Or, This is probably not actually about Asbury
Yea, mixed reactions to “revival”. The older I get and the more I choose to focus on “am I showing up today like Jesus?” especially within the four walls of my home, in my marriage, with my now grown kids (so easy to be more like Jesus around complete strangers and friends), the more I know none of that other stuff matters if my own personal Jesus walk lacks authenticity. (And many days it does.) I recall visiting with friends to their evangelical church, pressured to go the front to dance and worship - and what was wrong with me because I didn’t feel comfortable up front? Sometimes church becomes its own cult and club, as you well pen, leaving so many outside telling them they still don’t fit in. We are so full of pride and judgment. I hope those college kids find the real Jesus in their time together in worship. Not the short lived euphoria of singing together (though that is often beautiful and filling). You always gotta come down off the mountain. Where is Jesus then? That’s the part I’m (still) working on. Love your work with words and the Word made Flesh - can’t wait for the next post … and book. XO
Thank you. Thank you thank you. This is the most life giving and poignant address of this phenomenon I’ve yet witnessed and it both met me in my skepticism and inspired me toward believing true revival is still happening and possible. We love you, Sarah
YES! I also hope so many things for these "kids". I too hate that they have been put in the spotlight and so many burdens laid on them. I wish they were all given time to process what has happened in their hearts and THEN "go forth".... rather than being criticised for not solving the world's problems instantaneously.
I LOVED NAdia B. W. letter this week and wish we could all just take a step back and breathe and watch and wait without hurling criticism all the damn day.
This is everything I needed to hear. I was actually trying to work through the mess of feelings the Asbury revival has brought up with my therapist today. To read this after that session has provided healing balm to my bruised soul. So thank you. Just Thank you.
You know, Sarah… you. Your words. 😭❤️ I, too, am a product of the Toronto Blessing. I went to their International Leader’s School of Ministry, my husband and I then went on to pastor in the Bethel Redding circuit. So, I’ve been versed in, steeped in, entrenched in Revival for a really really long time. I still have the great fortune of speaking in conferences and engagements with Paul Young and Brad Jersak, which I love and don’t take the opportunity for granted. But 10 years removed from Bethel’s wizardry and Catch the Fire, as I watched the whole Asbury worship movement play out, this sums it up for me: “I have realized one thing over these past two weeks of paying attention to Asbury: I’m not really that interested in revival as I knew it in the early years of my experience, not anymore.” And your friend Maria’s words, if it’s not leading to justice, inclusion, heart transformation, I mean… and like you, I can’t put my mouth on it because I’m still a little woo and I still believe deeply enough in my own experiences with the living God but mannnn, may the truth of what we encounter in the sweetness of worship spill over into how we live and move in concert with one another. You & Nadia Bolz Weber for the win this week, because her piece on this topic was just as riveting to me. Again…thank you. Thank you.
I love your words so much. I pray for revival in the hearts of those who’ve been hurt by Christians to know God by God’s love - not by the harsh judgments and treatment of men in the name of God.
I also pray for revival among all Christians to dare to love and show compassion and get out of the judgment business. To see the trauma and damage they cause before they inflict it.
I pray for a revival in my own heart that I can approach things with fresh eyes from curiosity, love and compassion and dare to be tested and challenged where a belief needs to be changed.
Yes, the MRI machine is a great place to pray and give thanks. And sometimes, after prayer, to even fall asleep. I know this to be true.
I remember being gently pushed too. And also falling without anyone touching me. A very different experience. I’m retired clergy from a Pentecostal denomination—and the relentless criticism and snark about Asbury is so troubling. And I SO want this to be genuine. And I wish I didn’t feel so troubled in the middle of hope. Sigh. Thank you for helping me put words to my conflicted thoughts and emotions. Crying as I type because I want it to be simple and it just isn’t.
We - others too, not just "me"? - are so hungry and thirsty for the presence of Jesus, whom we love. We are Mary of Bethany, wanting to sit at Jesus's feet and put every other responsibility aside for the sheer joy of just being with him, listening to him. That was the longing that the Asbury accounts has stirred up in me again. To just be focused on Jesus, singing our hearts out, praying, sensing his presence and his care.
But instead of Jesus the church has been focused on...oh I won't list it. It's so depressing. I was so sad thinking about those "kids" at Asbury, wondering where they can go in the American church to be nurtured in that sweet love for Jesus rather than being taught who to hate and who to minimize and who to blame and who to be afraid of and who to call "dangerous."
May God help them, and be their Shepherd. May God help all of us.
This is so profound and true. This "revival" has also been triggering for me. I have no other words to expound on this, but I just want to say, yes and amen, and thank you for articulating my experience as a good ol' Assemblies of God kid who now has a gay daughter (episcopal priest) and daughter-in-law, other grown agnostic/atheist children and four grandchildren who get to see Jesus/Holy Presence through my life. I experience a similar revival as I deconstructed my faith, my dogma, and the scriptures to love and accept my kids and those they love. A hard work, indeed. Now my goal is to mentor them (and all I meet) by the way I am with them -- and if it reflects this Jesus I follow.
I entered into a depth of joy through the Toronto Blessing. But I've been learning so much more that Toronto hasn't taught me. The Lover of my soul uses much broader strokes than fiery meetings, being slain in the Spirit, prophesying, etc. I don't think there is a "move of God" as much as people who move in love to the wounded, marginalized, forgotten, condemned. All of Creation is Spirit-filled if we only have eyes to see. All people are carriers of the Divine. We need to reflect their belovedness back to them.
Thank you Sarah, that was so needed. Although older my background is similar in old fashioned Methodist tent revival, charismatic revival complete with ‘no, no person is going to push me over, only God’ who didn’t seem interested in doing so, and the whole emotion, reality, faith, God, questions…what on Earth is actually going on deconstructing it all thing…and my reaction to Ashbury, even across here in the UK has surprised me by how visceral it has been, feeling a physical reaction making me tense and wary, my throat closing making me feel nauseous, and yet at the same time a longing…
I’ve been careful to allow myself kindness and time to process, not to read too much and to remember that I don’t have to have an opinion, I can simply leave God to do whatever God is doing, here, there, anywhere.
Thank you for this reflection. So many memories of "revival" experiences; mostly manipulative. but I love your quote, " “Worship that doesn’t lead to a life of justice is not true worship.”
Whoa! Celebrating 82 most wonderful, and at the same time most difficult years of my life, being in
those days, where we would stand like naked, desperate people with our hands out, waiting for a morsel of prophecy that some well known preacher would dole out, makes these words you have written come back to life. I also was a child and desperately wanted all the gifts that I heard God was passing out, but as the years went on, and God Himself drew me to Him, I realized I didn't need all the all the loud music and drama of revival.. Whatever is going on in Asbury, may people stop and listen to the still small voice within because it is always speaking.. Thank you Sarah1
Your writing. It inspires and breathes. Thank you.
This truly summed up so much of what I’ve been sensing and processing. Thank you.
“I hope I remain open to them all too. ❤️