I was slain in the spirit once. Splayed out. Laid flat. Old-fashioned revival time all out slain and down for the count.
I know, right?
Me. A journalist. Laying there on my back at the altar of God, staring at the lights of that big citified Seattle church with people dropping all around me like flies on a day in late Fall.
And for the record, yes, it was weird as H-E- Double-Toothpicks.
Prior to the moment when I was slain, I always thought of such things as Evangelical Hocus-Pocus. A trick to get the masses worked up in a fervor so that they put more money in the offering bucket. Even now, as I sit here and type this, I suspect that still may be the case.
I can’t tell you about others, I can only speak from my own experience and in my case, I did not fall to the ground in a fit of religious fervor. I was not pushed over by some slick-haired evangelical. I was simply at the altar praying with a girl whose name I did not know when a preacher walked by and lightly touched my forehead and buddy, I was gone quicker than a soldier on AWOL.
I have no idea how long I was down. I just remember it being a place of suspension. Aware and present but peaceful beyond consciousness.
Which has got me to thinking being Slain in the Spirit may very well be a way to solve some of our current societal ills.
When our son was a little tyke he used to purposely throw himself to the ground whenever anything – and I do mean anything – did not go his way.
Didn’t get the cookie he wanted? He’d throw himself to the ground. Couldn’t reach the toy he wanted? He’d throw himself to the ground. Couldn’t get the nerf basketball in the three-foot hoop? He’d throw himself to the ground. He did it so often that Tim and I started saying: Uh-oh. Son is Slain in the Spirit again!
We reportedly live in the Age of Reason. A cursory glance at the daily headlines will give you all the proof you need contrary to that.
Imagine if instead of carrying concealed weapons and killing somebody every time they pull out their cell phones in a movie house, we just fell to the ground, Slain in the Spirit fashion. We could kick our feet. Scream. Cry. Wail. Pitch an all out conniption-fit for as long as it takes, until either exhaustion or the peace of God overtakes us. Then we could stand back up and everybody in the movie house would nod their heads in recognition: Oh. Don’t mind her – she’s just Slain in the Spirit… again.
What if we were at the drive-up and McDonald’s got our order wrong again? Instead of cursing them, we could just turn off our cars. Open the car door and fall to the ground, where we could proceed to kick and scream and carry on until peace overcomes us. Then we could get back in the car, pick up the right order, and drive on. No harm. No foul.
Imagine if the next time a ref makes a bad call in the Super Bowl that instead of booing and cursing, all of us fervent fans dropped to the ground, Slain in the Spirit, overcome with a peace that passeth all football regulations and referee foul-ups.
Imagine if the next time we found ourselves in the midst of voice-mail Hades, we put the phone on speaker while we dropped to the yoga mat and were enveloped by the urge to breathe deeply and chant: I am full of life. I am full of energy. I am at peace with the world. Namaste.
Imagine if the next time somebody on Facebook gets all up in our business, our politics or our religion, we simply place the laptop on our stomachs and watch it rise and fall, rise and fall, rise and fall. And instead of responding hotly, we simply take the position of being Slain in the Spirit. An altered state of being where we finally understand that in the bigger picture, all this bickering and carrying on that we do each day doesn’t really matter. What really matters is that we live each moment filled with the goodness of God.
A good dose of Evangelical Hocus-Pocus may very well be the cure for what ails us.
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3