I was telling my labmate, Mark, that I’d been exploring the more “charismatic” side of Christianity. I said that as a PhD in Computer Science, I’m, by vocation, sufficiently rational and analytical. This is to say (or to convince myself) that I’m not some thoughtless fanatic. In fact, I often write about how everyone needs to be more rigorously thoughtful in all that we do: here, here, and here. So, as I share my adventures in understanding the supernatural, let’s keep in mind that I am quite a rational individual (I mean, I can’t get my PhD with just my feelings..haha).
You might ask, well, if so much of my life is being logical (quite literally, am I immersed in logic programming for Artificial Intelligence) then why do I need to go beyond the natural? Well, at this point in life, the answers I currently have aren’t good enough anymore; there is too much that the natural takes for granted, so logically, it only makes sense that I explore beyond the current space of answers. And perhaps, by discovering the line of reason that connects the logical to the illogical will the supernatural become natural (the illogical, logical). PhD’s are, after all, earned by finding substantiatable solutions for questions without answers.
This story starts with my last trip to Delaware. It’s quite tough to explain thoughts about the supernatural to my Presbyterian friends there, but in while in Jersey, I found someone who shares this recent curiosity. He starts talking about IHOP in Kansas City and effortlessly convinces me and another friend to go someday. Being on the east coast, he and my other friend decide that the regional conference in July is the first step. Somehow, I get talked into it too.
Anyhow, while signing up for this, I saw that there’s a more recent one in Fremont, so why not?… haha. I’d go if my friend, Derek wanted to, because I take these opportunities to catch up with old acquaintances. It turns out this is a young adult conference for Asian-Americans. Derek is game, but before going, I do some research on IHOP.
First, I ask people I know what they think about IHOP. No one had anything negative to say, and one pastor called it a great movement. Online, a name that came up again and again was this Mike Bickle. Mike Bickle is known for many things, including his teachings on eschatology. Eschatology, or theology of the end times, is an area I had just coincidentally learned about a few days earlier. If you Google Mike Bickle you’ll find a few results on heresy and deception here and there, but that’s the internet for you.
I listen to his teachings online and I don’t discern them to be anything alarming; although, his descriptions of the end of age is a bit more specific that I’m used to. I mean, how does he know what actually happens? Perhaps, I hadn’t been paying attention to the eschatological verses in the Bible. Still, does it really change how I live now, if I know exactly how things unfold in the future? Um, not for the most part, but I can’t entirely discount its relevancy (I don’t know enough about it).
So, Derek and I are, currently, sitting in some big sanctuary of this random Chinese church. Mike Bickle is talking eschatology to a room full of over 1000 Asian-Americans. Derek probably finds this a little odd, and I, well, had already heard his stance on the second coming of Christ. I didn’t really know what to expect, but it feels worth it, despite only having been here for 2 hours.
Bickle is wrapping up now, and explaining the role of Asia in the years to come. I’m sure the talk will be online eventually, but here’s a spoiler: Bickle’s talking about how the church in Asia is about to (unstoppably) grow by the numbers.
The main guy for this event seems to be Dwayne Roberts, who’s teachings (so far) are easier to digest than Bickle’s and really has a heart for young adults. I want to talk to these guys, but they don’t do that sort of things at these events (hmm… haha). Roberts gave an amazing talk on prayer, and so appropriately did I only just ask God, yesterday, to show me what prayer means. The only problem I had was how he hated on video games, but theologically, he was on point, inspiring people to live their true purpose.
It looks like I’m pulling an all nighter at Denny’s tonight. See you in Jersey?