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Staying away from church: I get it. But things change. On Pentecost Sunday at the little church where I worship Fukuroda-Falls-Ibaraki-Japan we’ve been asked to dress in red in honor of the Holy Spirit’s outpouring. Yet I may be among the very few of this particular congregation whose hands raise in the air, who have experienced worship among Pentecostals, who hope to see the infilling of the Holy Spirit among Christians everywhere. No matter. I’m praying for the Holy Spirit’s outpouring to be a supernaturally good blessing everywhere, to break forth as it did in the original Pentecost, and as it did in the revival of William Seymour which began in Los Angeles in 1906.

fukushimaNuclearDisasterThe expanding chronic darkness of evil in the world calls us to every gift that God can grant us in the name of Jesus Christ through the pouring into us of the Holy Spirit.

And so, tomorrow and every day, my hope is for unity in our love of Jesus Christ among professing Christians. I have repented and plan no longer to criticize those in the faith who believe differently on this or any other issue (including marital equality or complementarianism). I’m trusting God to reach so many of us with holy fire of the Holy Spirit’s giftedness that outmoded discriminatory practices within the body of Christ will simply die out and fade away, leaving the joy of Jesus to move on this earth, as it is in heaven.

Personal aside: Although I didn’t know it at the time, 100 years ago to the day when William Seymour’s pentecostal revival began on April 9, 1906 at the Bonnie Brae street house in Los Angeles, I was living temporarily in Los Angeles near the intersection of Alvarado and Bonnie Brae. I’d get inexplicable goosebumps, in a good way, when the Metro bus driver called the Bonnie Brae stop. When the 20th century revival outgrew the Bonnie Brae location it moved to 312 Azusa Street in Los Angeles and continued until 1915, drawing Christians from around the globe to come and see, also seeding pentecostalism everywhere.

Nothing but the power of the Holy Spirit, and William Seymour’s willingness to trust Jesus as an African American man living at the height of America’s post-civil war racism, could have sparked the new outpouring of pentecostal fire in 1906. Thankfully and blessedly today as the legacy, we have global Youtube music ministries like Hillsong spawned by the pentecostal megachurch of the same name that originated in Australia and now has a fledgling church plant in Los Angeles.

In my territorial connection to the Bonnie Brae origins in LA of the pentecostal movement across racial and gender lines, the LA neighborhood’s racial composition had remained “of color,” more Latino (immigrant and second generation) than African American in the 21st century. Across the street from my Bonnie Brae rental, my neighbor had filled his front yard with the Virgin of Guadalupe being upheld by Jesus Christ. In the charismatic and liberation Catholicism sweeping through South and Latin America, the devotion to Jesus Christ our Lord, born of a blessed woman, Mary, inspires people to have a heart for God. Who are Protestants or non-denominatial Christians to judge Catholics, or vice versa? Even the “Hail Mary” prayer of Catholicsm has a “sola scriptura” basis (see Luke 1). LATXcreatures 338

The scriptural bases for the Holy Spirit’s gifts — becoming filled with the Holy Spirit after being sealed as a believer — in the context of divine love as a present reality is available to all Christians across all churches, from the Vatican to the dusty storefront to the park picnic table to the cross-spired building to the humblest living room. See John 14-17, Acts 1, 2 and 6, 1 Corinthians 14: 1 – 33, Ephesians 1, 2 and 5: 1-21, for a scriptural sampling. Please remember that the ancient Greek manuscripts (copies of copies translated into English), none of which is an originally authored autograph, differ among themselves in some matters, e.g., 1 Corinthians 14: 34-39, which could then be translated into discriminatory verbiage by English translators. Also please remember when you read your Bible with the Holy Spirit and anointing of Christ to guide you, see 1 John, that the Greek manuscripts do not contain English-language subheadings, English-language sentence-ending periods (or other punctuation) or chapter:verse markings. To ascribe inerrancy to English biblical translators of any era would be as large an error as ascribing infallibility to any human pope, it seems to me. But if you feel differently as a Christian I’m not going to fight. And also, I agree that the pope can say good things, and that I love my Bible. I’d ask you just to consider one (compound) question. Mustn’t we love Jesus more as the incarnate Word who now reigns on high, and couldn’t that love unite us to overcome evil? See the entire gospel of John in full context if you wonder about this.

And now, this may be my last post here. (Although God may change my mind for me!) The back and forth of opinions by blogging may not be the place God is calling me to play a part going forward. Also in the disclosure fair to the body of Christ, I am clarifying that I’ve written here (on another Fourowls blog also) in the indigenous nickname of a great-grandmother who by family legend was “bird clan” Cherokee. It seemed fitting somehow to embrace the multi-racial character of the body of Christ around the world.

My real name is Jan, and I love Jesus. In Him I live and move and have my being.

For your online theological sustenance, I can recommend the impeccably well-educated, Spirit-filled Greg Boyd to you: