With all the press that Sarah Palin is getting over statements she made at her former Pentecostal church in Wasilla, I failed to notice that the Democratic Party has its own influential leader in Rev. Leah Daughtry (watch a video report with her preaching), a Pentecostal minister from Brooklyn who was the CEO of the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Of course, Krista knew.

We’re continually trying to find new relevancy for programs we felt didn’t get the attention or garner the audience that perhaps they deserved. We did so more than a month ago when Rick Warren triumphantly convinced Obama and McCain to appear jointly on stage in his church — before the nominating conventions. News pegs really do matter, and we wanted to contribute to people’s understanding of this mega-church pastor and his impact on the Evangelical community and politics as well. So, we made a decision to preempt our scheduled programming to rebroadcast Krista’s interview with Rick and Kay Warren, which was conducted in their personal offices at Saddleback Church. The results were tremendous and we were proud to serve you in our distinct way.

The same can be said of this week’s program. We wanted to help you understand the importance of this burgeoning religious tradition of Pentecostalism. Not only did we want to point out that influential Pentecostals are involved in the highest levels of Democratic and Republican Party leadership, we wanted to give you a better understanding of Pentecostalism at its lived center.

Two years ago, we covered the centennial celebration of Pentecostalism, returning to its foundational roots on Azusa Street in Los Angeles. Krista spoke to the foremost authority on Pentecostalism’s history and significance, Mel Robeck; she spoke at length with a Latina scholar who brings a fresh set of eyes to the tradition, Arlene Sanchez-Walsh. Both practice the faith they study: Robeck descended from parents who were both ministers with the Assemblies of God — Sarah Palin’s former denomination — while Sanchez-Walsh’s story of leaving the Catholic Church and finding a more charismatic tradition in a small church echoes the experience of many Latinos in the U.S. and in their native countries.

Experiencing Pentecostal worship and approaches to life was somewhat of a shocker for a boy raised in a pretty stiff and reserved Roman Catholic Church in central North Dakota. But, after talking to so many Pentecostals from around the world who told such touching, personal testimonies of how the Spirit changed them and “saved” them, I could no longer be so skeptical, so cynical. Pure authenticity. Now when I pass by that Assemblies of God church on Summit Avenue, I don’t just see a standing-seam metal roof but think of the charismatic worship going on inside and the ecstatic forms of expression and lives being lived more fully, even if I’ll never belong. Maybe this program will help your understanding too.

(photo: Alessandra Petlin for The New York Times)

Share Your Reflection



When one has a transrational encounter with the Divine, what is one to do with it? Well I guess interpret it. What does what just happened to me mean? Pentecostalism is but one interpretation of such an encounter. I am not saying that the Pentecostal interpretation is not valid, but just one of many. It seems that when talking about this stuff we, myself included, mistake our interpretation of God for God Him/Herself. It is like we pull out our spiritual raodmap and mistake the map for the teritory. Thanks.

I think, in many ways, if Palin becomes vice president it will finally shatter that religious glass ceiling in America, which historically has maligned, marginalized and mocked Pentecostals. That said, I think some of Palin's theology about "God's will" and "God's plan" to be both interesting and a little discomforting, and I don't necessarily think it's because of her Pentecostal faith.

Given the religion-based positions of VP nominee Sarah Palin, we at JewsOnFirst.org were a bit disconcerted hearing Krista, in her remarks intro'ing the program, say that Pentecostals are not "fundamentalists," without qualifying that to say that some share a relgion-based political agenda with "fundamentalist" Christians.

I think great inroads were made at General Council 4 years ago when Zollie Smith, an African-American, was elceted director of U.S. Missions. And Herbert Cooper, an African-American A/G senior pastor in OK City, preached one night at GC 2009 in Orlando.My home A/G church actually mirrors our comunity pretty well. We have a growing group of African-American members, several of whom are in visible ministry positions (choir, worship team, ushers, teachers). We have a group of about 100 Latinos, who have their own Spanish-language Sunday School class and Wednesday night Bible study, and a monthly fellowship night, but their children and youth are integrated in the regular children's and student minsitries, and we have simultaneous translation on FM radio for the Sunday morning worship.And we have a handful of Asian-Americans. We're much closer in reflecting the percentages in our city than we were 10 years ago.Daniel, I'm not sure I would classify the language districts as a separate authority structure. Sure, the Spanish-language districts have geographical overlap with the English districts, and there are multiple Spanish districts because of the size of the Latino constituency, but we also have German, Brazilian/Portuguese, Slavic, and Korean districts, which may not be as noticeable because they are language districts that cover the whole country, not just a geographical region like the Spanish districts do.

I feel it does matter what religious you are its only one God. We study Bapstim and with Jehovah witness and now we are Pentecostal and until this day I really didn't understand why my mom had us to study different religious I was only teach by my grandmom that it is only one God and no other God