All posts by pcpjwriter

PCPJ is a multicultural, gender inclusive, and ecumenical organization that promotes peace, justice, and reconciliation work among Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians around the world.

The Good Christian Woman’s Life

by Rachel Stella, originally published here.

I woke up around 3:30 a.m. Sunday, May 10, 2015, to the loud beeping of a text message. Normally I silence my phone when I go to bed, but I had just gotten a promotion at work. I was one of the newsroom editors now, and even though no one had told me I was obligated to be on call 24/7, I felt responsible to be ready to handle major breaking news over the weekends.

“Downtown Utica is on fire. I’m getting photos now.”

I had told Scott, our photographer, to contact me first if anything crazy happened on weekends, because I thought the other hardworking staff should get a break. He had done what I had asked him to do. Even so, I was irritated at being aroused from a deep sleep. Not irritated at Scott, but irritated that this was happening. And scared for Utica. (That poor little town had already experienced a deadly tornado and some awful flooding.) I probably let out a nasty word or two as I adjusted to the reality. I wasn’t raised that way, but — confession time — potty mouth has developed from living alone.

I threw a jacket over whatever I was wearing and walked the two blocks to the newsroom, where I plunked into my chair and hastily assembled a brief story with a photo sent by Scott to put on our website and link to on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Continue reading The Good Christian Woman’s Life

Is Pentecostalism Dispensationalist?

by Tony Richie. Part 1 of 3. Read the whole article as a PDF here.

Introduction

A surging crisis on the current global horizon centers on so-called “Christian Zionism.” The controversy surrounding Christian Zionism arises from its association with political practices in the unceasingly and increasingly unstable Middle East region involving Israelis and Palestinians. Though an oversimplification, Christian Zionism is generally speaking a theological position with political implications.

However, Christian Zionism is exceedingly difficult to address because it exists in variegated forms, ranging from individuals or groups who generally support the right of contemporary Israelis to exist in their ancient homeland to extensively organized political activists with agendas of varying degrees of radicalism.[1]

The former usually cite biblical and humanitarian values in vindication of their support for Israel. Some of the latter tend to be completely uncritical of Israeli policies and practices, openly aggressive against their opponents, and either totally unaware of or unconcerned with the plight of Palestinians and religious others. Much of the basis for the latter position appears to be built upon a specific form of dispensationalist ideology. Continue reading Is Pentecostalism Dispensationalist?

The “You’re in Japan” Card

by Ramone Romero.

Recently a friend I honor and respect pulled the “You’re in Japan” card on me. This is something that a few people have done over the years to imply that I can’t understand how things “really” are in America because I live in Japan.

I haven’t counted the number of times I’ve heard it, but I can remember the context of a few times. I think the first time was when the Bush administration was preparing the country with its propaganda about the need to go to war against Iraq in 2003, and I objected on Facebook and in emails that there was no evidence to support the drive to go to war. Later, other friends (always politically conservative) used the “You’re in Japan” card on me with issues like American healthcare, race relations, the Trump campaign and presidency, and Confederate flags and monuments.

Obviously there’s some significant truth to the fact that, being far away, I can’t get a complete picture of how things are “on the ground” in America. At the same time, there is a lot that can be learned online, from reading comments and articles, etc. I’m not a novice in filtering news and reports, or taking the first thing I hear as the gospel truth of a situation. I think most of my friends realize that I try to discern very carefully, and don’t just re-post or write things without critical thought. Continue reading The “You’re in Japan” Card

What More Can I Say? On Charlottesville and White Supremacy

by Ebony Adedayo. Originally published on her blog.

After the Charlottesville riot on Saturday, I wrestled with the idea of writing a piece  that would convincingly urge my Christian brothers and sisters to respond. I first contemplated the idea of speaking to the need for the Church to condemn the protest and violence of white nationalism, but it felt somewhat shallow. I then thought about issuing some sort of prophetic thesis, outlining the biblical mandate of justice and love for one’s neighbor. This too felt inadequate. Finally, I concluded that the church in America needed to have a bigger presence in not only speaking out against Charlottesville but all the other displays of white supremacy and nationalism, manifested through police violence, discrimination, lack of affordable housing, poor schools, and the school to prison pipeline. This approach, similar to the other ones, seemed to be gravely missing something.

Scrolling through Facebook, I noticed friends and acquaintances of mine hammering out these same messages. Watching CNN, I saw pundits from both sides of the political aisle putting their own spin on these same perspectives. I suspect that clergy all across America, mounted their pulpits Sunday morning rebuking not only Charlottesville but every vestige of white supremacy in America. And business leaders, if for no other reason but out of concern of their bottom line, have also put in their two cents about these racist events.

And that is when I realized that there is quite literally nothing more than I can say that has not already been said. I couldn’t devise a more clever Facebook post, or a more profound tweet, write a more convincing blog post, or preach a more compelling sermon simply because there has already been an abundance of information communicated through nearly every medium possible. And that is not just in regards to this particular incident. No, whether it was through BlackLivesMatter, the Black Power Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, the Abolitionist Movement, or in response to Charleston, Mass Incarceration, the War on Drugs, Jim Crow, or slavery, people have been speaking. Activists have been fighting, preachers have been raising holy hell, intellectuals critiquing, educators teaching, prophets prophesying, thought leaders proffering new ideas to get not only the church, but America’s people to pay attention to the disease of racism and white supremacy in our nation. Continue reading What More Can I Say? On Charlottesville and White Supremacy

What Kind of Pentecostal Am I?

by Sam Lee.

I have quite an interesting Christian life. Some of my fellow Pentecostals think I am liberal, and they often ask themselves “Is Samuel still a Pentecostal?” Here are my answers to the question they ask:

Indeed, I am a Pentecostal, but I wholeheartedly believe that the Pentecostal movement needs serious reform. Just like any other religious movement, it has its own blind spots and makes its own errors, yet, at the same time, it shines in its own beauty. Whenever I say that I am a Pentecostal, I do not mean that I belong to a Pentecostal religious system, organization, or denomination. Instead, I believe in the very essence, the very foundation of our faith as it is based in the Pentecost documented in the Book of Acts.

I am a Pentecostal because I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit as it was revealed in the Bible. Nevertheless, I do not agree with some of my Pentecostal friends who use the name of the Holy Spirit in a simplistic and even abusive way, i.e., to engage in a form of ethical escapism, as license to do and say what they want and hurt anyone who does not think or is like them. The greatest sign of the Holy Spirit  is not speaking of tongues but the power of Unconditional Love. Love is indeed a power; it forgives, liberates, and heals. The Holy Spirit empowers us to love even the unlovable, to reach the unreachable.

I am a Pentecostal because I believe in the miracles of the Holy Spirit. I cannot deny them. I have seen them in my own life. At the same time, I disagree with some of my fellow Pentecostal friends who merchandize the works of the Holy Spirit: the commercialization of His miracles is sacrilegious. I disagree with the overemphasis on miracles, signs, and wonders, at the expense of justice and the righteousness for the poor and oppressed. I disagree with those who practice Pentecostalism while their own personal character shows little or no sign of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. I disagree with those who pretend to be super Pentecostals but do not know how to treat their spouses, neighbors, or children. True Pentecost-experience changes our characters and leads us to humility, grace, peace, and love. These are as important as signs and wonders. Continue reading What Kind of Pentecostal Am I?

The Kingdom of God is Already Here

by Hye Sung Francis Gehring.

I remember falling in love with Jesus my junior year of high school. God received me, embraced me, didn’t ask questions. God loved me.

And then I started getting to know Christians.

I went to an end-times Bible study most Saturday mornings my senior year of high school. We listened to recordings of teachings from Mike Bickle, founder of the International House of Prayer – Kansas City, a charismatic ministry with a mission of praying and worshiping 24/7.

It was a small Bible study. Usually there were just three or four of us. We ate bagels, sat in fold-out chairs in a circle, often huddled around a space heater. We listened to Bickle describe the dreadful days that were coming, and every so often one of us would exclaim “Wow!” or “Amen!” Continue reading The Kingdom of God is Already Here

Our Muslim Neighbors

by Rachel Stella. Originally published in Mennonite World Review, republished with permission.

When we talk about living in peace with Muslims, some Christians become uneasy. They reason that because Islam and Christianity have such differences, true peace isn’t possible.

Yet a call to live in peace is not the same as a call to harmonize the two faiths. Indeed, it would be impossible to harmonize them without fundamentally changing one or both. Although they share a few beliefs in common, Islam and Christianity have major theological differences that are irreconcilable.

It is still entirely possible to live well with Muslim neighbors in our communities. Sure, you and your Muslim friend might enjoy a theological debate once in a while. (Depending on one’s personality, such an activity might or might not seem like a good time.) But it doesn’t have to keep us from getting along with each other as neighbors. Continue reading Our Muslim Neighbors