October 26, 2010

God Numbered The Hairs On Your Head, But Will He Whiten Your Teeth?

Now I will be the first to admit that my Baptist upbringing makes me a little uneasy with the charismatic spiritual gifts, and experiences. While I readily admit their historical presence in scripture I find myself as much of a skeptic about modern day 'outpourings' as your average atheist.

I do believe in miracles and that God answers prayers. I expect that from time to time someone will be healed from an otherwise terminal disease. But after that I find myself floundering. Things like visions, tongues and on stage mass healings just don't sit well with me.

It's something I am working on, because after all I don't want to, as it is so often said, 'put God in a box'. One thing that has helped me is meeting well spoken intelligent charismatics. These people according to my bias shouldn't exist. They do of course and the more I talk with them my stereotypes (that most of these so called spiritual experiences can be chalked up too; a) a con-artist taking advantage of desperate people, or b) idiots and weirdos) about them dies a little more.

But then I run in to things like this video. And this guy has idiot and weirdo all sowed up. The video in short talks about two things. One at some rally this guy (Joshua Mills) was conducting the Holy Spirit showed up and started to whiten peoples teeth leaving their breath minty fresh. And if that isn't enough to get your weirdo meter ticking the next thing he talks about is people teleporting from his rally to other countries.

Now admittedly God teleporting me around sounds cool. I just drove a bunch of teens on a retreat. Arranging drives and paying for gas is a pain in the butt. If God could just plop us wherever we wanted to go that would be really convenient. He doesn't which is a real shame.

Looking at the bible as far as I can tell this type of miracle happened once. I mean Paul had to walk all over the Roman empire, you'd think if anyone would have logged some Holy Spirit travel miles it would have been him. This just seems foolish to me.

But what about the teeth whitening? I have a hard enough time understanding why God decides to heal one person of cancer and not another. Or why some people get married while others earnestly pray for a spouse only to die alone. Or why some people have wonderful happy health children while others remain childless, or even end up having to bury their child. But at least with all of these things I chalk it up to God's providence, human free will, the presence of evil in the world, and so on.

You can whiten your teeth with ultraviolet light or The Holy Spirit, Your Call 
But how do you look at a soul suffering at the graveside of their child and feel good about God whitening someone's teeth. I suppose most of the same arguments for why God did one thing another and not another still stand, but they feel even more unsatisfying.

Maybe I'm putting God in a box by saying teeth whitening is below him, and that he ought to be doing something more important. But I think this is one box I am going to hold on too. Now if you'll excuse me I am going to go brush my teeth.


  1. I couldn't even watch 1 minute of the video... ulgh!

    I'm in that box with you on this one!