Pentecostalism is a fundamentalist religious movement within Christianity that places special emphasis on the direct personal experience of God through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, as shown in the Biblical account of the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Pentecostalism is an umbrella term including a wide range of different theological and organizational perspectives. As a result, there is no central organization or church which directs the movement.
Assemblies of God is the world’s largest Pentecostal denomination, with over 283,413 churches and outstations in over 200 countries (including 12,311 churches in the U.S.) and approximately 57 million adherents worldwide… they claim to be adding 5,000 adherents a day. Sarah Palin belongs to an Assemblies of God congregation.
Pentecostalism is about polar opposite to Unitarian Universalism, my denomination. The folks John McCain was hoping to win over with the selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate are evangelicals like her. UUs like me are beyond appalled. But there are 200,000 of us, and many many millions of them. Would they fall for her, hook line and stinker lies?
At least two of them say NO! (Consider this my Sunday inspirational post)…
The first was an evangelical Christian who calls himself ex VRWC. He wrote a post on DailyKos, We Are Out Here:
We are out here – the Republicans or ex-Republicans who will no longer tolerate the racist, despicable slime machine that the right wing and the John McCain-Sarah Palin campaign has become. I know, for I am one of them. I am not your typical progressive, being an ex- Air Force officer (9 years), evangelical Christian, card carrying conservative, Rush/Hannity listener – an now an Obama supporter in John McCain’s home state of Arizona. [follow the link to read the whole thing, it’s terrific.]
And then a gal named angeleyes responded with this:
I’m a proud Pentecostal, tongue-talkin’, creationist, pro-life Evangelical Democrat
Yes, you read the title of my diary correct. I am in fact all of those things (however, in regards to “creationism” I’m not a “young earther”). I believe in the bible literally. To some of you, I might as well be committed for being as crazy as a loon, but trust me – I’m really quite sane. Sane and enthusiastically voting for Barack Obama this fall! And here’s the kicker: I’m voting for Barack BECAUSE of my Faith!
So how did I get here? …
Quite simply, a lot of us thought that God, through George Bush, was going to restore a sense of morality to this County. We believed he would be moral and compassionate. I know, I know, but that’s what we honestly believed. Plus, it wasn’t the first time I fell for a man that I just wanted to have a beer with!
But during 2004 something happened, and I won’t ever forget it. As I was piddling through the house during the ’04 Democratic convention, I heard this man begin to speak from the podium. It was Barack Obama. I literally ran from kitchen into the living room to see this man. I can remember feeling like a fresh breeze had just blow throughout the country. In the fall of ’04, I still pulled the lever for George Bush, but this time I did it with much trepidation.
Slowly but surely, my eyes began to open and I began to take a broad view of the world around me. The war had began to descend into a incredible debacle, the economy began to slide, and I noticed a bitter divisiveness in this country that repulsed me. And I asked myself this question: Is this what God had in mind?
You see, in the book of Matthew in the bible, Jesus said that a tree is judged by its fruit. I don’t have the right to judge another human being, but I CAN judge the fruit of their actions. All I saw from the works of the Republican Party was orchards and orchards of trees with rotten fruit. I then realized that as much as I seemingly had “in common” with Republican Right-Wing Christians, I wasn’t really one of them. We may believe the same things, but we’re coming from a different place. I believe in the things I believe in because I have a relationship with God, not with a party.
The Republican Party is NOT God’s Party, period! I’ve spent more than a few years now studying the life of Jesus Christ – his ways, his conduct. He uplifted those around him, he didn’t condemn them. He gave them hope, not despair. He spoke to the better parts of their character, not tore them apart for their completely human flaws. When God said He was love, he meant it.
… True leaders see each person, especially those that they lead, as precious, treasured sons and daughters of the same God that loves them. And never has this fact been more obviously and clearly displayed to me than when I compared and contrasted the Democratic and the Republican Conventions. You see, I get Sarah Palin’s Christian background. I’m of the SAME background, so I don’t have a problem with that. I DO have a problem with how “careless” she and other right-wingers are with their words. I watched the speakers at the Republican Convention go on an out-and-out vitriolic tirade. I was embarrassed and ashamed that people would hear these folks and associate them with me and my Faith. When Sarah Palin was speaking, I just became so sad. What an awesome opportunity she had! To ascend to a national stage and make God proud. But look at the fruit: anger, bitterness, strife, division. The fruit of their tree is just plain rotten.
To make it clear, I don’t see Barack Obama as a “Messiah”. No man will ever hold that place in my eyes again. But to me, Barack’s leadership inspires hope and speaks of a better future. The fruit of his tree is good. Just look around. Across this nation, and in fact this world, he inspires a sense of joy about our future. I believe Christ, who to me was the ultimate leader, did the same.
So as an Evangelical Christian, conventional wisdom these days says I’m fired up and energized. That’s right. I am! The viciousness, the condescension, the “elitism” from Republicans; it certainly lit a fire under this Evangelical Christian, but not the kind the Republicans were looking for! I’m fired up to say loud and clear that they don’t speak for me, my family, none of my friends, acquaintances, or my church family! And I will not sit idly by while the name and character of the God I love so dearly is hitched to a bunch of folks who can’t even follow these simple words spoken by Jesus: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Matthew 7:12.
I’m voting for Barack Obama in the fall. And I’ll be praising God all the way!