I wish so much that I had more time to write reflectively! Tonight I must do Hebrew and study for an ethics quiz. I'm moderately interested in Hebrew. I am not interested in doing ethics.
I attended a Pentecostal church for several years during part of my undergraduate study. My experience there was a mixture of good things and very negative and frightening things. I think that most people had their hearts in the right place; but they did not know how to tolerate the places in life where God is silent or the places in life where God does not make everything all right. I heard a clip earlier of James Dobson praying for God's "perfect will" to be done, and I reacted very strongly to it. God's "perfect will" does not get done in a democracy where people are free to make their own choices. God's permissive will gets done in these situations. So where is God when things don't go as well as we hope? He is still there walking through with us. I do not lose touch with Him just because the political climate in the country does or doesn't supposedly favor him. Life with God is much more complex than that, and I feel that this kind of reference to his "perfect will" makes people lose sight of what that term really means.
Is there such a thing as spiritual warfare? Yes, but I think it is something that needs to be understood well and is not something to be played with by people who don't yet have much ground in their own faith. That is how spiritual abuses are committed; and people are turned away from the church by this kind of behavior. We cannot do spiritual warfare if we do not know how to pray, how to think about God, how to determine the difference between an illness that needs healing and an illness that is degenerative and requires the ministry of presence and an illness that represents a matter of spiritual concern. We can't do spiritual warfare when we try to engage in spiritual warfare instead of responding appropriately to socio-economic problems or taking responsibility for our own thoughts and actions. Spiritual warfare is not a matter of shouting and speaking gibberish and a few hallelujahs over someone. It is about acting, praying, and thinking in ways consistent with God's character.
These are just preliminary thoughts. This is a topic I'd really like to study in depth. I need to spend a lot of time examining my past and the issues involved and figure out what I want to study... This really is not a project to do while school is in session.