Friday, August 27, 2010

Waiting for the Holy Spirit with Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck is certainly aiming high. Tonight, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, he will "help heal your soul" at his "America's Divine Destiny" event. Then tomorrow, at his "Restoring Honor" event at the Lincoln Memorial, he expects the Spirit to speak.

Unfortunately, unless you're a paid subscriber to his "Insider Extreme" service, you won't be able to hear or see tonight's event as it unfolds. But you can follow "Restoring Honor" on Facebook or on C-Span at 10 a.m., EDT.

Several anti-Beck commentators are expecting a hate-fest on Saturday. Beck, however, reproves them for that, probably rightly, and says that that will not happen. He's banned all political signs and political speeches. He's said of his own speech that he's prepared only a few bullet points, as he wants to give the Holy Spirit an opportunity to speak. That would presumably involve speaking through him. He says that the Spirit often roars (or shouts - I forget his exact words) in his ears without him hearing it. So, evidently, he's seeking that still quiet place within himself to allow for words that will, as he promises, change America.

Glenn Beck also promises this: "You're going to see the Spirit of God unleashed". And adds: "unlike you have probably ever seen it before." Then, modestly qualifying his claim, he said "At least at a public function."

So be prepared.

Brother Glenn's promise calls to mind a passage from Jeremiah that I was given to read as a lector at church two Sundays ago. It's chapter 23, beginning at the 23rd verse. The most pertinent lines are verses 25-29:

"I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, "I have dreamed, I have dreamed!" How long? Will the hearts of the prophets ever turn back — those who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart. They plan to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, just as their ancestors forgot my name for Baal. Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let the one who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? says the Lord. Is not my word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?"

Martin Luther King, Jr., had a dream. A hope, not a prophecy. What does Glenn Beck have? A vision of the Divine Destiny of our nation-state. (It's good that he despises the concept of Manifest Destiny, but Divine Destiny strikes me as much more presumptuous.)

"Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let the one who has my word speak my word faithfully." What will we hear from Glenn? Should his promises -- or boasts -- lead us to think it will be another example of "the deceit of their own hearts"?

Stay tuned.

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