There are some people from around the world that think that to photograph them is to steal their soul. Imagine that. I kind of understand what they mean. Any time you make static what is dynamic, you lose the real intrinsic value contained within. Let me give you an example: every atom in the universe is built with a nucleus and an electron cloud. The reason it is called an electron cloud is that the electron is in all places at the same time! So, if it were possible to photograph an atom and “freeze” the electron, it would cease to be an atom. Do you see where I am going? The real essence in all of creation is the eternal and the infinite. We cannot comprehend these things with our weak, logical and fallen minds. They are spiritually discerned and therefore cannot be fully expressed in words. This is considered weakness in the scientific community, and therefore science has to admit its own weakness. For example, science can tell you part of the How but none of the Why. Science describes, as best it can, the intricate but woefully incomplete version of reality. Every time I try to express spiritual truth in words, the words can become photographs, robbing it of its true essence. But, people who understand the Holy Spirit (too few I’m afraid) and how He works, know that one can see past the words. Almost like speaking in code for lack of a better explanation. We can see dimly and partially taste the divine in paintings, in poems, in Scripture, in people’s lives, in books, and actually all around us. Life “speaks” to us and touches us in ways only the heart and spirit can discern. That being said, can you capture the Holy Spirit on T.V? or video-record Him in action? or “press in” in public?
From what I know through experience and my personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, I know that He is a very personal, yet shy personality. He operates in love and retreats silently within us when sin rules in His place. If He operates in love, then what are we to make of the following verse?
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; I Corinthians 13:4
So as I stare in wonder and confusion at the supposed televised version of my God, I have to ask myself: Is anyone or anything parading itself? Is this preacher/pastor puffed up? Does what I am looking at look like love? Or does it look like a spectacle, begging for attention? Would the Holy Spirit “parade” around for the cameras? Do we seek a sign?
Don’t get me wrong, the Spirit is very real. The Spirit is also God! And God reveals Himself to those who seek Him with all their heart…not those who tune in at 8:00pm on Thursday night. I don’t think that “diligently seeking Him” means channel surfing! But I will hold my judgment for now as I try to love my brethren. Who is to say whether or not the people in the live audience are experiencing the Holy Spirit? I know I have felt the Spirit move in congregations, but at the time I didn’t look around for cameras! I know that when I watch these “miracle” and “healing” videos and televised sermons, I am not feeling His presence personally. “Wisdom is known by her children”…so what gives? I should recognize the Spirit…right? The Spirit, according to Scripture, agrees between individual believers in Christ. The Spirit does not confuse, but rather edifies! Why do I not feel edified while watching people gyrate on the floor or be slain in the spirit en mass?
Just a thought here…because I speak as a natural man …maybe the Holy Spirit is camera-shy. Faith is the evidence of things not seen; so is that video evidence of things not seen? I guess it could be, but that doesn’t seem right. Maybe I’m just being obtuse here, but the whole thing just doesn’t sit right with me. That could be my weakness and lack of forward thinking. I have been moved and inspired by watching some teachers on Christian Television and video productions, have felt the Spirit stirring me through good teaching and preaching on television, but never have I felt the inspiration in my spirit, let alone the Holy Spirit, during one of these taped or live events presumably showing the movement of the Spirit! Honestly, why do these productions look so much like a carnival? Is God being lifted up here? I guess this could be a way of reaching folk that otherwise wouldn’t be reached (Speaking concerning folk who are not Christians); I guess you would have to be the type of person that reads The National inquirer, actively seeks out the UFO that occasionally does a fly by through the neighborhood or actually believes that pro wrestling is real…it is O.K. to be that type of person (although you have to admit that pro wrestling is fake) and we don’t want to exclude anyone from the kingdom of God. So I guess the jury is still out.
What bothers me is that the Holy Spirit is real and wants a personal relationship with each Christian, but I would hate to think that some of these shows taint the water or skew the order of things. A Christian seeking His presence may feel confused or even terrified of the Spirit. We fear the unknown…it is only natural. But Christ Himself tells us that the Holy Spirit of God will teach and lead us and manifest Christ to us! What an amazing promise. I know this: the Spirit is overwhelming and the most amazing gift to Christians…I just don’t want people to miss out! To my knowledge and experience, the Spirit is one of those “you had to be there” kind of experiences. So if you don’t understand the Holy Spirit yet, PLEASE don’t base your perspective or understanding of Him on what you see on television or the internet! Some people I’m sure will ask: “Well, how do we know when we are in the presence of the Holy Spirit?” My answer: “You will know beyond a shadow of a doubt!” His real-ness will invade your definition of what “real” actually is…and what you can’t see will become more real than what your natural eyes can see. That you can take to the bank. So whether you experience Him in a congregation or in private or both, look around for cameras! If anyone out there who reads this can testify to the validity of these video events…please comment and let me know. I don’t want to be ignorant or ill-informed. If you have felt the Spirit while watching one of these programs, please tell us! I promise you, I will not criticize or patronize. Everyone who reads my articles knows that I roll in love and acceptance! And the last thing I want to do is to be disrespectful toward another or even worse, put the Spirit into a box! I just really want to know if it is only me or what?