This time, Mackenzie has Hye Sung from the Friendly Fire Collective on the show as a guest, to talk about charismatic gifts. And it’s a long one, because we are going to talk about all the charismatic gifts we can think of!
Years ago, Mackenzie told someone that Quakers speak from the Spirit. The question that came back was “in English or in tongues?” Mackenzie hadn’t yet read Micah’s blog post on Quakers speaking in tongues, so she assured the person the answer was English (or other local language). Then she met Hye Sung, who is very open about being a charismatic Quaker.
A few months ago, someone on Reddit got really upset at the idea that Quakers could be charismatic. Hye Sung finds that Quakers are deeply suspicious of charismatic gifts. It’s not just the universalist Liberal Quaker sorts who find charismatic gifts weird. The Evangelical Christian ones do too. In fact, the Vineyard Church movement only exists because Quakers in California kicked out a bunch of folks who were experiencing charismatic gifts. Joke’s on them, because it turns out Quakers have a long history with charismatic gifts. We just don’t often acknowledge that’s what’s going on.
Quakerism is charismatic
Charismatic means it’s full of the Spirit. That’s definitely our claim too. To very reserved Quakers, saying this makes us charismatic might sound funny. Or it might sound like trying to bolt something new on. Funny enough, George Fox is held up as a charismatic figure by some modern day Pentecostals! In the 1650s, there was a man named John Gilpin who joined the Quakers for a while. Later, he left and denounced Quakerism. His account of the things he did and saw while he was a Quaker sounds like some of the things you see in Pentecostal churches. Of course, he afterward attributed them to the Devil, not to the Spirit.
Charismatic is also contrasted with cessationist—the idea that God ceased to speak after the Bible was compiled. So, right off the bat, the fact that we believe we get messages from the Spirit during worship has already put us in that category. Vocal ministry is charismatic! Also, some of us really do quake! Being moved by the Spirit is a very traditionally charismatic thing.
Tongues – Glossolalia
“If I speak in the tongues or men or of angels, but I have not love…”
Glossolalia is the name for that speaking in the tongues of angels. We talk about speaking in tongues as a way to get centered. Some people call it their prayer language. We talk about praying in tongues when the feeling is too big for words. How many times and ways can you give thanks? How many times and ways can you call for help?
Tongues – Xenoglossy
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”
— Acts 2:1–11 (NIV)
Xenoglossy is about foreign languages. The Book of Acts is somewhat unclear about how the miracle on Pentecost happened. Were they each speaking a different foreign language? Or were they speaking their own language but being heard in many?
We know a Friend who experienced xenoglossy, while on a missions trip. He was ministering to a widow with no mutual language. When the translator arrived, he was very confused to find our friend speaking English and being understood by this woman. She was speaking her own language, and he was understanding. She insisted he spoke her language perfectly. He insisted she spoke English perfectly. The translator tested them then insisted this was just too freaky. (And then the Baptists kicked him out because it was too freaky, so now he’s a Quaker.)
Word of Knowledge
To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,
— 1 Cor 12:8 (NIV)
Word of knowledge is the name for knowing things you have no reason to know. Stories abound of Quaker traveling ministers speaking perfectly to the condition of those they visit, without being told what’s going on beforehand. When Samuel Bownas was young, traveling minister Anne Wilson visited his meeting. She pointed at him and said, “A traditional Quaker, thou comest to meeting as thou went from it [the last time] and goes from it as thou came to it, but art no better for thy coming; what wilt thou do in the end?” He heard the truth in her words, changed, and became a great minister. His advice for ministers is still passed along among Quakers.
And funny enough, just a few days before this episode aired, Quaker Rhiannon Grant in the UK asked a question on Facebook. She wanted to know about Quakers not saying “thanks” for things. In the comments, one woman said she gives messages that are very different than usual. They aren’t general. They’re specific. She often doesn’t remember them and never knows who they’re for. She gave the example of saying “they’re both alright; don’t worry.” Afterward, someone who’d come to meeting upset told her she’d received the message. Her family members had just been in an accident, and she’d had no update as to their condition. Well, now she had it.
That’s a word of knowledge.
This is possibly the hardest of the charismatic gifts to get your head around. Mackenzie thought Quakers weren’t into this. However, George Fox had a book of miracles. He supposedly raised the dead. Someone came out of a coma after James Nayler touched them. So, early Quakers were totally into it.
Apparently some modern Quakers do still believe in it. Mackenzie heard a Friend talk about his cancer going into remission after Friends from Ohio Yearly Meeting laid hands on him and prayed. That was his testimony.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
—John 1:12 (NIV)
Sometimes Liberal Friends talk about Jesus as being a human who was really full of the Light. One Liberal Friend heard that testimony and said she believed it. Her reasoning was that we could all, if we’re minding the Light, become as full of the Light as Jesus was. Then, we’d be able to do miracles just like he did.
We talk about feelings of joy and bliss. Sometimes that’s called being drunk on the Spirit. Or Hye Sung will say he’s drunk on the Spirit’s wine. We mentioned before shaking when you have a message or just shaking in general. Hey, we’re called Quakers. Hye Sung says it’s a manifestation when Mackenzie is overwhelmed in prayer and bows or prostrates. A lot of what John Gilpin described in 1653 would be called manifestations
There’s some disagreement about whether visions are one of the charismatic gifts. Even cessationists tend to believe visions are real.
The medieval mystic Teresa of Avila* wrote about the three types of visions and locutions (locutions = things you hear). Corporal visions appear to really be there, and they can’t be seen once you close your eyes. They’re sometimes imitated or faked by things like schizophrenia, though, so they’re regarded as lower order. Then there’s the imaginative vision, which you see in your mind’s eye. You continue seeing it with your eyes closed. That’s a higher level vision. Finally, there’s the intellectual vision, which is a feeling of presence without an actual visual component.
Hye Sung knows Mackenzie has visions, and he’s a pesky little brother. So, she shared about one of hers. She had it right before Mike Huber gave a message asking “what about your work?” at West Hills Friends Church on Oct 1, 2017.
* who did not actually write that “Christ has no body” poem. That was a Methodist-Quaker team-up.
- How the Vineyard Church began
- Stuart Masters on “‘Q’ is for Quaking: Charismatic and Pentecostal Aspects of the Quaker Way”
- QuakerSpeak video “Do Quakers Quake?”
- QuakerSpeak video “Listening in Tongues”
- John Gilpin “The Quakers Shaken: or A Fire-brand snach’d out of the Fire“
Mackenzie: Welcome back to Quaker Faith & Podcast, and this time there’s no Micah this time. It’s Mackenzie here, and I have a special guest, Hye Sung.
Hye Sung: Hi.
Mackenzie: Do you want to introduce yourself at all?
Hye Sung: Yeah. I’m Hye Sung, and I’m here in Philadelphia. Mackenzie is visiting me, and I’m a member of the Friendly Fire Collective.
Mackenzie: Okay. We met probably from Twitter, or Reddit, or something, years ago.
Hye Sung: The internet, yeah.
Mackenzie: The internet’s a cool thing.
Hye Sung: The Quaker blogosphere.
Mackenzie: I asked you to come on today to talk about the Charismatic gifts, and Quakerism. Like many others, I know you in significant part from your blog, where you talk about spirituality and Quakerism, and speaking in tongues. So it was really great meeting you at Micah’s birthday a couple of years ago. I know when I’ve explained Quakers to people before … One time a woman who grew up Pentecostal and had just cut her hair for the first time, because they’re against that, she responded, “Wait, wait. Speak from the spirit in English or in tongues?” I assured her that I meant English, but I didn’t know you yet.
Hye Sung: Fair.
Mackenzie: We decided to do this episode because you said that you found a lot of Quakers get weirded out by your religious experiences. I can definitely see a lot of people, especially among Liberal friends, suddenly remembering that they are late for that thing, you know, that thing over … not here, when you start talking too much about Jesus at coffee hour or mentioning speaking in tongues or anything like that. I know that you said you experienced some of that sort of stuff, even with distinctly Christ-centered program meetings, not just Liberal ones, right?
Hye Sung: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Mackenzie: Point the first, Quakers are totally a Charismatic tradition, right?
Hye Sung: I think so. I mean … Yeah, it’s like a pneuma-centered, pneuma-centric tradition.
Mackenzie: You’re going to have to say what the heck pneuma means.
Hye Sung: Spirit.
Mackenzie: Okay, thank you.
Hye Sung: Spirit is important.
Mackenzie: Oh, Greek. That was a Greek word.
Hye Sung: Yes!
Mackenzie: Thank you.
Hye Sung: The Holy Spirit is the medium of our spirituality. It’s like our … She’s everything to us, right? So I think … a lot of people don’t realize, they just kind of consider or just think that Charismatic worship is performative, but it’s actually also leaning in and being obedient to the Spirit. Isn’t that the goal of our worship as well, or Quaker worship?
Mackenzie: I would say just right off the bat, usually Christianity is divided into cessationists and Charismatics, right? And there is no way that we could be considered cessationists because that would mean that God stopped speaking when the Bible was compiled and finalized. In Meeting, where God is speaking through us, so it’s totally not us. Actually, when I told our friend Elijah that we were going to do this episode and mentioned some small things, like we’re called Quakers so quaking, small things that people sometimes do in Meeting that can be considered Charismatic. He was just like, “Vocal ministry is Charismatic.”
Hye Sung: That’s prophesying. Yes.
Mackenzie: Well, yes, that too. What is common Charismatic things that … what are those common things that you find with us?
Hye Sung: Well, I think something that my friend … I have some folks in Friends of Jesus Fellowship who have described Quakers as slow-moving Pentecostals and I think that is … there’s something to be said about that.
Mackenzie: Sometimes I say introverted Pentecostals.
Hye Sung: Yeah, yeah. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah, I think that some things could be … some similarities. I know that, so when people feel like they have a vocal ministry rising up in them, they’ll have a physical kind of experience, like they’ll start … I don’t know if the word ‘trembling’ is right, but they’ll start shaking a little or have some sense of vibration in their body and feel physically the word of God bubbling up in them.
Mackenzie: Yeah, I think Quaker Speak did a little video where they had people talk about so, “You’re called Quakers. Do you actually quake?”
Hye Sung: Yeah. How many of them said yes?
Mackenzie: Definitely some of them did, maybe half.
Hye Sung: Cool.
Mackenzie: I know if I have a message and I’m not sure if something is a message and I’m waiting to … then, for me, sometimes I’ll have shaking more … at least like my hand or something.
Hye Sung: Yeah. Or, your heart starts to race, that sort of thing.
Hye Sung: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I tend to shake no matter what, even if I don’t have a message.
Hye Sung: It’s just the life I live.
Mackenzie: I think a lot of time in Meeting … when we talk about listening at Meeting, we talk about this Still, Small Voice or, “Be still and know that I am God.” We’re talking about stillness a lot in Meeting and so people think … I’ve had so many people be like, “Well, I couldn’t do Quaker Meeting because I have ADHD and I would fidget.” I’m like, “Yeah, I do too.” I don’t think the stillness is about keeping your hands from moving.
Hye Sung: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Mackenzie: Or, being able to sit in one [inaudible]. Gosh, sitting in one position sometimes hurts.
Hye Sung: Fair, yes.
Mackenzie: Especially those old Meeting house benches.
Hye Sung: Yeah. Uh-huh (affirmative), Uh-huh (affirmative).
Mackenzie: I don’t know, do you experience this, that … being spiritually still, and abiding with God, can be something that’s going on even when there isn’t stillness and quiet around you? Like, for me, on public transit even sometimes I’ll be sitting there and centering.
Hye Sung: Yeah. No, definitely. Well, I’ll say this. For me … a lot of people, when they think of Charismatics, they do think of tongues, right? They think of glossolalia and I think that’s actually fair. I mean, there are Charismatics who don’t even necessarily speak in tongues, there are a ton of them, it’s very much like the third wave of Charismatics, which is basically when more Evangelical churches, like Presbyterians and Baptists and all so-
Mackenzie: I’m not used to somebody saying Evangelical churches like Presbyterians.
Hye Sung: Well, yeah. Well most Presbyterians are Evangelical, but, I mean, we could say the same thing about Quakers, right?
Mackenzie: That’s true. Most Quakers are somewhere in Africa and [crosstalk].
Hye Sung: Yes, exactly. The third wave basically … church is influenced Vineyard movement in the seventies and eighties. Evangelicals, they have a very classical Evangelical theology, but then they have the weird Charismatic stuff in there, too. They fit that in there, it compliments their theology. They figure out how to work that out, but a lot of these … so yeah. A lot of these third wave churches … so tongues isn’t big of a deal to them, but classically in the Charismatic renewal and Pentecostalism, tongues has … and the Charismatic renewal is when the Charismatic stuff basically got to the mainland churches, and then the Catholics, back in the sixties and seventies, and the Pentecostals are what came out of the Azusa revival, basically. In the early 1900s – 1905? 1909? – somewhere around there-
Mackenzie: Somewhere in that range.
Hye Sung: But anyway, tongues is always played a role in the Charismatic movement. It’s actually something … I like how the Charismatic renewal started to frame it, ’cause they started to frame it in a way of you praying in tongues is an experience of union. It’s also kind of a centering practice. For me, I actually find the gift of tongues as a way to help me posture to listen in and come under the weight and the presence of God. It actually helps me kind of listen in, and get into that place of centeredness and silence within, if that makes sense.
Mackenzie: Yeah, and actually, somebody who I met in another Yearly Meeting told me that she grew up in a Charismatic church, and she was baptized younger – water baptized younger – than the church would normally do, because she had the gift of tongues. So then obviously she’d been baptized in spirit, there was no reason to delay the water one. After coming to friends, she realized that what she had been doing with tongues growing up, was centering.
Hye Sung: Oh.
Mackenzie: It was a centering practice for her.
Hye Sung: I mean, yeah. I mean, even like … I know you’ve read my blog before, but the Vineyard movement came from Evangelical Quakers, right? They actually do this thing that … ’cause I’ve been in third-wave type churches, these neo-Charismatic churches, and they focus a lot on this thing called “soaking prayer.” It’s where you see-
Mackenzie: Ya’ll can’t see my face right now.
Hye Sung: Yeah. It’s a thing. And they call it soaking prayer. What is it? It’s you’re just waiting in God’s presence. And I’m like, “Oh, that came from somewhere,” and Carol Wimber, who is the wife of John Wimber, basically helped, was a major person-
Mackenzie: The two of them started the Vineyards.
Hye Sung: Yes, exactly. She’s explicitly said, “We took this from the Quakers.” I will say though, the modern conception of Charismatics has been built up, and the architects are Quakers. Or, at least Quaker-ish.
Mackenzie: Well our friend Elijah has started going to a … well, I mean, he’s gone many times before, but- he goes to … well, I guess he moved again now, but anyway. He goes to a Vineyard church, or has gone to a Vineyard church, and he was telling me, and I’ve been to one now because he suggested I try it out, but he was telling me that the way Vineyards started was that John and Carol Wimber, and some others, started speaking in tongues in Meeting, and- or maybe in small groups, or whatever, at their friend’s church. People got freaked out by it, and basically told them, “Uh-uh, we don’t do that here, if you’re gonna do that, you gotta go somewhere else,” so they went and created the Vineyard church to have a place where it was safe to speak in tongues.
Hye Sung: Yeah.
Mackenzie: But Elijah also said that he has gone to a Vineyard church where … without him having … like, he didn’t tell anybody there … where he was not feeling so great, right? Like, sometimes you’re not feeling so great, you wanna go spend some time in church, right? And he didn’t tell anyone his name, and he didn’t tell them he was a Quaker, and some people came over and started praying over him. I said his name is Elijah, which is the name of one of the prophets in the Old Testament, and one of them started about the prophet Elijah, and one of them started talking about George Fox.
Hye Sung: Oh, wow. Yeah. Yeah.
Mackenzie: Which is kind … that would be quite the coincidence, so.
Hye Sung: That is quite the coincidence, yeah.
Mackenzie: So that makes me think of the word of knowledge, as another Charismatic gift right.
Hye Sung: Yeah, yeah.
Mackenzie: And for anyone who’s not familiar with that, that’s like … knowing things that you have no reason to know. Micah and I have talked before … I can’t remember which episode, I’ll have to look it up. About- oh, it was probably the traveling ministry one, actually, now that I’m about to start my sentence. We talked about traveling ministers who would show up at a meeting, and they didn’t know anybody there, and they would give ministry that was spot on for somebody in the room, without having been prepped or told what the person’s deal was. Gosh, who was … I just read last week about some Quaker who, in, I don’t know what century, not this one. It was an old-time Quaker, who was sitting in Meeting, and a visiting minister stood, and she pointed at him, and spoke directly to his condition. That’s totally the word of knowledge thing, right?
Hye Sung: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, I’ve experienced a word of knowledge sort of thing before. There was this one time when I was in school, and I had a picture in my head of my friend taking these pills and the word ‘pituitary gland’ came into my head, and so I was like … interesting. I mentioned it to her, and she’s like, “Yeah, I have issues with my pituitary gland, but I can’t afford medicine right now.” And so we prayed about it, actually, basically for provision but also we were praying for healing mostly. I can’t claim that this is because we prayed, or something, but something with her health insurance, I think she changed health insurance within a month, and it actually became affordable and accessible. I don’t know, it’s one of my few experiences of words of knowledge that I’ve given. I’m not a big prophecy person, I’m more so a crying and praying person.
Mackenzie: Before we started recording this episode, Hye Sung and I were sitting here praying together. Hye Sung is much more vocal in his praying than I am. I was mostly just being silent, like a-
Hye Sung: Like a good Quaker.
Mackenzie: I was gonna say an unprogrammed Quaker, at least.
Hye Sung: An Apostate. I’m just kidding.
Mackenzie: Excuse you.
Hye Sung: I’m just kidding, I’m just kidding.
Mackenzie: Whereas Hye Sung is much more out loud with the “Thank you, God.”
Hye Sung: I like to woo God in, you know? I flirt a bit.
Mackenzie: Anyway. Were you whispering in tongues?
Hye Sung: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Mackenzie: Okay. I was like … at some point, I heard you saying, “Thank you, God,” and “Thank you, Lord,” like, whispering, but then it switched to … I couldn’t actually understand what you were saying and whispering, and I was like, oh, okay, I think he switched to tongues.
Hye Sung: It happens.
Mackenzie: Okay, so I remember asking you before, what do you do when you’re praying desperately for something? If you can’t find the words to say how grateful you are to God, when you’re praying? And then I was like, wait. Wait, hang on. Is this when you do the prayer language tongues thing?
Hye Sung: Yeah.
Mackenzie: Obviously I … as ya’ll can guess from everything I’ve said thus far, I do not speak in tongues. That is not a thing that’s ever happened with me. I think I would be kind of freaked out by it, so for me, when I’m praying really hard, I guess, I tend to bow. That’s the … how I accentuate prayer, or what … does that make sense?
Hye Sung: Yeah, that makes plenty of sense.
Mackenzie: So at home, that could be that … okay, so I kneel a lot anyway, just … I’m most comfortable sitting on my feet. I know I’m weird. I will go from just being kneeling, to kneeling with my forehead down on the ground, like how you often see with Muslims doing. In Meeting, I’ll be sometimes sitting at my bench and fold over bowing to God, but I figure that probably anybody else whose sitting in Meeting probably just thinks I’m stretching my back.
Hye Sung: Yeah.
Mackenzie: Now you all know that if you see me bent over in Meeting, that’s actually more likely what’s going on, is that I’m praying.
Hye Sung: A manifestation, we call it.
Mackenzie: Okay. Yeah, so one specific time that I remember bowing over when I was praying was … so you’ve been pretty broke at times.
Hye Sung: Yeah. We’re putting that out there, cool.
Mackenzie: Well it happens to a lot of people.
Hye Sung: Yeah.
Mackenzie: And when I was praying for you- I had been praying for you to get a raise, and then back at Christmas- well, to get a raise or to get some sort of year end bonus, or something like that. So then back in December, when you told me that you had gotten your bonus, I was over the moon.
Hye Sung: Yeah. I wasn’t expecting it, either. No one warned me.
Mackenzie: That was one time that I was so grateful that you had gotten that windfall, I guess.
Hye Sung: And then you bowed.
Mackenzie: Yeah, and then I- yeah, I was praying. I was praying and thanking God that you had gotten that, and that was just … I was so happy about that, that I had to bow while I was praying.
Hye Sung: Aw. You can’t see it, but she’s being coy and looking down.
Mackenzie: Okay now I’m gonna tickle him. You can tell that this is very different than when I’m with Micah.
Hye Sung: No comment.
Mackenzie: I sometimes say that Hye Sung is my little brother.
Hye Sung: It’s true. That’s how I often use tongues in inner session, when it’s like I’m hitting this place where I don’t even know what else to say. I kinda begged my … begged all my words to God, and whatever, and sometimes I just gotta go into this mode. It’s like sometimes it doesn’t feel like, it feels like I’m hosting these words. Even if it’s … I don’t know. It feels like a medium, or something. I don’t know. Sometimes it’s all I know to do, and I’ve had months where I struggled with prayer, like because I’m depressed, or because whatever. That’s the only way I can pray, at least in a way that moves me and feels authentic. Yeah.
Mackenzie: When I’m praying and I run out of words is when I center. I realized that centering in Meeting is … usually when it’s an hour meeting, I’ll start with just thinking some prayers, like saying prayers inside my head, and then as I do that, then the words run out, and I’m centered.
Hye Sung: Yeah.
Mackenzie: But okay, so we’ve been talking about tongues. Tongues actually has two meanings, right? ‘Cause there’s glossolalia, which you mentioned before.
Hye Sung: Yeah.
Mackenzie: And then there’s also xenoglossy, which is something that you see in the book of Acts, where … if you read the story of Pentecost, the apostles go out and start talking, and everybody hears them in their own language. It’s not necessarily … it’s not entirely clear from what’s written- well, okay, one thing is that you’re not talking about speaking a foreign language, as opposed to with glossolalia, it being … we’ll call it the language of angels, which, you know, First Corinthians. If I speak in the tongues of men or angels, but I have not love, then I am nothing but a clanging gong. Are you able to go get your bible to check me, because it’s ringing symbol or clanging gong.
Hye Sung: Oh no, not that part. Yes.
Mackenzie: Xenoglossy is speaking foreign language. Have you ever had foreign language stuff?
Hye Sung: No. No. I mean, there are stories from- there are always stories about missionaries. Agnes, Osmond-
Mackenzie: So someone we know did have an experience with xenoglossy.
Hye Sung: Oh.
Mackenzie: Someone that we know, and I’m not gonna say who. ‘Cause, actually-
Hye Sung: You know who you are.
Mackenzie: Actually, well, he didn’t say … I don’t remember if he said that I could say his name with it, so I won’t say who it was. Someone that we know was on a mission trip, and he was in this real tiny town, I don’t know what country. He was on this mission trip with his Baptist church, and they had an interpreter for their mission group, but the interpreter was busy elsewhere, and there was this woman who was sitting under this tree looking kind of sad, and she kept looking at him. Finally he walked over to her, and started talking to her, and he found out that she was a widow, and she had just lost her husband, and she’s really having a tough time dealing with this. He’s giving her pastoral counseling, essentially. And then the translator walked up, and was like, “Um. How are you doing this?” And he was like, “What? She speaks perfect English.” And the translator was like, “No. She’s speaking her language, you’re speaking English.”
Hye Sung: Huh.
Mackenzie: And he was like, “What? What?” It turned out that he was hearing English from her, and she was hearing her language from him, with neither of them knowing the other one’s language.
Hye Sung: Oh, wow.
Mackenzie: The extend that our friend knew of her language was that he could sing “This Little Light of Mine” and that was it.
Hye Sung: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Mackenzie: The translator was thinking, like, “No. Okay, no. You’re pranking me. That’s what’s going on here, you are pranking me.” And so the translator asked … so he said something- our friend said something, and the translator understood it, and turns to the woman and goes, “What did he say?” In her language, asks, “What did he say?” She, in her language, says the same sentence, but in her language, and the translator can tell that they both just said the same thing, each in their respective languages, ’cause he understands both of them.
Hye Sung: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Mackenzie: The point is that if our friend said, “The brown dog runs under the tree,” and then she said that same sentence in her language, it was just like, mindblow for the translator.
Hye Sung: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve never experience that. And to be honest, I’m such a contrarian when it comes to this sort of thing. Just ’cause of like, I don’t even think in Acts 2 they were speaking actual languages.
Mackenzie: But since that there were Jews in for the Feast of Weeks, which is seven weeks, I think, after Pentecost. Seven weeks after Passover, which is why Pentecost and Feast of Weeks tend to be kind of close together, ’cause [inaudible] are kinda close together. The apostles went out preaching the good news, and all of these Jews would come from all over, like all different countries, were just so confused because they’re hearing their own language, and they’re going, “How are these people – these Galileans – speaking our languages?”
Hye Sung: Yeah, well, [crosstalk]-
Mackenzie: It’s not really clear whether-
Hye Sung: It never says they went out. I think they were still in the upper room, and they were speaking. I think they were speaking in tongues in the doxological way, like in a praise way, ’cause it says, “We hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”
Mackenzie: Yeah, that’s-
Hye Sung: It’s like, they were not all speaking different languages so that all these people who are outside the building-
Mackenzie: [crosstalk] I was gonna say, there’s two different ways of interpreting this. One is that they’re … that the apostles are each speaking a different foreign language, and so people were each hearing their own foreign language from one of them. Or, the other is that was like our friend had, where they’re speaking in … they’re speaking their language, but then everybody’s hearing different languages.
Hye Sung: Exactly. I think that’s more likely. I don’t know though. I don’t know. But anyway. Sorry, I’m being a brat.
Mackenzie: No, that was actually what our friend said, was that, he was like, actually, if you look in Acts 2, it seems more likely that what they experienced was the same as what he had experienced, of speaking your own language, but it being heard in the language the other person needed to hear.
Hye Sung: Yeah.
Mackenzie: Which kind of plays interestingly on that thing where … I’ve heard some people talk about, that Quakers, instead of speaking in tongues listen in tongues, because especially with Liberal Quakers where we have a wide range of theological difference.
Hye Sung: Yeah.
Mackenzie: That because we always have to interpret from somebody else’s spiritual language into whatever is more comfortable for us.
Hye Sung: Yeah. Yeah, and I also think the fact that they were hearing it kind of proves even more what just happened, was that the spirit of God is poured out on all flesh. That even these people who don’t necessarily believe in Jesus yet, or may never, are already having the Holy Spirit work in them. There we go. My hot take.
Mackenzie: Well although the Holy Spirit was on the apostles [inaudible], maybe that was the magic that was making them untreatable.
Hye Sung: Hey.
Mackenzie: I think what the hardest thing to believe … the thing that Charismatics deal with, that I think is hardest for other people to wrap their minds around, I think is faith healing. Have you had any experience with faith healing stuff?
Hye Sung: Yeah, a little bit. Not necessarily me being healed. I mean, there’s like, you know. It’s always hard to say, because for me with my experiences being healed or whatever, it was like headaches, aches, and who’s to say I wasn’t just in a moment?
Hye Sung: And excited, and then the pain left because I was excited or something. But I have … what have I. I mean, I’ve seen, these are pretty common place, and sometimes they celebrate very little healings, to the point where I don’t even know what’s real. I’ve seen legs grow out, and that sort of thing, when people have legs that aren’t the same size.
Hye Sung: Yeah, like that sort of thing.
Hye Sung: And that’s actually a pretty common thing, too, which makes me kind of also, like I don’t know how that works.
Hye Sung: Are they just pulling out the leg? You know?
Mackenzie: Okay. Well, I generally … I always thought Quakers did not put any stock in the faith healing thing, but apparently George Fox published his Book of Miracles.
Hye Sung: Book of Miracles, yes.
Mackenzie: The Book of Miracles is this long lost document. There’s sort of an index of it, because there were … basically the first and last line of each page was stored elsewhere as an index of the book, but we don’t know the actual contents of it. Apparently George Fox was totally into the faith healing thing.
Hye Sung: He raised the dead.
Hye Sung: That’s in there.
Mackenzie: Alright. That was also kind of freaky to everybody else. That is why it is a long lost document.
Hye Sung: Yeah, yeah.
Mackenzie: So something actually I was surprised though, I heard modern Quakers talk about faith healing a couple years ago. I was in Barnesville, Ohio at the Wider Gathering of Conservative Friends. Wait. The General Gathering of Conservative Friends, there we go. And there was a guy there who said, like, he got up and he said, “Ten years ago at Ohio Yearly Meeting session I told you all about, that I had cancer, and it was terminal.” And he had been given a year to live, or something like that. People in Ohio Yearly Meeting surrounded him and laid hands on him and prayed. At his next oncologist appointment, he didn’t have a tumor anymore. He was telling us this story as a testimony. Hey, we talked about the other mean- about testimony as not just meaning spices, what, six, seven episodes ago. But he was telling this as testimony of faith healing, and that was, I was really surprised to hear that. And the thing is, I would have been less surprised to hear that from Evangelical Quakers.
Hye Sung: Yeah.
Mackenzie: They got the word Evangelical in there. When I think of people who are into faith healing, I usually think Evangelicals.
Hye Sung: Yeah.
Mackenzie: But it was Conservative Friends, which …
Hye Sung: I mean [crosstalk]-
Mackenzie: They’re the-
Hye Sung: Yeah. But they still, they had … I mean, I think they had a revival, a Charismatic revival, that they, I think most people see as a mixed blessing. There are some parts of their Charismatic experience that brought people more to Evangelicalism, and also Fundamentalist tendencies, but also other people in [inaudible] who are still a part of it saw it as something that kind of sealed their faith, and brought them closer to Christ. They’ve had that stuff there before.
Hye Sung: They can get weird, too.
Mackenzie: Okay. Well, there was somebody else from my Meeting who was at that Gathering of Conservative Friends in 2016. For anyone who has forgotten, my Meeting is unprogrammed and Liberal. Talking about it with her afterward, she said that as far as she’s concerned, her sort of theology about that … and it’s based on if, in the bible, there’s a spot, don’t ask me where, I’ll find it and put it in the show notes. It says that we can become Children of God, [inaudible]. It’s common for [inaudible] to talk about Jesus as the Son of God, right? Her- and it’s also common for Liberal Quakers to talk about Jesus as being a human who was fully in touch with light, or filled with the light in a way that is far more extreme than other humans, and that’s what it means for him to be fully God and fully man. Which is, I guess, yeah.
She said that her thinking on it was that Jesus was able to do all those miracles, and raising the dead, and healing and everything, because of how strong his connection with the light was, and that if other people foster their connection with the light … if they really go all in on it, and are committed to living in God’s will, that then they become capable of doing that miracle working, as well. Which is … it’s like … I feel like that saying that Jesus was a guy who was really in tune with the light is … it’s not uncommon for Liberal Quakers, but I think a lot of other Christians would find that as putting Jesus too low?
So I think it’s interesting that she took that that direction as that being what the scripture about becoming Children of God means, and that she does believe that Jesus did those miracles, because I think a lot, usually, when people … I feel like spiritualizing the miracles that are found in the gospels, and quote-unquote lowering Jesus, tend to go together. So that, she would talk about Jesus in a way that is usually considered to be lowering him, but while still elevating the miracles as real, physical miracles.
Hye Sung: That’s interesting, yeah.
Hye Sung: I mean, I think there’s something to that, though. I think the presence of God can be a real and tangible thing, and God does anoint people who are faithful. At the same time, God also uses not great people in the bible, people with major moral failures that are used by God mightily even to do the miraculous. I don’t want to limit it to that, but I think there is something to that.
Mackenzie: Okay, I guess … this time I actually had notes, which never happens for episodes. Like, Micah and I just go off the cuff every time. So I had a list of Charismatic gifts that we’ve been going down the list.
Hye Sung: Oh, okay.
Mackenzie: There was actually something on my list that we skipped.
Hye Sung: Oh.
Mackenzie: We skipped the … I wanted to talk about early Quakers and Charismatic things, because there was this guy … what was his first name? John Gilpin, who, he was a Quaker in the 17th century who, well, he was a Quaker for a while, but he didn’t stay one. He became a Quaker, and he stayed one for a while, and he was [inaudible] Quakers for a while, and then he switched back out of Quakers to I don’t know what, maybe Anglicanism or something. He published this track titled “The Quakers Shaken: Or, A Fire-brand snatch’d out of the Fire. A briefe Relation of GODS wonderfull Mercie extended to JOHN GILPIN of KENDALE in WESTMORELAND. Who, as will appeare by the sequel, was not only deluded by the Quakers, but possessed of the Devill.”
Hye Sung: Wow.
Mackenzie: That was published in 1653, so very early.
Hye Sung: John Gilpin, yeah.
Mackenzie: He talks in there about being cast down onto the floor, where he could not get up off the floor, like lying facedown or on his back. At times flipping between the two, having his arms move without him intending for his arms to be moving, and he said that he heard a voice. He says, “Then I imagined I heard a voice saying, ‘Now such a sin is mortified.’ After which, I being persuaded by it, that all my sins were mortified by it one by one, the power that I was then acted by permitted me to arise again of myself.” Now the interesting thing about … I mean, you could probably guess from the title of this thing, is that he was writing this as a denunciation of Quakers, and so he wrote about all these Charismatic experiences he had with Quakers, and then after he left Quakers, he was like, “Yeah, those Charismatic experiences? That was the Devil. I was possessed by a demon.” But saying when he was a Quaker, he totally believed it was God.
Hye Sung: Yeah.
Mackenzie: I think sometimes you encounter Charismatic types outside of Quakerism who are like, “Oh, yeah. Quakers.” Totally we came from that direction.
Hye Sung: Yeah.
Mackenzie: Not even just the Vineyard people.
Hye Sung: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Mackenzie: And see early friends as being deeply Charismatic.
Hye Sung: Yeah. Yeah. I mean I feel like I’ve experienced that before. I call that being drunk on the Holy Spirit.
Mackenzie: Oh, that’s what you mean when you say that. I have heard you say that you were drunk on the Spirit’s wine.
Hye Sung: Yeah.
Mackenzie: And I did not know what that means.
Hye Sung: I don’t know, one time me and my friend- well, I could talk about a number of experience, but one time me and my friend were praying in her living room, and interceding about a burden that was on us. Within ten minutes, we were both on the ground, struggling. We were trying to get up and stand but we couldn’t, just ’cause it felt like the presence of God felt heavy. I mean, often when you’re drunk on the Spirit, when people use that word, too, or that phrase, they’re also talking about them kind of being full of bliss.
Mackenzie: Okay. Rapture.
Hye Sung: So like [crosstalk]-
Mackenzie: Rapture and-
Hye Sung: Yes.
Mackenzie: Well, for … I told our friend that I was ecstatic to be visiting you this weekend.
Hye Sung: Uh-huh (affirmative).
Hye Sung: It’s the perfect word.
Mackenzie: Right? And one, it occurred to me that … I misspelled ecstatic. I tried spelling it with an X.
Hye Sung: E-oh.
Mackenzie: Like “excited.”
Hye Sung: Yeah.
Mackenzie: And then when I spelled it correctly, I realized that it was related to the word ecstasy, at which point I went, “Oh.”
Hye Sung: Yeah.
Mackenzie: Because it’s so, so common in medieval and stuff writings for … like, medieval mystics to talk about being in ecstasies, meaning this just bliss, joy, rapture feeling God.
Hye Sung: Yeah, and I mean, of course, it’s a thing. Holy laughter is a thing, too. I mean you call it that, but it’s just laughing. It’s what it is. I mean there was a huge thing in the nineties where there was a revival in Charismatic churches where a bunch of churches who just got started, people just started experiencing laughter a lot. Which, there’s a lot to be said there, but one thing I will say is the church I went-
Mackenzie: And it wasn’t just because everybody else looked so silly?
Hye Sung: No. But I mean, probably a little bit. Actually, that’s the thing, is like, why not both? I remember I was at a Charismatic church once, and somebody was just doing something so ridiculous and I’m like, it wasn’t a bad thing. I don’t know if they were … what they were doing, it was just some kind of weird manifestation and I was just thinking, you know, whatever. They can do whatever with God right now, it just looks hilarious, and I was just laughing. Why not? Why can’t it be human and- people thought I was experiencing God, and I was. It was just ’cause I was enjoying how silly his kids looked, you know?
Mackenzie: So the last thing I had on my list was visions as a Charismatic baby gift, and I think maybe because I have mentioned our friend Elijah several times. I would have loved to have both of you on here, but Elijah lives a thousand miles away, so that would not be possible. But I had a conversation with Elijah, where I was like, “Are visions a Charismatic gift?” I think they’re not, because even Cessationists, like Catholics are Cessationists, right? And they acknowledge medieval mystics who had visions.
Hye Sung: Catholics are not Cessationists. Maybe culturally, but theologically they are not.
Hye Sung: And the Charismatic renewal, is like-
Mackenzie: I know there are Charismatic Catholics.
Hye Sung: Yes.
Mackenzie: But that has been accepted [crosstalk].
Hye Sung: A lot, yes.
Mackenzie: Okay. But, no, Elijah’s answer was that Charismatics say that visions are Charismatic, and Cessationists say that visions are not, because both of them do it.
Hye Sung: Yeah.
Mackenzie: Both groups experience visions, which … I think it’s funny that it’s like, that you can be theologically Cessationists and then because you … and then you have vision, and you’re like, well, that doesn’t make me a Charismatic. Visions just are Charismatic, clearly that’s the explanation.
Hye Sung: That’s it, that’s it.
Mackenzie: Traditionally Catholics would talk about there being three kinds of visions, and Teresa of Ávila wrote about that. They have the corporal vision, meaning like, seeing something as though it exists in physical space, and also sometimes it actually has effects, like you can feel it. And then imaginary vision, which is seeing something in your mind’s eye. If I recall correctly, that one is categorized as being a deeper vision, because the first one can too easily be mimicked by schizophrenic hallucinations. And then intellectual visions, which are … so the difference between intellectual vision and imaginary vision would be … how would you picture grace? It’s not a thing, so an intellectual vision is when you are having a vision of something that is basically a concept, sort of, or something that doesn’t have physical representation, like grace or the trinity.
Hye Sung: That’s helpful. ‘Cause I think when people hear visions they think of some ecstatic, magical thing. Have you ever had a vision, Mackenzie?
Mackenzie: Maybe a little.
Hye Sung: Maybe a little, maybe a little.
Mackenzie: A few times.
Hye Sung: Okay.
Mackenzie: Only of the imaginative kind.
Hye Sung: I mean, share as you feel comfortable. Because if this is between you and God, that’s fine.
Mackenzie: There’s one that I actually shared during the interim session of … like, for my Yearly Meeting’s interim session. Which is what we call when the Yearly Meeting gets together at times that aren’t August, basically. There’s a lot of backstory to that, so it would take a while to explain, but the short version, I guess, is that when I was visiting West Hills Friends church last October the pastor gave a message that was about racism, and needing to do justice, love mercy, right? Although he was using the [inaudible]. But right before he started speaking, I had a vision.
It’s not uncommon for me, as a centering thing, to think of the Holy Spirit, right? It’s normal to me to think of the Holy Spirit flowing around all of us, in cloud form, enveloping us. I was thinking of the Holy Spirit, or thinking of God, and then instead of that, my eyes were closed, I had an image of Jesus on the ground, on all fours, and he was bleeding from the scourging, from being whipped on Good Friday. And that’s a weird, weird vision to have. I mean, okay, it is not … in the grand scheme of things-
Hye Sung: Church history and everything.
Mackenzie: Right. But it was weird for me.
Hye Sung: Yes.
Mackenzie: And then the pastor got up and gave his sermon, right after this was … this was in the few minutes of silence before he spoke, is when that vision happened. So he gave his sermon about racism. I connected those really immediately as that it’s not just … people talk about something that’s like some shameful tragedy, right, and say, “Oh, Jesus wept.” I was like, okay, this is a lot stronger than, “Jesus wept.” This is like-
Hye Sung: Tortured.
Hye Sung: Yeah.
Mackenzie: And just connecting. You know, we’re all part of the body of Christ type of idea, and whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me, all that stuff Jesus said. Thinking of the idea of Jesus is torture as tied in with that, is like … that’s what’s … there are people who are being hurt physically, I mean emotionally and spiritually and everything, but also physically, and being killed because of racism. That, I really connected that.
Then two weeks later we had our interim session for Yearly Meeting and the topic of racism and trying to be an anti-racist organization was on the agenda. The words that came to be during this were words that I had been given to speak immediately after that pastor’s message, and they came back to me, and the words were, “Hesitation is not obedience.” Having that come back to me, the hesitation is not obedience, I was like, “Okay, I have to say. Crap.” There are 300 people in this room, I know six of them, and I have to tell them all in this room full of people who for all I know they’re going to get all weird at me about me admitting I had a vision. Like, say this to all of them. Oh boy. And I did. I mean, afterward I broke down crying, and I was shouting into the microphone by the time I was done telling everybody about it.
Hye Sung: Aw.
Mackenzie: And now I don’t know how many people I just told on this podcast. Well, it’s probably another 300, 400 that probably listen to these episodes. So, hi. Now you all know that about me.
Hye Sung: Yeah. Well what’s wild to think is what launched Quakerism was a bunch of people doing this for hours. Like having these experiences for hours together.
Mackenzie: And now we’re often kind of like, “Oh, that’s a little too weird for me.”
Hye Sung: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Mackenzie: So, this has been fun.
Hye Sung: Yeah.
Mackenzie: Now I guess you all know that-
Hye Sung: That you’re a freak. Just kidding.
Hye Sung: You’re a weirdo, don’t worry.
Mackenzie: You’re a freak, too.
Hye Sung: Join the club, yeah.
Mackenzie: Yeah. I hope that this has made people understand Charismatic stuff as being not totally alien to Quakers and maybe the next time some Charisma pops up in Meeting, people won’t be shoved out like the Wimber- is that their last name?
Hye Sung: Yes. Wimbers.
Mackenzie: Like the Wimbers were.
Hye Sung: Amen.
Mackenzie: You can find us on the web at QuakerPodcast.org, as @quakerpodcast on Twitter, Facebook, or Patreon, and on iTunes.
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