In federal court in Pensacola covering the trial of Frank Lay and Robert Freeman http://bit.ly/SS4ob, I was surprised to hear the judge express concern over an expression Mr. Lay was said to have made.
The judge said something to the effect that Mr. Lay, in speaking to youth at a rally at an Assembly of God church, referred to himself and Christian teachers as not being able to help having the Holy Spirit “oozing” out from them.
Though the comments might have been meant to infer that Mr. Lay somehow promoted breaking rules against prayer by school employees—and repeated references by the prosecutor appeared overused and bordered on ridicule—I began to think of what the judge had said in her opening remarks.
In defending the Constitution and the rule of law, the judge took the time to point out America is a democracy and not a theocracy. She also said the court was not a synagogue, mosque or a church.
Contrarily, how could a an officer of the court watching a video of a Baptist deacon speaking to a group of Charismatic Assembly of God youths put into correct context what is clearly meant as a theological description?
Unless you are of a Charismatic Christian persuasion, perhaps you are not as familiar with the term “ooze” or “oozing” in relation to the Holy Spirit as you might be with “indwelt.” An understanding of the Holy Spirit varies greatly even between Christian traditions.
Personally, I believe that if Mr. Lay did say Christian teachers cannot help but to have the Holy Spirit “ooze” from them—I would have to heartily agree.
I would also say that teachers cannot stop praying when they enter their school property either. That is, if believers are to take 1 Thess. 5:17 seriously, to “pray without ceasing.”
As believers who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, everything we do and say should be a reflection of who we are in Jesus Christ. When we became a believer, we became a new creature in Christ—our minds, our attitudes, our expressions, our tongues, our hearts.
Does this mean, however, that prayer – or any result of being indwelt by the Holy Spirit – an attitude, a mindset, an expression – need be a direct utterance, an overt gesture? Does it mean one wears a head covering, an identifiable uniform or seek to draw particular attention to one’s faith.
When I was a public classroom teacher, I policed myself from actively presenting Christ to students. I prayed God use me in some way despite the fact I could not verbalize my faith aloud to students.
Whatever the situation Mr. Lay and his district face, one thing is clear—the “oozing” of the Holy Spirit will not cease.
But, like the judge said, the court is NOT a synagogue, mosque or church, and theological discourse, like that presented above, must be considered within its context if it’s to be understood.