Charismatic Confessions, pt. 3: Praying in Tongues for Everyone!


{abstract: “Praying in tongues” is not really a “gift”, but rather a way in which God makes Himself known, and we commune with Him. Therefore, I believe it’s open to all of us, not just those with a “gift”. It is a sacramental, physical participation in the “real presence” of God praying within you. It may very well be random and not a “real heavenly language”, but nevertheless, God is sacramentally mediated to us in it. I conclude by offering some brief practical encouragements.}

Last week, I started writing some posts in response to a New York Times piece about research concerning the practice of talking in tongues. I wrote about how this piece reminded me of my own charismatic side and how I’ve been neglecting it. I then talked about my views concerning the use of tongues in a corporate Sunday church context. Today, I want to give people a realistic and (hopefully) sensible framework for understanding the private use of praying in tongues.

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The Practice of His Presence

Well it’s that time again. Anyone that has followed this blog for a while knows that I go through “blog angst” from time to time and now and again. I get into a “funk” and question the direction and content of my blog-writing. By now the script for my whining and pining is well-formed and well-documented, but it always seems to end up at the same place: I need to make this blog more personal; it’s not the right venue for in-depth theological engagement; I need not be scared of putting myself in this thing (as I’ve written before).

And this angst could not come at a stranger time for me to try and talk about my personal spirituality rather than using the theological stuff to keep myself at a distance.

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It’s that time of year again….Lent.

I was just reading the article I wrote last year when I gave up Facebook for Lent. So much has changed. I remember that last year I saw fasting during Lent as some Catholic thing that might be a good idea to do. Also, my reason for giving up Facebook was to help me in the areas of procrastination and discipline.

On the discipline front, it’s funny to have watched how things have played out since then; even more so in light of this year’s Lent. As I finished up that second semester of seminary, my procrastination and discipline issues only worsened.As I dropped out and spent the summer woefully unemployed and poor, my nights got later, I became completely unproductive on nearly every front, and my soul seemed to shrivel because of my lack of discipline and consistent pursuit of God.

In the Fall I moved to a new church community and slowly started to become revived. For the first time I began to understand Calvin’s assertion that theology is only truly theology when it’s lived out. I can no longer divorce orthodoxy from obedience. As time went on, I got swept up in the various means of grace that God has given his church (to be talked of more later), and I was drawn to Him. In the midst of my “dry season” (as we charismatics call them) I feebly reached for a few resources to keep the dwindling flame alive. I eventually got my hands on a sweet copy of the Book of Common Prayer. As of about a month ago, after getting some help, I actually began getting up at a consistent early time and doing some morning devotions. I’ve even been doing some evening devotions as well. I’ve been more consistent in my thinking, writing, and planning. It’s been amazing. I feel my soul revived. After reading that Lent post from last year, I can’t help but wonder if this newfound discipline and productivity are the fruits of the grace obtained in last year’s Lent season.

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