I am a “Charismatic” by biblical conviction and experience. I am also a Scot. I am meant to look and sound like a redeemed and baptised in the Holy Spirit Scot!
In an address to the House of Commons at some point in the 1920’s or 30’s the author John Buchan ( “The Thirty Nine Steps” etc.), who was an MP and became Governor General of Canada said this:
“In language, literature and art we are losing our idiom, and it seems to many that we are in danger very soon of reaching the point where Scotland will have nothing distinctive to show to the world.”
I read that yesterday in the introduction to a book of Buchan’s short stories. I couldn’t help but relate it with a measure of sadness to the state of things charismatic in Scotland.
Undoubtedly our culture has its blind spots and there are things to learn from those who know Jesus Christ from cultures very distinctly different from our own, but…but what distinctive offering do Scottish Charismatics have to offer to the Charismatic scene? Is there nothing more to God’s purpose for us than that we repent of being Scottish and accept franchised and well marketed versions of the Charismatic life from beyond our borders and shores, which though usually offered in humility and with sincerity of motive, often seem unintentionally to ride roughshod over God intended and God glorifying national and/or regional cultural diversity?
Leaving aside regional variations, what is our distinctive national spiritual “idiom” as Scottish Charismatics? I am not sure that I know or can put it into words. Perhaps it is better “felt than telt”?
Answers on a postcard to…
As one who loves to be in Scotland I squirm a little at churches imitating the “American” way or the “Australian” way. I am a Welsh Charismatic, with all the ups and downs of a true Celt. We may be “too emotional” or “too dramatic” but nothing raises my spirit than hearing my countrymen singing Mae deusiau di bob awr…I need Thee every hour I’m sure it’s the same for my fellow Scottish Charismatics. Keep singing your sound, God gave it to you alone .
“Repent of being Scottish…” Ha ha! As an Englishman it’s my privilege to be mentored by a Welshman and (if following your blog counts, which it does) by a Scotsman too. So I am delighted have two such spiritual “fathers” provided this in no way makes me Welsh or Scottish…
In pondering your question, I suggest the answer lies not in your being a Charismatic (the Spirit is the Spirit, wherever we’re from) but in your Scottishness. So what common “idiom” might we glean from examining other Scottish leaders?
As a sports fan I immediately smile as I think of Sir Alex Ferguson, Jim Telfer, Sir Jackie Stewart etc, etc…. Unflinching, uncompromising, determined that their approach is right (and rightly motivated) and that it will be conveyed and received as such, come what may!
So continue to be the passionate, inspiring, implacable advocate of what is ultimately, eternally “right” Kenny – there’s your Scottish Charismatic for you. Just for pity’s sake lay off the bagpipes.
I remember overhearing a comment from an Englishman on “those intense young Scots!” & can’t help thinking that something of that plain, direct, unvarnished intensity is a historic mark of Scottish spirituality. It is related to a profound reverence for God & maybe also to the perilous hardship of lives spent wringing out a subsistence from Northern soil or ocean. I often wonder what of value remains of our Scottish religious heritage both in reality and in the minds of the current generation. But, praise God, there are still vital traces to be found (not least in Kenny’s blog!) along with the promise of more to come.