Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners


Evangelicals, God Talk and Hearing Voices

“Is that you, God? I’m listening.”

Stanford anthropologist TM Luhrmann, whose latest book is When God Talks Back, has been studying evangelicals and their approach to prayer.  Luhrmann recently described in an article for The Daily Beast how that field work experience in at least one sense signified a conversion: Luhrmann did not walk a way having become an evangelical- or a Christian, for that matter; but with a newfound understanding- maybe even appreciation for- what evangelicals really mean when they say God “talks” to them in the stuff of life.

And, come to think of it, it must seem awfully odd for non-religious persons to hear expressions like “God told me to go talk to that stranger” or “God called me to work in Haiti.”  I suspect that we evangelicals, many of us, know at least sort of what we mean when we say such things.  Some inner conviction by the Holy Spirit, maybe.  Or, an unusual stirring of the heart strings.  Maybe just a recurring thought in the vein of “whatever is true…noble…right…pure…lovely” (Philippians 4:8).  Sometimes intuition itself.

Usually when we say God “speaks” to us we do not mean that we are literally ”hearing voices.”  (Those of us who do mean this, presumably need to talk to a psychotherapist in addition to God.)

But Luhrmann’s studies and reflections beg the question: how do we describe what it means to hear God’s voice in our lives?  When have we heard God speak to us? When did we think we heard God speak to us and it turned out we were wrong?  How might we describe for a stranger what it means that God speaks to us and that we listen?  Leave your insights below!

[Special thanks to saint and sinner Paul Dover for introducing me to Luhrmann's article.]

 



Previous Posts

Mental Health Break—"Stile Antico"
Since it's been a while since our last mental health break...today's feature is the choral ensemble "Stile Antico" singing Thomas Tallis' "Miserere nostri." A friend introduced me to the group, and I'm so glad she did. Now they accompany me often in the car. En route to work sites. Picking up the ki

posted 11:00:20am Apr. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Easter Tremors
16 When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away

posted 12:30:19pm Apr. 20, 2014 | read full post »

The Witness: A Good Friday Sermon
For the last three years I've had the privilege of participating in an annual ecumenical and interracial Good Friday service, "Women's Views o

posted 2:50:15pm Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »

The Vatican Diaries: A Review
Sex. Money. Power. Corruption. Controversy. Scandal. Since the 1980's Catholic News Service reporter John Thavis has been covering all of it and more—not from a post in Las Vegas or the nation's Capitol but from (of all places) the Vatican. Which may explain why Thavis prefaces his New York

posted 11:06:12am Apr. 11, 2014 | read full post »

Lent Madness
In an effort to infuse this often somber season of Lent with a little humor and motivational pizzazz, one Episcopalian priest in Massachusetts has invented "Lent Madness." Four years ago Rev. Tim Schenck started the initiative, which pits some 32 saints in a basketball-type bracket squaring off as r

posted 9:58:05am Apr. 03, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.