It is unfortunate when a pastor or denomination will advocate that their “brand” is better or superior to the other ones. Or even more, that their tradition is the only correct one. In developing a more expansive way of cultivating our spirituality, we need to be open to see where the Spirit is leading before dismissing it or demonizing other traditions/brands of Christianity. Having spent time in Pentecostal, Baptist, and other traditions, I have found my own spirituality deepened by multiple Christian traditions.
One author who has personally exposed me to other spiritualities is Richard J. Foster. I first read Foster while taking a class at the Christian University that I attended. The class was called The Life of Prayer, and one of the text books was called Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home. Foster also outlines other contemporary traditions in a book called, Streams of Living Water: Celebrating the Great Traditions of Christian Faith along with the workbook, A Spiritual Formation Workbook: Small Group Resources for Nurturing Christian Faith. In these two books, Foster outlines different Christian Traditions. The first Christian Tradition he describes is “Discovering a Life of Intimacy with God: The Contemplative Tradition”; the second one is “Discovering a Life of Purity and Virtue: The Holiness Tradition”; the third one is “Discovering a Life of Empowerment Through the Spirit: The Charismatic Tradition”; the fourth one is “Discovering a Life of Justice and Compassion: The Social Justice Tradition”; the fifth one is “Discovering a Life Founded upon the Word: The Evangelical Tradition”; and the last one “Discovering a Practical Strategy for Spiritual Growth: The Spiritual Formation Group”. Which of these traditions would you claim?
Like many in the Baptist faith, I follow the Evangelical and Social Justice Traditions, but I also draw deeply on the Pentecostal/Charismatic tradition in which I was brought up. The Pentecostal/Charismatic traditions hold that the role of the Spirit is vital in the life of the believer. They look to Acts 1:8, which says, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” After the baptism of the believer in water, there is another subsequent experience called the In-filling of the Spirit or the Baptism the Spirit. The early Christian leaders in the book of Acts laid hands on the believers, and they all were filled with the Spirit. As the apostle Paul says, the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is the same Spirit is with us as the Counselor, the Parakletos. As a young person, my pastor Gabriel Wil- continued next page Page 2 lis prayed for me to received the Spirit. Nothing immediately happened, I didn’t feel anything, but then God began to open my spiritual eyes to see visions and dreams. I was not aware of the Spiritual realm until my pastor prayed for me to receive the power of the Spirit. The In-Filling of the Spirit is for every believer.
May this Easter season awaken within your heart a desire and passion to study the Word of God and apply it to your heart like never before. Who knows where the Spirit may lead us? Blessed Easter!
This was my second time attending Bautistas Por La Paz, which was held in Misión Mazahua, San Felipe del Progreso, México from July 17-22. There were many international entities represented in the conference program, but the three that challenged me the most were the seminaries. The moment that impacted me most was when the Seminario Bautista de México showed a YouTube video of La Patrona, a group of Mexican women who make food out of their own resources to help feed those immigrants that ride the cargo train called “The Beast.”
I grew up with my own Patrona. After my father passed away, when I was around 5 years old, my older brothers and my mother emigrated from Guatemala to Chiapas, Mexico. My mother always has been a hardworking woman, and she gained the respect of the wealthy Mexican businesswomen of the town. I recall, as a child, seeing many Central and South Americans immigrants riding the Mexican cargo train. Many of them stay in this small town to make enough money to go to el Norte (USA). My mom worked for “la tortillería,” the factory that makes tortillas, which was owned by the wealthy women in town. Because she gained their favor, she was the first one to acquire fresh tortillas, which she packed in lunch boxes for these immigrants. At the end of the week, these workers paid my mother for the food. Whenever there was a new, lost immigrant in town, the locals sent him or her right away to my house, because they knew that either my mother was going to feed them or give them a small room, where they could stay temporarily.
These childhood memories were sparked while attending this workshop—in a way, I'd forgotten what it was like to be around these people. I went to high school in Ohio and went on to work on my education, and I forgot that there were people still riding The Beast. I felt like I left this life behind. I did not have to worry about it anymore. The sad truth is that immigrants have been and will continue to ride The Beast across Mexico to the USA. Once again, I am call to pay attention to their needs and concerns, even though this time I feel completely removed from their context.
By Rev. Rony Reyes
Easter is a reflection not of the Easter bunny, although our church kids enjoy egg hunting. Nor is it a meditation on a joyful series of events that concluded in a risen Christ. It is preferable to believe in the all-conquering Christ, which depicts the image of a victorious God. One tends to stay away, not to believe in a Christ that becomes the Suffering Servant. There is a painful journey to get to the event of the resurrection (Luke 24). Christ went through agony at the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46), a crown of thorns (John 19:2), a spear went through his side (John 19:34), culminating with the event of dying fixed to a cross (Mark 15:33-34), which is equivalent nowadays to dying in the electric chair. Christ endured these awful harmful acts in his emotional and bodily being. Yet there is the tendency to shy away from these topics, because they are not pleasant to reflect on.
Por Rev. Rony Reyes
La Pascua no es una reflexión del conejito de Pascua, aunque los niños de la iglesia disfrutan de la búsqueda de huevos. Tampoco es una meditación sobre una serie de eventos que concluyen en un Cristo resucitado. Es preferible creer en el Cristo conquistador, que representa la imagen de un Dios victorioso. Uno prefiere permanecer lejos de la idea de un Cristo que se convierte en el Siervo Sufriente. Hay un viaje doloroso, para llegar al evento de la resurrección (Lucas 24). Cristo pasó por la agonía en el jardín de Getsemaní (Mateo 26: 36-46), una corona de espinas (Juan 19: 2); una lanza atravesó su costado (Juan 19:34), culminando el suceso de morir colgado en una cruz (Marcos 15: 33-34), lo que equivale hoy en día a morir en la silla eléctrica. Destacando estos horribles actos dañinos que Cristo soportó en su ser emocional y físico, surge la tendencia de alejarse de estos temas, porque no son agradables para reflexionar.