I used to be a Pentecostal. I'm sorry, but it got into my bones, and must confess, still remains in the marrow. I have since out grown the theology, however, something of it still makes sense. I used to tune in for Bishop Carlton Pearson's preaching at his Higher Dimensions Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has long since left that place by way of a re-awakening. He was eventually excommunicated from the Pentecostal church and branded a heretic for his new message of "inclusion." I guess the same could be said of me as well; I too left as a heretic. Yet, something of it remains and makes sense. After reviewing some of Bishop Pearson's old footage for a recent class project, it suddenly struck me. Bishop Pearson used to say, "We are an oppressed people," and then would break out in song and dance before delivering his message of deliverance. In fact, the notion of "deliverance" is perhaps one of the most fundamental ideas in the Pentecostal movement. To be oppressed, necessitates deliverance. If you have ever experienced a Pentecostal service, then you have probably experienced the spirit of deliverance. For the one who is liberated, there is nothing more important than to give "glory to God. This comes by way of both testimony and dance. To be delivered, and then in turn be overcome by the "Holy Ghost," in a Pentecostal way, is something like nothing else in all of Christianity.
This is what lingers in the marrow. My way to the Christian faith was through the charismatic faith of my Great Grandma who raised me on Rex Humbard and the Four Square Gospel. Later in life, after ending up in a Prodigal son situation and wanting everything to end, I stepped off the curb into oncoming traffic. From this desperate attempt, I was liberated by way of a radical conversion experience. I was delivered. So, what else is a Prodigal son to do, but dance. The Pentecostal rhythm is one of deliverance, and although I have outgrown the theology (It seems Bishop Pearson has as well), the dance of deliverance still remains. May we not forget to dance, to shout, to remember that once having been lost, we are now delivered.