From A Vineyard Church website

Rod Dreher has had interesting blogs Luhrmann’s When God Talks Back here and here. The book was also reviewed in the NYT

I am not a staretz, so I will make no judgment about the prayer practices and experiences of the members of the Vineyard Church. Some of it is very familiar and seems on the whole to be well within the bounds of Christian tradition, although at times it seems a little too therapeutic and one misses the hard calls of the Gospel to repentance.

Luhrmann noticed that erotic overtones of some of these practices

Of the Vineyard’s  music, Luhrmann observes:

“God is intensely human in this music, and the singer wants him so badly that the lyrics sound like a teenage fan’s crazed longing for a teen idol she can touch.” p. 5


“Some songs are almost sexual, with a touch so might that teh suggestion could slip past. Here is the megahit “Dwell”: “Dwell in the midst of us/ Come and have your way.” p. 5

Women have “dates” with God.

“That was particularly striking  in the way people spoke about “date night” with God.  Date night was a term only women used. (Men would talk about evenings with “quiet time” with God. The women would set aside the night, and they imagined it romantically; it was a “date.”  They might pick up dinner or set out a plate at the table, and they imagined their way through the evening talking to God, cuddling with God, and basking in God’s attention.” p. 82

Such approaches leave men cold- at least heterosexual men.

Perhaps connected with this, perhaps not, are the sexual irregularities, especially the homosexual ones, that occur in Pentecostal/charismatic communities.

One of the flamboyant founders of the Vineyard Church, Lonnie Frisbee, was a married but was also having homosexual affairs. He eventually died of AIDS.

I was involved with the charismatic prayer group at Catholic University; It turned out that one of the key leaders was an active homosexual who died of AIDS. A renowned liberal theologian at CU was his spiritual director.

In Charlottesville I also attended a charismatic prayer group at an estate outside town. Years later I learned that the married man who was the minister was an active bisexual.

Is there a connection between a eroticized religion and sexual irregularities? I suspect that there is a connection, at least in some cases, and perhaps Pentecostalism is especially susceptible to it

Such phenomenon caused Msgr. Knox to suspect the presence of the erotic element in enthusiasm, but of course it is not confined to emotional movements. Bridal mysticism is a recurrent theme in both Catholicism and Protestantism; very few heterosexual men like to play the role of the blushing bride.


I believe that tongues is a real and legitimate form of prayer. I don’t know what it is, or why it fell into desuetude after the Apostolic era. Decades ago I started praying in tongues spontaneously one night when I was alone. I recently had an operation and was under anesthesia. The doctor reported that I was praying in tongues during the operation. What part of the brain is praying? I don’t know – but it seems to be real and helpful to many Christians to pray with both the rational part of the mind and with whatever part is praying in tongues.

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