Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Hearing Voices

It seems that the Rev. Mark Lawrence has been hearing voices. The Bakersfield Californian newspaper yesterday published this in-depth story about the Rev. Lawrence's candicacy for (or pursuit of) the episcopal seat in South Carolina.

The newspaper story begins most dramatically:

A visiting minister opened his mouth to sing and instead brought a personal revelation from God to the Very Rev. Mark Lawrence.

"The journey begins. Pack your things. Give your children your blessing. You've been in one place long enough," recalled Lawrence.

No one else heard this same message, as the minister was singing in tongues.

Lawrence began to weep.

"A sense of God's presence came over me," he said.

Over the year that followed, the journey would take Lawrence -- and the entire U.S. Episcopal Church -- on an exhilarating yet disquieting, headline-making ride of faith and church politics.

I must confess to some skeptical bias here. I experienced charismatic worship earlier in my life. I heard people speaking in tongues. But – just as with the interpretation of Scripture – I wonder what hermeneutics guided the Rev. Lawrence in interpreting this utterance.

The singer reportedly said (being interpreted): "The journey begins. Pack your things. Give your children your blessing. You've been in one place long enough." How come the Rev. Lawrence interpreted this as meaning he was to pack his Bakersfield belongings into a moving van and become the bishop of South Carolina?

Could the ecstatic utterances not as easily have meant he was to "pack his bags," give his blessing to his flock, and leave the Episcopal Church? Perhaps – in his objection to the Episcopal Church – he had "been in one place long enough" and needed to cast out into another venue. Maybe God was telling him to swim the Niger. Who knows? And how does one decide?

I'm curious. Truly curious. How the heck did he jump from that ecstatic and somewhat delphic utterance to the conclusion that God wants him to be the bishop of South Carolina?

There are many other statements in that newspaper account about which I would take issue … and I may blog about them if my energy holds out. But I really would like an answer to my question here.


Blogger Ann said...

Having both heard and spoken in tongues - I have my doubts about hearing "pack it up" and the going to South Carolina as bishop. How convenient. Maybe it was "pack it in." or something more Jesus like - "give it all up."

6/07/2007 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm pretty dubious about these words of knowledge that people claim to have recieved from the Lord. My husband is more charismatic, bless his heart. But, these prophetic messages seem a bit spooky to me.( I've seen folks do some pretty extreme things, I can tell you.)

Ann, (LOL)


6/13/2007 11:21 AM  

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