A Bar Called Church
Published on: April 27, 2011
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  • Wayne Lusvardi

    How much of Pentecostalism is a reaction to the bureaucratization and rationalization of life and churches as well? This reminds me of Max Weber’s comment about living in the Iron Cage of bureaucracy:

    “No one knows who will live in this cage in the future or at the end of this tremendous development entirely new prophets will arise, or there will be a great rebirth of old ideas and ideals, or if neither, mechanized petrifaction, embellished with a sort of convulsive self importance. For of the last stage of this cultural development, it might truly be said: “Specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart; this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilization never before achieved…But this brings us to the world of judgements of value and faith…”

    Pentecostalist might be said to be those who do not desire a bureaucratic form of religion, of hierarchy, of gender roles (many women ministers), of restraint of emotion and spontaneity, of confinement of life to only a horizontal dimension, or the necessity of large edifices for meeting and worship. Since Pentecostalism began in California it has always struck me as a phenomenon that is the opposite of the Dept. of Motor Vehicles (DMV) [“take a number,” “wait your turn,” “no smoking,” etc.].

  • Mike Douglas

    Raised hands hardly establishes the church as Pentecostal. I attend a Presbyterian, definitely non-Pentecostal church, and people raise their hands there every Sunday. Maybe the author just needed a segue to talk about Pentecostalism, which is indeed a world-wide phenonemon. Pentecostalism is emotional and ecstatic, which are also non bureautic. Those people long for a ‘tangeable’ experience with transcendence, not a packaged and managed experience with an organization.

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