Spirit filled worship?


To make a long story as short as I can. On Sunday an unnamed woman in our church started running around yelling to the top of her lungs during a worship song. The preacher, whom I love, then preached a message about David taking off his kingly robe and dancing with commoners which made Michal mad. Because she got mad at David she became barren. The preacher then alluded to the fact that if we were bothered by the woman’s jaunt that we were in danger of barrenness ourselves. I kinda was. I think I know why? Am I in danger of God taking away my fruit?

I understand that this is somewhat different than most discussions but I need to discuss this if you good folks have time?

Still in One Peace



I guess my first thought would be, hm, so was she really filled with the Spirit running around and doing that, or was this a set-up for illustration purposes? (Not that it couldn’t providentially be both, with the Spirit doing the setup. But still.)

St. Paul cautions in 1 Cor about doing things in church (particularly with an eye toward charismatic outbursts) which are not edifying to other members. There is no point speaking in tongues without a translator, for example–if God has not provided a reliable translator, then the tongue-speaking should be regarded as being something else. Paul warns about giving a bad impression to people who come into the service, too, along the same line.

(Heck: depending on what the actual explanation is of 1 Cor 14:34-35, that woman should have stayed hushed! I wouldn’t argue for deploying that myself, but it might or might not be an ironic counterbalance to your preacher depending on what he and/or your church’s doctrinal tradition makes of that verse.)

Paul doesn’t want to forbid the speaking in tongues, and wants zealousy in prophecying; but he also wants all to occur respectably and in order. “For God is not for turbulence, but for peace.” (14:33.)

Michal’s problem, meanwhile, if I recall correctly, wasn’t so much a religious question as one of David not having what Michal deemed to be the appropriate level of royal pride. Why was he down there dancing with the commoners? The idea!

If your preacher’s goal was to aim against prideful refusal to join in a level of celebration being already held by everyone, then he chose a rather counter-intuitive way of illustrating that goal, I’d say. :unamused: (But from what you said, I doubt he was going for that. In which case the illustration itself might not have been quite appropriate as to the topic.)

I suppose the proper response would be, which was more edifying to you? The woman running around yelling at the top of her voice, or singing the hymn (including together with other singers)? If neither was very edifying, that might not be because you’re barren of the Holy Spirit, but because both happened to be venial (at best)! But if one was edifying, be grateful for that. If the woman was so overcome that she couldn’t help doing what she was doing, at least there is an opportunity for charity toward her (and so for edification in that at least). If the whole thing was a setup, frankly I would be annoyed at the preacher (and at the woman, though less so, for agreeing to do it); but then again, another opportunity for charity, I guess. :slight_smile:

And I don’t think you should worry about the Spirit taking away your fruit. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control: against which there is no law. The Spirit might cut down your tree and burn your field if you’re barren of these fruits, but the Spirit won’t take away those fruits. (That would be, quite literally, counter-productive! :stuck_out_tongue: ) Be grateful for these fruits insofar as you have them, work with the Holy Spirit in His operations of cultivating them in you, and try not to let unpeaceful demonstrations of a lack of self-control (be they meek or otherwise) take those fruit away from you. :sunglasses:


Thanks, I’ve been involved in this ministry for 17 years. The preacher has called people down for such things in the past. I don’t believe that it was a set up. If it was he lied. He is not a liar. The woman was my sister in law. She has done it before when a particular song was sung. They quit singing the song. I’m pretty confused about the whole thing right now. I really do appreciate your post. It helps.


PS its always interested me that the fruit of the Spirit was self control and those “in the Spirit” seemed to be out of control.


Then that eliminates one option, which is good to eliminate. :slight_smile:

It’s supposed to be a cooperative process between the persons involved, even though the Spirit is the leader. Either the pneumatic still has some growing to do in cooperating with God in this fashion (entirely possible, with the Holy Spirit still providing initial opportunities for this growth to occur)–or I would expect that it’s some sort of counterfeit or shadow. (Not necessarily the fault of the person, though. It could be a merely physical preliminary behavior of something that the person is meant someday to be responsibly cooperating with God and other persons in.)

Another possibility is that the experience is supposed to be edifying but for some reason isn’t.


So if is supposed to be but it isn’t the it would seem to me to be the receiver. In this case me. Other things in the service were edifying. Could it be that God allows somethings to edify us and not others that are supposed to?


The bigger problem I see is the concept that if someones bizarre behavior becomes annoying to you then God is going to curse you.

Wow. :unamused:


I agree whole heartedly>


Why did He cause Michal to become barren?


Or, some things are provided for edification of some people, other things are provided for other people.

I suppose we’ve all had this experience, in a less extreme fashion, where we appreciate some brilliantly witty or hard-hitting skit, and then wince at the venial or purile tune that follows. Or vice versa; we’re worshiping with some hymn and in communion with God, and then the preacher gets up and introduces his sermon with a joke we find inappropriate. Or we’re bored out of our minds by some repetitious praise song and wondering if this is how cults wear down resistance before indoctrination and then sigh with relief when a chewy intellectual lecture with high mysticism is given. Or someone is really appreciating the simple profundity of the hymn and then wishes God would cause a meteor or tornado to fall on the church to escape this bleeping sermon that the egotistical preacher is throwing far above anyone’s heads. Etc. Etc.

It might be that something is actually ‘wrong’ with the receiver, but it might also be only that the receiver’s taste and gifts aren’t suited for what someone else can better receive.

One thing however is this: if the giver isn’t actually helping anyone else, then either there’s serious sin involved, or the giver is deluded, or the giver needs to be somewhere else, or the receiver should be somewhere else–or anyway some disjunction is in play. A ‘public’ worship of mine that is only annoying other people, would be grounds for me to worry about selfishness on my part, not theirs: this is something special between me and God!–how dare anyone object to that!–I have my rights! Well, if it’s only supposed to be between me and God, then God would be having it happen only between me and Him; not in the midst of other people trying to also commune with God, which my behavior is hampering.

And no, Michal’s example doesn’t count. Or if it does, she counts as the odd one out! Everyone else was partying; she could join in or not. If she didn’t, there were ways of not doing so that wouldn’t have involved prideful snottiness on her part.


[NOTE: any similarity between Michal, and Portunista in this chapter, was entirely not much of a coincidence. :mrgreen: What [u]is a coincidence, is that my iTunes was playing the children’s song about Gamera from the 60s movie series while I was formatting this today for posting here. :slight_smile: ]


I charged from my tent, already hating a man I hadn’t seen.
I cannot see him now.
But, I remember how I saw him, then.
As Seifas had said: a fair man.

He stands halfway downhill, surrounded by soldiers who seem to be wandering into position as they pass. They watch him, staring, unspeaking; he smiles to them in return, resting upon his flutewood staff, meeting them each with a nod.
Certainly he is fair of coloring. Curly, sandy-yellow hair; a short curly beard; a brief moustache. His skin is paler than any I’ve seen; compared to Seifas, simply snow. He wears a tunic of humble wool, very clean—which raises further suspicions in me: any mere peasant would not have clothes entirely unworn by rain and mud.
I stop at a distance to watch. A boy has pushed to the circle’s edge, unlike the other nearby vendors’ children.
The stranger turns precisely to the boy, squinting in thought a moment.
Then he squats to eye-level with the boy, and says:
“I see you have a sword-jumper!”
He sounds like Seifas, somewhat; though a higher baritone, befitting a smaller man.
“So, can you jump a sword with it yet?” he asks.
The boy is holding a ball, covered in elongrass netting winding into a line of strands.
I haven’t the faintest notion what he means—jump a sword with that?!—and neither does the boy, who had begun to shrink away from the man’s attention. But, his curiosity now has much increased!
I see some soldiers nodding; everyone seems to relax a little, yet grow more alert.
Did you know your ball can jump a sword?” the stranger gently asks.
The boy is darting his eyes toward his elders.
A soldier mutters, “S’alright, lad. Speak up.”
He gulps, then edges further in.
“What do you mean . . . sword-jumping?”
“Well! Sometimes a fighter must dodge a swipe by jumping something swung at him! Imagine! Here—” the stranger has leaped to the right, facing left in an on-guard stance. “Here is our hero, taunting his foe to a towering rage. ‘Where shall I skewer my peacock again?!’”
The boy’s eyes widen in wonder. Several soldiers are smiling now, but not in mockery.
“So, the villain,” continues the stranger, leaping across to the opposite side, “snarls and savagely swings his axe or halberd, thus!” And with a looping whistle, he brings his pole around in an arc. “Striking here!” he points, and then steps back along his staff to put his legs within the arc. “But!—our hero jumps,” and once again he leaps, inventively whirling the staff beneath him, “clearing the blow—or even pinning it down! Ha-HAAA!”
He flourishes, standing proud and straight upon the staff, flushed with exertion and grinning broadly.
“Well,” he adds with a shrug, “any professional soldier could do it better. But, you have a lead on me,” he points to the boy and his ball, “for you can begin to learn it early!”
The boy now shifts his excited attention, between his ball and the stranger.
“It does work a little bit differently, with a ball,” the man allows. “I would be glad to show you.”
And, he holds out his hand.

The boy is hesitating. “G’wan, lad. Let’im try,” advises another soldier. I ruefully shake my head; to my surprise, I am smiling, too! The man must be a clown . . .
“I understand,” the stranger nods, with a different smile. “You do have every reason to believe me. Yet to act on that belief, even once you have your reasons . . . it can be hard to step out onto a bridge, even when we have built the bridge ourselves.”

I blink so sharply, my eyelids click.
This man is not a clown! He is—! What he is, is a . . . !
Don’t listen to him! I want to shout, through my clenching throat. This is a trick of some sort! Can’t they see?! Why are they all smiling now?!

I don’t know whether the boy understands the man—but, he understands the surrounding smiles.
With only a tremor of hesitation, he gives the man the ball.
I force my muscles to twist into action: enough of this farce!

A hand falls gently on my shoulder.
I whirl, spitting, to face the threat . . .
. . . Seifas is standing calm and tall beside me.
“Watch,” he murmurs.

He isn’t looking at me. He isn’t looking at me!

My fury floods my mind, as I turn back to the gathering crowd—
. . . the stranger is jumping the sword!

Having fastened the end of the twine to his ankle, he is swinging the ball on its leash through the air, near to the ground, jumping in a stuttering step to avoid the slinging cord.
“It works much better with a friend!” he shouts. “Then you can jump both feet! Come on and try!” And in a frolic, the boy and his friends all fling into the circle, leaping to clear the arcing ball.
I cannot move; the sight is incredible. Whenever the children stumble, they and the man all tumble down; and then they bounce right up to try again. The children shrill and giggle; the vendors can hardly wipe the tears from their eyes for laughing so hard; the soldiers regale one another with yarns of war. Now the ring is clapping, and as the cord completes an arc, they raise a counting shout: “Ahoy! Bahoy! Chahoy! Dahoy! Eeoi!” Seifas, his long lean face the perfect picture of dignity, is laughing boisterous roars, his bright white teeth all shining . . .

I didn’t laugh.
I seethed, and was seized with a burning itch to fly down the hill, to rend the joy of those people.

The force of that joy quelled me instead.
I didn’t want to face it.
I was afraid to face it.

So I turned, and skulked to my tent.
As far as I know, no one even watched me.

I told myself I wasn’t retreating. Let them have their fun. I was practical. I was pragmatic. Wasn’t this partly what vendors were for?—to entertain the troops?
I didn’t entirely succeed in ignoring the differences, of joy and fun and pleasure. But I managed not to think of it.
No . . . I managed to think away from it.
I strode into my tent, and poured a mug of mead, and sat and stewed. Even Hud [her staff accountant] had gone to join the escalating party. Fine. Whatever.

. . . and then to my mind, there sprang an image of me, dancing and singing.

How ridiculous! I had never once sung in my life . . . !
—but I remembered now, that I had danced, long ago.

I remembered: how I had danced the dances of little girls who wanted to dance the dances of women; how I enjoyed my play, how I had looked with a clean admiration—that which poisoned turns to envy—upon the girls who were finally ready to dance the very best dances.
I had wanted so badly to dance those dances . . .

I wept unblinking tears; refusing to admit that I was weeping, wanting to murder those memories.
I hated them.
I loved them.
I missed them.

But I refused to close my eyes and cry.


I have to agree with firstborn888 here. I once visited church with a friend, and during the service the majority of the congregation were whispering and talking aloud (some loudly) when the pastor prayed. I found it VERY distracting-even mildly annoying. However, I didn’t feel that I was “missing out” on anything because I was distracted. I just thanked my friend for inviting me to his church, and I went on my merry way. For that group of people, that particular “style” of worship and prayer “works”-for me…not so much. If it is God’s will that something is SUPPOSED to be edifying to you it WILL be. I think that God reveals himself to us according to His timeframe and in methods we understand and enjoy. Then we are built up accordingly.