First hand stories are interesting to me. The previous report by the guy who recognized all the hypnotic techniques being used by Bentley was wry and funny (if you missed that, it’s here). The following account is serious and has some typos. This person apparently has visions and comes from the prophetic/charismatic side of things. I copied the story about 2/3 down since there is a LOT of back story about his gifts and other details. Some might find that interesting so for the rest of that you can read here. Also, this guy’s presentation and cultural view is pretty dramatic–not my personal cup of tea. I haven’t done ANY research into his creds or history or theology. I just think it’s an interesting first person story.

I haven’t figured out what my fascination is with this topic…maybe it’s kinda like the rubbernecking response when there is a roadside accident, or just bad roadkill. It started with my yoga research, then friend connections (as mentioned previously), but now who knows. I’m not a spooky superstitious person. I prefer a reasoned argument, some good deep thinking. Ah, well. I do read trashy novels from time to time and maybe this is related. This is all so OUT there and melodramatic and televangelistic-type hype overkill (there’s that word again). One of my very literary, intelligent, artistic, brilliant friends loves to read vampire novels. I think we all have some of that in us somewhere. In regards to religious crap, usually it just makes me sick. And partly, this does, because the poor people involved make is tragedy-comedy.

It also might be the occultic connections that fascinate me since I study that stuff. And it does have a relationship with kundalini and other interesting things. But mainly, I’ll probably just be really sad when it is all over and so many people have been thrashed by it all. By then, I’m sure I’ll be able to watch the expose on tv!

Anyways, that is my long-winded explanation for posting the following story:

You are entering in the middle of the narrative. They are in Lakeland and plan to sing and speak to the crowd and he sees the Angel Emma that Bentley talks about…

We loaded his equipment and headed back down to where Todd Bentley was holding service that evening the Lakeland center or convention center. I’m really not sure what it was called. We arrived and found the place that I felt like the father wanted us to set up. There was plenty of parking in the parking lot where I could have set up or even parked but I had received a warning earlier myself from the father instructing me to not set on foot on that property, to just open my mouth and he would fill it.
Daniel started off singing a few songs playing the guitar and people where very aware of our presence and some started gathering across the road listening. Then I took the mic after a few songs and started in by saying “you like sheep are led astray, Judgment is coming to Florida and then I don’t remember anything else I said until something happened. The anointing was so strong I felt it coming in waves so strong I thought I would not be able to stand. Then my spiritual eyes where opened and I saw an angel coming from the building that was about a block away across the parking lot. She made her way across the parking lot almost instantaneously but the spirit rose up in me and said I rebuke you Emma and I bind you to do no harm.
At that moment it was like I saw her bound by something I could not see, but it rendered her motionless other then every mussel in her body strained trying to break free. And she stayed there until I was done speaking and then I saw her no more. (more…)
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Hypnotism can be a very useful tool to change some bad habits. I’ve known friends that have used it for easier and better childbirth, quitting smoking and losing weight. I tried the losing weight audios and it didn’t work on me! Then I learned that people are different in how susceptible they are to hypnotism. I’m not easily hypnotized, which is fine by me. I’ll just use some other techniques.

Now, I don’t particularly want people using these techniques in religious settings, but they do. And it is very common in more ecstatic gatherings, whether called Christian, Hindu, New Age or whatever. Psychology has been studying this for decades. I think that people are too uninformed in religious settings though. This is not a good thing. Intention isn’t important in using these techniques. You could learn them without knowing they are ways to suggest behaviors by just mimicking a particular leader or speaker that you want to be like. I can see how this can happen in religious circles because of the leadership style in certain groups. People are told that they are receiving from God and they want it, so they are susceptible to this suggestion. It really doesn’t matter what is being said, the techniques work.

Here is a video that explains this a little bit:

I haven’t paid that much attention to the use of these techniques in Christian circles mainly b/c I just ignored the charlatans and ignored the weird behavior. I dismissed it our of hand as not worth attention. I’m trying to not be so dismissive now and see what is really happening.

I have been thinking a lot about community lately and also about what is beneficial about being in a well connected larger type church (I’m still speaking of church as our particular faith gathering community, even though the church is all believers, the body of Christ).

There are a lot of followers of Jesus out there who have opted out of the whole institutional church idea. And then, many more who are finding creative ways to experience living in a community of faith while attempting to be faithful to the gospel message.  At times, I am very frustrated with the large church “campus” and how much time and energy go into maintaining its perpetuation; very much like government in that way. It seems to just keep growing and getting more and more top heavy. Plus, programming people to death is another problem.

It’s too late and I am too tired to go into this beyond scratching the surface right now.

I am extremely grateful for the community that we have in our lives that has come specifically from our church connections. Without that we wouldn’t have been stretched with friendships and relationships. We wouldn’t have such close friends without my last two church involvements over the past 20 years. These are people that come along side us through the worst and the best.  They are amazing gifts from God to us. It was within the larger community that we were able to find each other to form this smaller more intimate community. And yes, it was intentional on everyone’s part and has taken time, energy, commitment and effort. But we do it and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Even if we do leave our church eventually for something more organic, or smaller, or whatever (and we aren’t planning on doing this at the moment), I would still make the effort to keep the relationships with the body of believers there.

Just a few personal thought. More on this topic later.

If not, here’s the link

I missed it, but watched it online.  I only could see part of it. This YouTube has the other half of the interview…

I’m not surprised that the Baptists have skepticism regarding the so-called Lakeland Revival. It is interesting that people are going with an open mind and heart to see if God is going to move in their lives at Todd Bentley’s events. Yet, just as with many other “healing evangelists” that involve a lot of manipulation and splash, too many people are leaving in the same condition, or worse, if you consider their crushed spirits. It reminds me of Benny Hinn…For me, it is just sad to see. God is so much bigger than all this hype full of nothing. Why am I so aggravated by all this?

Part of the problem is that I listen to many preachers outside of my own tradition, to expand my “spiritual temperament” and learn more about God beyond my personal biases. This listening isn’t the problem, but my irritation is probably due to the fact that a certain segment of ministers are apparently friends with this circle of Bentley “revivalists” and before finding this out, I pretty much was enjoying most of these guys’ sermons…Sigh. Of course, I had some theological issues, but I can deal with that. But just accepting all this and saying that you are missing out on what God is doing by doubting any of this hype and show is pretty gross to hear.

The article below is eloquent and succinct. Well done. Much better than my personal ramblings!

FIRST-PERSON: Neither faith nor healing

Posted on Jul 11, 2008 | by William A. Dembski

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Todd Bentley’s healing ministry has gained national attention. His daily meetings for the past three months in Lakeland, Fla., have attracted hundreds of thousands from all over the world. The press has begun to question Bentley’s legitimacy — Is his financial accounting above board? Are miracles really happening? I want to raise some more personal concerns.

On July 3, my wife, three children and I attended Bentley’s “impartation service” in Denton, Texas, north of Dallas. Why? We have twin 7-year-old boys, one of whom is autistic (largely nonverbal, still not fully toilet trained, serious developmental delays). Friends urged that we attend the meeting for his miraculous healing. (more…)

Recently I was listening to Internet Monk in an interview with Steve Brown Etcetera and he commented that his particular “spiritual temperament” was more in line with so-and-so. His comment really struck me. I love that idea of spiritual temperament. I have always wondered about the grouping of denominations and sects in relation to personality types. It would be so cool to see if there were any correlation between the two. But since personality types are limited (as all categories are) by the complexity of human nature, I’m digging adding in to my theory the spiritual temperament idea.

Think about it. If we understood our spiritual temperaments we could avoid a lot of self-righteous posturing by realizing that many things aren’t inherently wrong or right, they are just what we PREFER due to our natural disposition. For example, all those style issues like HOW to pray, How to worship, How to cast out demons, How to evangelize (or not), How to love…you get the idea.

I know I am dreaming, because many people don’t want to know themselves. They would rather stay in ignorance and think that their preferences are law–specifically God’s law. Oh well. It was a nice idea anyway.

Those of you who know your temperament, stay with me and keep reading. Let me know your thoughts and spur me on to think in different ways. I appreciate you!

This is an article from Hinduism Today–15 years old–that discusses both the view that yoga cannot be separated from its “hindu-ness” and that whenever people begin spiritual practices of Hindu origin, most eventually dive in deeper to the roots of those practices to discover and appreciate Hinduism. Note the contrary view quoted in this article by Swami Premananda. I find the analogy helpful in furthering my thinking on the topic, although limited of course, as all analogies are.

Some questions I have for you readers (please share your insights!):

  1. How does this relate to other foundational religions that birthed new sects, and even religions, from its adherents? Are there any parallels you see in “practices” of the spiritual life such as in yoga?
  2. When can a ritual or practice become severed–if it can– from its original context? (notice the comment by the author of Hindus that don’t identify themselves as Hindus even though they walk, talk and practice like Hindus)
  3. What about the concepts of adaption, modification, evolution in relation to religion in general?
  4. What practices have you adapted from other denominations, religions or anywhere else to fit into your faith?

June 1994

Editorial

Yoga-Sweet Fruit From Dharma’s Tree

By the Editor

Mommy. Anjali says yoga is inextricably rooted in Hindu cosmology. Is she right?

As the articles for this issue gathered from the far corners of the earth, delivered digitally to our Macintosh network in the Pacific Ocean, we noticed they contained more yoga than usual. There was our color poster, exploring the teachings of Yogaswami, Sri Lanka’s sage. There was the unexpected and unsorrowful (we can say this, for death is, to the Hindu, an exalted state of oneness, liberation and light) stories of the two great souls mentioned by our publisher above. This provoked our pondering about yoga’s relationship to religion. What’s intriguing about this subject, from an editor’s view, is that it has steadfast and eloquent adherents on each side. We expect lots of mail, and welcome it.

Many these days who are drawn to yoga are repelled by religion, and it’s not difficult to understand why. Their religious leaders have run amuck, awash in sexual scandals, financial improprieties and terroristic plots. As if that weren’t enough, religious institutions have turned into entrepreneurial endeavors, political movements and personality cults. No wonder soulful people seek other paths. And what path is more profound, more unworldly, more intimate in its communion with the Divine than yoga?

As the stature of institutionalized faith dwindles, yoga is increasingly depicted as unrelated to Hinduism, separate from religion altogether. (more…)