I’ve always liked editorials — you know, those articles that newspapers post (I suppose they also “print” them…like on “paper”; physical newspapers are still a thing, right?!) featuring the opinion of one of their writers. Once the word “Opinion” is typed in, well, that writer pretty much has free reign to just spout off whatever comes to mind (you mean like what you’re doing right now, Joel?). “Opinion” informs the reader that facts have become optional and that sheer emotion will drive the stream of thought that follows (do streams need drivers, Joel? Come on…).
Of course, for these writers, they still have an editor to get past — much like this post (oh yeah, we have editors and such here, too). Theoretically, the editor will be able to halt anything overly outrageous from going out there on the global line (“line” here is being used as shorthand for “online”; it saves lots of time and characters — just think of all the time I would have wasted if I had written “online” moments ago instead of just “line.” Editor note: Joel’s tomfoolery here is borderline, but we’ll keep it this time). The reason for editing is simple: ethics.
The Apostle Paul had something quite remarkable, and perhaps even offensive to our modern sensibilities, to say about this: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
Paul is describing the “body” in two very important ways. First, Paul says that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. We are “em-bodying” the Spirit in and through everything we do. That means, consequently, that our embodied-actions as Pentecostal-Christians should resemble the Spirit. Relatedly, this Spirit embodiment is shared by all those that constitute what we call the “Church.” This brings us to our second point: as a Christian (Pentecostal no less), I am not autonomous…I do not get to do, or in this case say, whatever I want. In short, I am not an individual who gets to exert or express my-self.
Who wants to guess where I’m going to go with this???
It has been exceedingly disheartening to explore social media the past several months. Many Pentecostal-Christians, those of us who perhaps most profess a kind of Spirit-guided existence and Spirit-embodiment, repeatedly exert the “self” through unfiltered opinions on everything from politics (I know, you’ve probably not noticed) to parenting to sports:
Hey world, here’s what I’m thinking right now! Would I say it if I thought about it for a few more minutes? Well, likely no…that’s why I need to post it quickly!!! Anger!!!
My point is a simple one: Pentecostal-Christians do not have individual, detached opinions. Such things are antithetical (and anti-ethical) to the message of Christ. We embody the Spirit and are a part of the Body of Christ.
So, that is why we have editors on this site, and that is why we write in community. Unlike other blogs, we do not privilege one voice. We aren’t denouncing those who do, of course. But, at the same time, we don’t think that is how we are supposed to live…at least not according to that one document…
Note from the Editorial Team: Engaged Pentecostalism is a community that values open dialogue and respectful engagement from different perspectives. The views expressed above are the author's own and do not reflect those of every part of the community.