Thursday, March 15, 2007

Currently Writing...

I'm engrossed in writing two articles for the Gause fetschrift at present. One, which was assigned by the editors, is a bibliographic essay on his works. The second one is an article on the experience of Spirit Baptism as testified to in early Pentecostalism. Students from the one hour research seminary on Spirit Baptism last Spring may read in it some of the discoveries made in that really wonderful class. Writing the bibliographic essay is a real honor for me. However, it is one of the most difficult pieces I've ever done. How do you analyze and discuss the diverse writing of your geru
who has been writing for sixty years? I covet your prayers!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Society for Pentecostal Studies and the Sounds of History

SPS held their annual meeting this past week-end at Lee University in Cleveland. The theme was the Role of Experience, so most plenary sessions focused on that in some way.

David Daniels presidential address was the most provocative, I think. The address focused on the sounds of Pentecostalism as a way of "hearing history". It was illustrated with sound clips of Pentecostal music/preaching/praying. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference!

I just read a recent NY Times article on a Latino Pentecostal storefront in New York City. It reminded me of David's address. The author referred frequently to sounds: shrieks, tambourine jingles, Latin music, cries, tongues. One line particularly captured Pentecostalism I thought. The writer noted, "Children preach like adults and adults wail like children."

I was intrigued by David's historical methodology. I think this approach gives us an even more appropriate vehicle by which to study movements. Obviously this approach cannot be utilized with every movement as we have no recordings or even descriptions of the sounds one would have heard (one can imagine the moans of some of the Desert Fathers....and for those who took "vows of silence" the lack of sound is telling!; we might also imagine sounds of those being persecuted in the Early Church; now, since seeing "Amazing Grace" I will always think of Wilberforce's fight as sounding like the rowdy "discussions" in Parliament). While imagination is a valuable tool for historians, it can't be documented! Fortunately, for those of us who are studying the 20th c. movements, there are plenty of documented sounds.