I have read his and enjoyed it – indeed I have but I have been thinking about why I liked it. I’m basically your go-to person for introversion. I like people but sometimes I find them a bit intimidating. Most of the time I would rather be pootling around at home and doing a bit of reading. However, I have attended a charismatic church since I was fifteen. This is despite the fact that some of the most terrifying words in the English Language for me are “Turn to the person next to you and…” or “Tonight we are going to do something a bit different.”
When I was a bit younger, it used to bother me that people who were more comfortable with some of the more energetic expressions of worship would sometimes look down on me. I have lost track of how many people have come over to me during times of worship and offer to pray for my release. It used to make me feel so bad about myself I would sometimes toy with offering to help these people release their heads from their shoulders. Those days are long gone and I am who I am much more often now. (For the record the most profound God-like prayer that anyone ever prayed for me came in the middle of a meeting when a lady came up and said “Can I pray for you please? I promise I won’t go mad.”)
So why would I choose to be in a church where there will always be a possibility that things might become a bit – er jolly? Well first of all, I do have to qualify things a bit. I have been in charismatic meetings where the Bible is a foreign land because we are just going to groove along and see what happens. Ain’t going to work for me I’m afraid. I need a certain amount of structure and I am there to learn – from other people and from the Bible. If there doesn’t come a point when you put your flag down, it is unlikely that you are my kind of church. That being said though, why would a shy retiring sort like myself be here at all? Firstly, just because I don’t always like it does that mean it is wrong? Sometimes I think I need to ask myself – do I need to respond to God here? Is it in a public way? Do I need to support someone else as they respond? And sometimes the answer God wants from me is “Yes”.
Secondly, I think I have to be where the action is. By that I mean where God is speaking to people – today. Where people are prayed for and healed. Where people see miracles. I tend not to get intimidated these days if my worship doesn’t fit your worship and graciously I would say that before you tell me that I need to be a bit more like you, you perhaps need to be working on your own eye speck while I work on this whacking great log that is blocking my vision. Mark Tanner, the author of this book says that people like me are a gift to the church. I think I am probably more the sort of gift like bath cubes or a vase that doesn’t fit anywhere that you think you can probably do without. But God says not. He says that us quiet ones have our place and it is with you – worshiping him out of my truth. Now put your maracas down and lets get on as equals.