I'm not sure, these days, and it worries me.
See, I'm a charismatic - in that I experience God moving in my life through tangible things that He does and a part of that is gifts, like speaking in tongues, that He has given us - and yet I'm part of a church which has a moderately non-charismatic, and pretty much evangelical, culture.
There was a time when, with the understanding I have now of evangelicalism (I might have once thought it vaguely related to outreach, even though I knew that wasn't what it meant) I'd have run a mile from it, decided it was too busy following its own traditions and quickly gone somewhere else. The idea that I could compromise my values and expectations enough to actually be part of the leadership, let alone carry some of the responsibility for shaping its character would have horrified me. And as for making some of the promises and commitments that becoming a church warden has required me to take.... beyond the pale! ;-)
And yet this is where I find myself.
Earlier in the week I was looking for a recording of something I'd said in church last year, then ended up listening to the whole recording. If you really want to hear it for yourself then it's up on soundcloud as a tale of 2 halves.
It was meant to be an encouragement to the church, something to raise expectations of what God was going to do with us. Listening again it both encourages me now, and yet also makes me ask "why haven't we started moving into those things?". And also "what has happened to me since then - why am I so discouraged?"
And this is where the cross-over into the evangelical side is happening.
At the end of the sermon we prayed for a number of people, trusting that God would be at work in them, and since that time one of them has expressed a sense of vocation and begun preaching. I don't know how/if the lives of any others were affected. But this isn't what I was expecting or looking for - God moving in the subtle, intangible, hard to pinpoint ways. The evangelical ways, The ways where, you know God is quietly working, lives are gradually shifting and changing, difficult situations survived, everyone mostly getting along, aging quietly.
In one sense it's great, fantastic, but in another, this isn't what I signed up for - incremental Christianity, where it's often hard to tell the difference between the Christians and the rest.
Do I want fireworks in church then?
Well, a bit.
I love that people's lives ARE changing, but I miss the sense of the reality of God breaking in. I can walk around the church building praying happily in both English and tongues, but come time for a church meeting, it's all quiet, respectable and evangelical. If we are so inoffensive in our meeting times, it makes me wonder how much the real Jesus is actually present and how much we're just following another tradition, but an evangelical one instead of CoE, where He gets to occasionally look in if He's lucky?
No stones thrown at anyone BTW - I'm just trying to think through things, and ask why they are as they are. If it offends you then consider this to be me showing my inadequacy.