he can.
  8. Anticipates the stages his children will pass through. Read books on parenting, talk to other parents, learn about your kids.
  9. Tells his wife what he likes about her. Most of the time you talk to your wife about her, you are telling her what she does wrong or what you don’t like. What if you started telling her about what you like about her.
  10. Provides financially for his family’s basic living expenses. Men have jobs. They don’t stay up all night surfing for porn and playing video games. They work and become the best employee they can to take care of their families. They create a budget and make sure their family lives within their means.
  11. Deals with distractions so that he can talk with his wife and family. He turns off the TV and computer and pay attention to his family.
  12. Prays with his wife.
  13. Initiates meaningful family traditions. What will your kids remember about growing up in your home? What will they talk about when they think of Christmas? You are creating their answers as a father.
  14. Initiates fun outings for the family.
  15. Takes the time to give his children practical instruction about life, which in turn gives them confidence with their peers. Do not let your children learn how to play sports and learn about sex or money from others. Do not let them learn about God from others. They should learn it from their dad, through conversations and his living example.
  16. Goes through the upcoming week with his wife to clarify their schedules. Every Sunday, Katie and I sync up for the week and make sure we are on the same page for the week. We talk about the pace of the week to prepare for it as well as to look for ways to slow down.
  17. Keeps his family out of debt. Do you live on a budget? Within your means? Are you leading your family to give back to God?
  18. Makes sure he and his wife have drawn up a will and arranged a well-conceived plan for their children in case of death.
  19. Lets his children into the interior of his life. His kids know him, they know his dreams, feeling and memories with them. He is not cut off from his family.
  20. Praises his wife in public. OFTEN.
  21. Explains sex to each child in a way that gives him or her a wholesome experience.
  22. Encourages his wife to grow as an individual. He helps her develop dreams, her gifts, abilities. He encourages her to develop those gifts and talents for right now and for the future.
  23. Takes the lead in establishing with his wife clear and well-reasoned convictions on issues such as debt, child discipline, movies, TV, the internet, smoking, drugs. These are defined in their home.
  24. Joins a small group of men who are dedicated to becoming better men, husbands, and fathers. He invites accountability.
  25. Provides time for his wife to pursue personal interests.

25 points from, "Rocking The Roles", by Robert Lewis, with comments in blue type, by Joshua Reich

George Washington Was a Lifelong Learner

Michael Hyatt:

While we tend to remember Washington as a man of action more than letters, he was both. Most leaders are also voracious readers. As the new book George Washington: A Life in Books reminds us, Washington was a great collector and a diligent reader of books...

...5 Lessons From washington's Reading: (Kevin J. Hayes)






Reading Corinthians Through the Lens of Ancient Rhetoric and Performance

The NT letters answer problems that the churches were having.  Sometimes, the problems or questions were quoted, in the letters.  This is something you may not know, that will help you comprehend the Bible.

Scot McKnight:

In her new (and I predict significant) book (Women and Worship at Corinth), Lucy Peppiatt presents a reasonable case that women passages in 1 Corinthians, when read through the lens of performance and rhetoric and Pauline theology elsewhere, reveal quotations of opponents and diatribe against those lines.

The italics blue type are words from those Corinthians with whom Paul is disagreeing:

1Cor. 11:2 I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions just as I handed them on to you. 3 But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the husband is the head of his wife, and God is the head of Christ.

4 Any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head disgraces his head, 5 but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled disgraces her head—it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved.

6 For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, she should wear a veil.

7 For a man ought not to have his head veiled, since he is the image and reflection of God; but woman is the reflection of man. 8 Indeed, man was not made from woman, but woman from man. 9 Neither was man created for the sake of woman, but woman for the sake of man. 10 For this reason a woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man or man independent of woman. 12 For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman; but all things come from God. 13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head unveiled? 14 Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. 16 But if anyone is disposed to be contentious—we have no such [“no other”] custom, nor do the churches of God. 

Scot continues:

You may already be muttering this so it is already time to address it: How could they have known? How do we know? Why not give signs or clues to such “citations” or rhetorical breaks? The answers are these: (1) these texts were to be performed and instructions were given to the readers by the authors; (2) this was common in the ancient world, e.g., Epictetus, but I already mentioned Song of Solomon and now just go read any of the prophets and you will notice perceived or discerned quotations and poetic breaks. These were not tipped off most of the time. The reader caught them in a culture where this was how things were done. (3) Rhetoricians like Quintilian openly stated that authors didn’t need to tip the readers off to such breaks. The knowledge came in the performance.

One of the more important skills in reading then is to listen to the text well enough to perceive such things. (Does anyone question the problem that arises, say, in 1 Cor 14:33b-36? Something’s odd here.)

Does this make interpretation difficult? Sure does. The issue though is whether this was the way rhetoric worked at that time, and it did.

Lets’ move on.

Now 1 Corinthans 14:20-39, and you will notice that the NRSV already detected some kind of rhetorical break in 14:33b-36 and placed them in parentheses, but I deleted them and put the words in italics.

1Cor. 14:20 Brothers and sisters, do not be children in your thinking; rather, be infants in evil, but in thinking be adults. 21 In the law it is written,

“By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people; yet even then they will not listen to me,” says the Lord.

22 Tongues, then, are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is not for unbelievers but for believers.

23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if all prophesy, an unbeliever or outsider who enters is reproved by all and called to account by all. 25 After the secrets of the unbeliever’s heart are disclosed, that person will bow down before God and worship him, declaring, “God is really among you.”

1Cor. 14:26 What should be done then, my friends? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn; and let one interpret. 28 But if there is no one to interpret, let them be silent in church and speak to themselves and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. 30 If a revelation is made to someone else sitting nearby, let the first person be silent. 31For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged. 32 And the spirits of prophets are subject to the prophets, 33 for God is a God not of disorder but of peace.

As in all the churches of the saints, 34 women should be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as the law also says. 35 If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. 36 Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only ones it has reached?

1Cor. 14:37 Anyone who claims to be a prophet, or to have spiritual powers, must acknowledge that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord. 38 Anyone who does not recognize this is not to be recognized. 39 So, my friends, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues;

Michal's Story

Digging deeper into someone's story, to find meaning.  Her story matters.

In the bible, barren women get miraculous conceptions, pregnancies and live births. But not always. When people call the roll of barren or otherwise childless women for whom God provides children of their own flesh: Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Samson’s mother, Hannah, the woman from Shunem – though she wasn’t asking for a child and Elizabeth they forget about Michal.

The psalmist (113:9) says: God gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children.

Wisdom (3:13) says: …blessed is the barren womanwho is undefiled, who has not entered into a sinful union; she will have fruit when God examines souls.

But in this world in which the bible is enshrined, the miracles are few and far between. Some, few women miraculously conceive against the odds. The overwhelming majority do not...

...Michal might have been content to live with David and his new wives, that was the way of kings and she was a king’s daughter. But David didn’t want her as a woman or a wife. He wanted her back as a possession. She was his and no one else could have her. He took her back and then he abandoned her. He failed to do for her what was commanded by the Torah; he failed to provide her with children. The text does not say that Michal was barren, that would mean she and David were having sex. It says she does not have a child, meaning that David did not give her one. David withheld himself, his body and his seed from her.

Michal had to watch as David impregnates Abigail and Ahinoam. Michal watches as David passes her by and married and impregnates Maacah multiple times. Michal watches as David passes her by and married and impregnates Haggith. Michal watches as David passes her by and married and impregnates Abital. Michal watches as David passes her by and married and impregnates Eglah. All of these wives and their children are listed before Michal sees David cutting a fool. Is there any wonder she despised him in her heart? It may have been the first time she had seen him in person since he took her back. Michal will later have to watch as David passes her by and rapes and impregnates and then marries Bathsheba.

Is there a word from the God who loves David so much it doesn’t matter what he does to any body or their body for Michal? I maintain God is God of all creations and that includes the folk on the margins of the very scriptures that proclaims God’s love for David while demonstrating how deeply unworthy he was of that love, let alone Michal’s. Because I know Michal is not just a character in David’s story, that there are childless, lonely, hurting women, women longing for the love a man that will never love them and women who lost the one who did, I have to ask where is God for Michal? Is there a word for her?