Drunk in the Holy Spirit

I was already confused about faith. The last thing I needed was for my college buddy to get drunk...in the spirit.

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“What are you talking about?”

“We all got drunk, man. Drunk in the Spirit.” He giggles.

“You got drunk in the Spirit?”

“Yeah, Patton. Shhhhit wasssh sho powerfulsh!”

Awkwardly, slurringly, Dwayne explains that he and some friends had been attending revival meetings all week at a church downtown. Tonight, Dwayne says, the Holy Spirit showed up in a major way and fell on the whole congregation. People were falling over. They were laughing. They were shouting in new prayer languages. They were getting drunk in the Holy Ghost. Dwayne drank so hard and long that some friends had to drive him back to campus. He would pick up his car tomorrow.

If, over the last few months, I have stood off to the side and held my doubt in suspension like a rubber band stretched long and thin, tonight it snaps completely in two. I don’t believe a word Dwayne is saying. I’m sure he’s been bamboozled. I am disgusted—not because I am convinced that God would not work this way, but because I’m convinced He hasn’t done it tonight, not in Dwayne. What good can be produced of this? Dwayne is happy now, but won’t he have a spiritual hangover? What will he do when the drug doesn’t work next time, when his tolerance has increased to the point that he needs something even more overextended in order to feel the love of God?



I don’t believe a word of it, and although the thought sickens me I don’t believe that Dwayne really believes it either. I know this guy. I know how his heart and mind work. We have prayed together, talked until all hours, studied the Bible. I know he is simply trying to serve God, to be faithful to Who he believes has created him and given him life. He’s doing his best to be a Christian, but he’s not experiencing anything genuine tonight at all. And deep down inside, I know he knows it.

When Dwayne finishes telling me about how marvelous the evening was and how I gotta go back with him tomorrow night, I tell him to look me in the eyes. He does, still grinning sheepishly.

“Dwayne,” I say, “Be real.”

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