CHARISMA AND INSTITUTIONS: A SOCIOLOGICAL ACCOUNT OF THE 'TORONTO BLESSING' Margaret M. Poloma, Sociology Department, The University of Akron, Akron, OH 44325-1905 USA. (R1MMP@vm1.cc.uakron.edu) *Do not cite in publications without permission from the author* Paradoxically, although charisma has long been recognized as a factor in the rise and revitalization of religious movements, it seems to depart quickly once it has completed the task of institution-building. Now it is more fragile than ever, for modern institutions are prone to favor efficiency and pragmatism rather than charisma's illusive spirit. Charisma and institutionalization thus appear to be at odds, with charisma quick to take on routine forms that stem its free flow. (Poloma 1989:232). Introduction The outpouring of the Holy Spirit that North America has witnessed since the beginning of this century may be characterized as a social movement struggling against the forces of institutionalization. From its Azusa Street days to the present time, the pressing need for institutional norms, structures, and resources have quickly controlled charismatic fires. Although those who experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit during the first decade of this century seemed to have intuited the dangers of institutional forces for charisma, by the end of the second decade institutional frameworks had been hammered into place that threatened this fragile force. The Latter Rain Movement of 1948 (Riss 1987) and its aftermath provided brief showers to revive a Pentecostalism that seemingly had been reduced to "evangelical tenets plus tongues," but the forces of organized Pentecostalism contributed to restricting the impact of this short-lived downpour. It was the move of the Spirit in the mainline churches during the 1960s and 1970s [which Richard Riss (1987) has suggested was the beneficiary of the Latter Rain Movement] that earned the designation of the "second wave" of the Spirit movement. Although there is some evidence that the charismatic movement revitalized some pentecostal churches (see Poloma 1989) and that it spawned organizations in mainline churches to spread charismatic fires (Synan 1987), charisma in these organizations often quickly experienced the same paralysis that has threatened it throughout history. The development of institutional mechanisms so necessary for the continuance and spread of the movement once again became the very forces that restrict the free move of the Spirit. As Quebedeaux (1983:239) concluded after his analysis of the mainstreaming of the charismatic movement: "Not unlike other movements of the Spirit before it, charismatic renewal had 'run out of steam' by the late 1970s . . ." Recognizing this draught that had overtaken the charismatic movement, church-growth expert Peter Wagner (1983) quickly proclaimed a "third wave" of the revival--churches and persons who were "open to the move of the Holy Spirit" but who considered themselves as neither Pentecostal nor charismatic. From the Heartland of the U.S. where I watched the effects of the draught, this so-called "third wave" simply appeared to be another facet of the institutional taming of revival fires. Some mainline churches may have set up new "spiritual counseling" and "healing services," but most of these practices bore stronger resemblance to successful self-help groups or to quasi- professional counseling sessions than to earlier charismatic outpouring. Whether measured in terms of prayer groups, attendance at charismatic conferences, charismatic publications, or the growth of charismatic/pentecostal churches, the original fire by mid-1980s appeared to have been reduced to glowing but dying embers in the industrialized world. In the concluding chapter of my book The Charismatic Movement: Is There a New Pentecost? (1982:239) which I completed just before the draught took hold in North America, I wrote: The core issue for charismatic Christians is their belief and experience of Spirit baptism and the accompanying gifts, along with the role of the gifts in revitalizing and spreading orthodox Christianity. The core issue is, in fact, a struggle against the seemingly inevitable routinization of charisma . . . . Whether or not the charismatic movement can overcome routinization as a united body remains to be seen. The strength of tradition and denominational beliefs, as well as the quest for doctrinal certainty and precision, may prove too strong for the unity in diversity that has been inherent in the movement from its Azusa Street days. Charismatic revival fires appeared to be short-lived in modern societies where they are quickly quenched by forces of religious empire building, the predominance of materialistic and rationalistic world views, and extreme individualism that threatens corporate visions. When I heard tales of the so-called "Laughing Revival" and then the "Toronto Blessing," I judged both from afar as last gasps of a dying fire. In November, 1994, I began to take a closer look through repeated visits to the Toronto Airport Vineyard and regular participation in an Akron Episcopal charismatic church that had "caught the fire." To my surprise, I began to see and experience phenomena that I had only read about in the early history of Pentecostalism, albeit in a milieu that was devoid of most of the legalistic elitism that I observed in earlier stages of the movement. Nearly immediately I began to question how institutional forces were interacting with charismatic fires. Is it possible for these two actors--charisma and organization--to work together in a long-term revival? Or would strong institutional forces shear the wings of the soaring charismatic spirit? These twin questions prompted me to examine the "Toronto Blessing" through the lenses of Thomas O'Dea's "institutional dilemmas," the same sociological theory that I had used in earlier works (Poloma 1983, 1989). What follows will provide some portrait of the organizational components of the Toronto Blessing and a preliminary assessment of the way they balance order with spontaneity, structure with freedom, and stability with change. Charisma and Institutionalization in Sociological Context Charisma is the social psychological key that best assesses the pentecostal/charismatic outpourings of the twentieth century. Unfortunately, charisma is far from the primitive, unambiguous concept that Max Weber intended. It apparently had several interrelated meanings in the writings of this sociological master, leading to confusion in the works of his disciples and a common parlance that is even less precise. Charisma was first used as a scholarly term by German church historian Rudolf Sohm, who took it from the New Testament. In this initial scholarly use, the concept shared the same source as it did for the present full-gospel community, namely, the Greek term meaning "gift of grace." Weber based his use of the term on Sohm's but expanded it to include the connotation of magic: Not every stone can serve as a fetish, a source of magical power. Nor does every person have the capacity to achieve the ecstatic states which are viewed...as the preconditions for producing certain effects in meteorology, healing divination, and telepathy. It is primarily...these extraordinary powers that have been designated by such special terms as "mana," "orenda," and the Iranian "maga" (the term from which our word "magic" is derived). We shall henceforth employ the term "charisma" for such extraordinary powers (Weber 1947:400). Although believers undoubtedly would be distraught to have their experiences identified with magic, as a sociologist I find, with no pejorative intent, that Pentecostal charisma well fits Weber's definition as "extraordinary powers." The usage breaks down, however, when Weber sets the magician apart from the masses. The "extraordinary powers" of healing, prophecy, tongues, foreknowledge, deliverance, and other charismatic "gifts" may be distributed unequally, but they are believed to be available to all believers. This is even more evident in the so-called "Toronto Blessing" movement where the fire is often transmitted by unnamed persons who are among the thousands of pray-ers through whom the blessing has been imparted. In addition to "magical charisma" with its emphasis on "extraordinary powers," Weber has identified a second type: "prophetic charisma." In Weber's words: we shall understand "prophet" to mean a purely individual bearer of charisma, who by virtue of his mission proclaims a religious doctrine or divine commandment. No radical distinction will be drawn between a "renewer of religion"...and a "founder of religion"...Nor shall we be concerned in this context with the question whether the followers of a prophet are more attracted to his person, as in the cases or Zoroaster, Jesus, and Muhammad, or to his doctrine, as in the cases of Buddha and the prophets of Israel (1947:439-40). A "message" or "teaching" is thus proclaimed by someone who also appears to be personally gifted with alleged "extraordin- ariness" enabling the impartation of the religious message. The larger charismatic/pentecostal movement, while having a prophetic message, has had no single prophet to deliver the message. This is even more true of the present revival for which the Toronto Airport Vineyard has become the Azusa Street of the 1990s. Although John Arnott is the congregation's pastor, his presence is not as central to this revival as William Seymour's was to Azusa Street. The "extraordinary powers" or charisma have been even more democratized today than in the earlier stages of the movement during which there was also great reluctance to accord pentecostalism's success to a single person. Much of this can be attributed to the larger Vineyard Movement's emphasis on the priesthood of all believers. Pastors and leaders are to be catalysts of empowerment who "equip the saints for service," training and praying with all believers to be instruments of the Holy Spirit. True to Weberian theory, I view charisma as a social psychological phenomenon but one that is rooted in a collective history and experience. The charisma of the Toronto Blessing, rather than being the property of person or office, rests in a message that is accompanied by powerful experiences. As with the charisma of the pentecostal/charismatic movement that began at the turn of the century, this latest wave represents a "protest against modernity," being but one contemporary example of a collective effort to bend the "iron cage" of a rationalistic one-dimensional society. It is charisma that has exploded into a global renewal, one that began January 20, 1994 at the Toronto Airport Vineyard (TAV) small church of then 350 attendees located in a warehouse/ office compex just outside the Toronto International Airport. It is the handling of the dilemmas posed by this highly unusual revival/renewal by the leadership of the Airport Vineyard that is the subject of presentation. O'Dea's Five Dilemmas of Institutionalization Thomas O'Dea identified five institutional dilemmas that are inherent in the process of the institutionalization of religion. Each reflects the "basic antimony" or "fundamental tension" that exists between charisma and institutional forces. The tension between spontaneity and stability which permeates the five dilemmas is, according to O'Dea (1961:38), "a dilemma which involves transforming the religious experience to render it continuously available to the mass of men (sic) and to provide for it a stable institutional context." These five dilemmas of institutionalization are: (1) mixed motivation, (2) symbolic dilemma, (3) administrative order, (4) delimitation, and (5) power. Each will be briefly reviewed, noting some problems each generates and how these problems are being addressed by leaders of the Toronto Airport Vineyard. The Dilemma of Mixed Motivation: Assessing the Message In the preinstitutionalized stage of the development of a religious movement, the classical form of which is to be seen in the relation between a Master and his disciples, the attraction of the followers and the motivation of the devotees are characterized by a certain single-mindedness. This is not to assume that the religious movement does not satisfy complex needs for the adherents and converts. . . .But it is to assert that the religious movement in its charismatic moment makes its message and the attraction of its leader the main focus with respect to such needs and motives (O'Dea 1963:75) The Toronto Airport Vineyard (TAV) is decidedly (at the time of this writing) in its "charismatic moment," although as with earlier moves of the Spirit this century, the focus is on the message and not the medium. As already noted, the pentecostal/ charismatic movement has been a democratic movement in that all believers are regarded as potential instruments for Spirit action. At TAV there is an active discouragement of any cult of personality reflected both in the range of ordained and at times non-ordained persons who are invited to preach at the evening services and the strong team approach to the prayer ministry. Visitors are reminded frequently that it is the Holy Spirit who is moving in the service--not the preacher or the team pray-ers. It was only on my third trip to TAV that I finally heard TAV's senior pastor, John Arnott, preach. Unless it is a time during which a special conference is being held, visitors are never sure which pastor from the staff will be hosting the service or who will be preaching. Introductions are frequently glossed over, making it is difficult for the newcomer to easily determine the cast of TAV actors. The emphasis at TAV is on a simple message--one of God's love. As Catholic theologian Peter Hocken (1995) has recently noted in his reflection on the Toronto Blessing, this central message "concerns the Lord loving his people, and that we have simply to believe in the loving mercy of our God to receive and experience this divine love." The stance for receiving the Toronto Blessing (as it has come to be known worldwide) is found in Jesus's admonishment "whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it" (Mark 10:15). The physical manifestations (laughing, jerking, shouting, rolling, etc.), understandably the focus of media reports about TAV, are regarded by some simply as signs that the "Heavenly Father is playing with his children." With the outbreak of the renewal occurring only approximately 18 months ago, TAV is still basking in its "charismatic moment." Although perhaps difficult to quantify, there is a spirit of love that permeates not only the meetings but also the business dealings that occur on the premises. Despite the stress undoubtedly generated by the demands of thousands of visitors each week, both staff and volunteers are courteous and cheerful. The motto originally selected for this young church (founded by Arnott as a "kinship group" in 1987 but which had no full-time pastor until 1992) is a good summary of the single-minded goal one readily observes both in the religious services and the more mundane contacts with pastors and staff: THAT WE MAY WALK IN GOD'S LOVE AND GIVE IT AWAY. TAV has been blessed by the renewal and remains committed to "giving it away" as a prime focus. O'Dea's theory suggests that TAV and the "Toronto Blessing" will eventually it will go the way of other charismatic movements where the single-minded goal is replaced by self interest (O'Dea 1961:304). To date the single-mindedness is reflected in the focus on a simple (yet profound) message proclaimed by a cast of characters who are often "nameless and faceless." Although certain names are better known to followers of the Blessing--names such as John Arnott, TAV's senior pastor; Randy Clark, the Vineyard pastor from St. Louis, MO who led the first revival meetings; TAV pastoral staff member Guy Chevreau, author of Catch the Fire; worship leader David Ruis who has written some of the most popular Blessing songs--to name a few--prestige and monetary considerations still take a backseat to the joy of being able to serve in the spread of this global revival. If O'Dea's thesis is correct, however, the institutional matrix with its statuses and roles will in time intensify the desire for this-worldly compensations and thus be "capable of eliciting another kind of motivation, involving needs for prestige, expression of teaching and leadership abilities, drives for power, aesthetic needs, and the quite prosaic wish for the security of a respectable position in the professional structure of the society" (O'Dea 1961:33). As we shall demonstrate in assessing the other dilemmas, the pastoral staff at TAV seems intent on developing the needed institutional matrices with an eye ever fixed on this goal of walking in God's love--and then giving it away. To the extent they are able to remain focused on this goal in the development of an institutional matrix, perhaps the forces of institutionalization need not quench the Spirit. The Symbolic Dilemma: Assessing the Medium The object of the apprehension of the "sacred" or the experience of the "holy" as well as the kinds of attitude involved in the response to the adherents must be given some form of objectified expression if they are to survive the moments of such experiences themselves, especially if they are to be communicated to others and transmitted from generation to generation. Most central in this respect are those acts of worship which both express attitudes and place the worshiper in relation to the object of those attitudes. Cult and its rituals are central to organized religious life, . . . (O'Dea 1963:78). On January 20, 1994, some 120 members of TAV met for what was to be a four-day revival meeting in their church led by a Vineyard Christian Fellowship (VCF) leader from St. Louis, Randy Clark. Clark had been experienced a powerful renewal and refreshing after attending the meeting of expatriate South African evangelist, Rodney Howard-Browne. Although already accustomed to charismatic manifestations found in other Vineyard congregations, those who attended the TAV revival meeting experienced a new intense level of Spirit blessing. Laughter, prostration, "drunkenness" and other physical phenomena were the initial hallmark of the renewal, but it soon became apparent that people were having profound internal experiences together with the unusual external manifestations. They were reporting internal change as well as outward excitement (Roberts 1994:21). Members were delighted with this fresh outpouring and prayed that it might happen just "one more night." This desire for "more" has birthed a nightly service (except for Mondays) that has attracted hundreds of thousands of people from around the world. The dilemma under consideration in this section concerns the need to objectify (to some degree) a ritual which allows room for religious experience without engendering inauthenticity or alienation. The premise upon which TAV operates is that the Blessing comes from the Holy Spirit (although leaders are careful not to endorse every manifestation as the work of God). It does not rest upon a particular preacher, pray-ers, ministry team, or even physical place. (Early in 1995 TAV moved from the warehouse facility to a convention hall nearby to accommodate the growing number of visitors with no noticeable impact on the Blessing.) As John Arnott has stated: Administratively, what we are seeing is a nameless and faceless moving of the Spirit. It doesn't matter who is preaching. Many different speakers have led the meetings, and the outcome is always the same. After worship, testimonial interviews, and the preaching of the Word of God, the Holy Spirit comes and powerfully touches and transforms lives. It is not a consequence of great or prominent personalities (Chevreu 1994:vii-viii). A ritual form, however, is provided as a stage for the nightly visitation of the Spirit, and an analysis of this ritual provides an important key to understanding the balance between charisma and institutionalization still found at TAV. The ritual entails four main "actors," each of whose performance will be considered in relation to this dilemma: the host or master of ceremonies (MC), the music ministry team, the preacher, and the prayer teams. Host or Master of Ceremonies The Master of Ceremonies (MC) is acknowledged to be in many ways more important a role than that of the preacher's. The MC or host is almost always a member of the pastoral staff who is able to guide meetings according to TAV priorities. The MC usually does not make an appearance until after the 40 minutes of singing and worship is completed, coming on stage to play a seemingly minor role of making announcements and guiding testimonies. It is the MC, however, who is there to assure that the service does not become a "free-for-all," although to the first-time visitor it may seem like just that! Until very recently the MC either solicited testimonies from persons already known in some way to the pastoral staff or requested them directly from an unknown audience. Playing the role of an interviewer, the MC understands the focus of the testimony is to be on the fruits that may be coming through; i.e. what God is doing in the person's heart. Meanwhile the person may be laughing, jerking, jumping, or involved in other bodily manifestations. These manifestations are acknowledged but treated lightly. Serious consideration of the physical manifestations are always related back to some interior work of the Spirit. In the words of Steve Long, a member of the pastoral staff who frequently hosts on Tuesday evenings: So we are not looking around to see who flopped on the floor the hardest and bring that person up and have them do something that is real humorous and entertain people. Our purpose in providing testimonies is to allow people to recognize that there are life-changes going on and that is the more important thing (Long 1995). The testimonies have an acknowledged purpose: modeling behavior for the audience. On a typical Tuesday evening (after the Monday evening break), a full 80 percent of the people in attendance will be first-time visitors representing some 20 or 25 countries from throughout the world. The message is that it is acceptable to have these experiences, but that the real gift goes on inside the person. The manifestations have been likened to a flashing light to indicate "Spirit at work." The important story to tell is what the Spirit is doing on the inside. I have seen the MC "pick up the pieces" when speakers (in this case a husband and wife team) became "drunk in the Spirit" while trying to give a well-prepared biblical message. After the husband succumbed to falling off the stool in which he was sitting to stabilize himself, the wife endeavored to continue with her part of the message. Before long she tossed her notes aside saying, "I guess the Spirit intends for this message to be given tomorrow night" and then fell to the floor. Without any fanfare, the MC unobtrusively took charge and directed the music team to play "Amazing Grace," which then allowed him to lead an altar call (a normal part of each service) before all moved into the open-ended prayer ministry. Great care was taken not to stifle any possible move of the Spirit by allowing freedom to the speakers while moving the service along through the altar call to the time of individual prayer. Music Team Music plays a vital role in most religious ritual, and it is the music ministry team that calls the audience to worship. Contemporary rock music (with the expected degree of amplification) sets the mood for "making a joyful noise unto the Lord," during which many enter into the "collective effervescence" that Emile Durkheim recognized to be the heart of ritual. Praise and worship of God is believed to be the medium through which the presence of God is made manifest, as reflected in the oft-cited scripture noting that "God inhabits the praises of His people." Jeremy Sinnott, the music pastor for TAV, is a gifted leader who teaches a class on worship offered weekly to pastors and others who may be interested in learning how to conduct TAV-style worship. Sinnott's definition of worship guides his actions: "Worship is a personal and intimate meeting with God in which we praise, magnify and glorify Him for His Person and His actions. It is the act of freely giving love to God. We meet God and He meets us" (Sinnott 1995). He emphasizes that worship is "only for God's glory," and all must be evaluated in light of that purpose. Although Sinnott insists that he does not want anyone "to pick up a formula," there is an acknowledged normative structure that has developed to ensure the smooth flow of worship. For example, the opening music tends to consist of decorative kinds of songs that are electrically charged, often loudly proclaiming in song what God is doing or about to do. Then begins the process of "bringing it down," moving toward quiet worship songs that allow for the worshiper to enter into a time of intimacy with God. Sinnott notes it would be "rude" to end worship and move into the announcements on this note. So the music is brought up a bit to allow the move to the next phase (Sinnott 1995). The music team is also charged to play during the time prayer teams are involved in individual ministry (immediately following the sermon and the altar call). The music chosen for ministry time are "quiet intimate love songs to Jesus." The intent is to keep the music "relatively quiet to allow those who want to worship to do so." As more and more people are seeking nightly prayer at the Vineyard, there is a greater emphasis on instructing people to remain in a worshiping mode before seeking prayer. They are reminded that many people, without seeking the assistance of prayer ministry teams, are ministered to during this time directly by the Holy Spirit. Preaching in Ritual Context The Preacher/Speaker, usually regarded as the pivotal actor in evangelical rituals, plays a somewhat less central role in these charismatic services. The speaker is encouraged to address a biblical topic of his/her choice for a delivery lasting anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. The quality of the sermons vary greatly in both content and style. As Catholic theologian Peter Hocken reported: "I heard John Arnott preach three times, and I found these the more powerful messages. Two nights I had pastors from neighboring Vineyard churches, and these were not very profound and somewhat rambling. Some visiting Lutheran pastors from Germany were not impressed!" (I must confess to similar reactions. Although I have been touched by God in some way by each visit, I often find the substance of the message lost in sermons that go beyond their allotted time.) Meanwhile manifestations may be underway--waves of laughter, weeping, an occasional shout--that would be extremely disruptive in most other western religious rituals. Although for most evangelical services which tend to center worship around a "lecture" (Kraft 1989) this downplaying of preaching might be regarded as a weakness, nondescript sermons might actually attest to the strength of charisma within the nightly gatherings. Not even the preacher/speaker is given a preeminent place in the service. I recall one evening when I found the preacher particularly disorganized. Tiring of the sermon that he could not seem to bring to an end, I got up and walked to the back of the hall and stood there looking over the people sitting patiently through the young man's rambling. Although I never did figure out what the theme of his talk was, I did watch him (in what seemed to be a quick shift) quietly invite men to come forward because "the Lord wanted to teach men to dance in worship before him." I doubted that more than a few men would respond to this quiet invitation, especially given the poor quality of his presentation. To my surprise some three quarters of the men in the audience went toward the front of the auditorium and then filled the aisles--and began dancing as music played. I returned to my seat--got "out of my head," moved with my heart, and began dancing with them. This rambling sermon moved into a beautiful time of active worship that is not part of the normal ritual script. Prayer Teams in Action Prayer teams are perhaps the best example of the alleged "nameless-faceless" characteristic of the TAV's ministry. Those involved in praying with people who come forward for prayer are generally lay persons--and less often pastors--from either the Vineyard or more often from neighboring churches or from distant churches who have passed the necessary Vineyard screening. Although there are clear rules in place about who may minister and how this ministry is to take place, the emphasis is not on "control" as much as on providing a "safe place" in which strangers may receive prayer ministry. One Vineyard practice that was in place before the renewal began was people praying for one another. In these early days of the TAV revival, the leader would encourage one person to pray for another during the service for the Blessing. As visitors began to flock to the services, it became quite apparent that many people did not know one another and that it was quite possible for someone seeking prayer to be emotionally and spiritually hurt by an untrained and insensitive pray-er that no one knew. It was this concern for the well-being of those coming to the TAV that numerous rules were established regarding who could pray and a training program established for prayer teams. Visitors have been instructed not to accept prayer from anyone not wearing a white or pink badge. White designates a person who is visiting but approved to be part of a prayer team; pink badges indicate persons who are regular members of TAV prayer teams. Badges have another designation--blue dots. Those with blue dots have gone through training and a measure of inner healing in their own lives; they have been approved as pray-ers for either sex. Those without blue dots are to pray only for those of their same sex (Raycroft 1995). The practice of having attendants ("catchers") behind persons being prayed for similarly is designed for the creation of a "safe place." Many persons were falling to the floor in very crowded quarters with the potential for serious injury. The male assistants normally are able to catch those who fall so that they do not land on top of one another. At times, however, the Spirit moves before a pray-er reaches a person or while a corporate prayer is being offered and scores begin to fall without attendants being in place. The intent of the catchers is not to ritualize falling to the floor but rather to balance the safety factor with a maximizing of freedom to experience the Spirit moving in this way. Those on the prayer team are instructed to pray in accord with the leadership's perceived vision and purpose of the Toronto Blessing. Again there is little room for an individual star to shine with long prayers and extensive counsel. Most commonly the pray-ers speak ejaculatory prayers for the person being prayed with. "Come, Holy Spirit, fill her"; then "Go deeper, Lord" or "Increase within him" are common short prayers that are offered. One such prayer, "More, Lord" has come to be known internationally as the theme prayer of the Toronto Blessing. Often persons being ministered to, who are encouraged to remain in worship and may have their eyes closed, never even see the faces of members of the prayer teams. The host, the music ministry, the preacher/speaker and the prayer teams thus work together to maintain a common goal--to give freely the Blessing bestowed on TAV. Although an offering is taken at each service, the low-keyed manner in which it is done is both a reflection of the intent not to hype people during the service as well as the desire to give the Blessing away. TAV has a loosely structured ritual that remains open to charisma, and it is through these rituals that the fire is being spread around the globe. The Dilemma of Administrative Order: Assessing the Structure Max Weber showed that charismatic leadership soon undergoes a process of routinization into a traditional or rational-legal structure made up of a chief and an administrative staff. There is an elaboration and standardization of procedures and the emergence of statuses and roles within a complex of offices. One important aspect is the development in many cases of a distinction between the office and its incumbent, which has become characteristic of the bureaucratic structure of the modern world. (O'Dea 1961:35) The charisma found flowing at TAV descended into a small organization inadvertently structured to quickly birth the larger institution that has come to be a focal point of an international renewal. Certain offices and institutional structures were already in place on January 20, 1994 when the Spirit first fell. Less than two years earlier, John Arnott had assumed the role of full-time pastor of the church he and his wife, Carol, had founded in 1988. During the four years during which Arnott had been a part-time pastor, he and his wife had worked with members of the fledgling congregation, mentoring them with prayers for "inner healing" as well as in developing their leadership potential (Roberts 1994). Some of these persons were positioned to take on important roles as TAV quickly grew to a staff of 6 full-time and 3 part-time pastors, with a total of 34 persons on the payroll by early 1995. Those who had been prayed with and counseled for inner healing in turn were able to pray with the many people who began coming to TAV to experience the renewal. TAV's affiliation with the rapidly growing Vineyard movement provided support and a network of external resources for developing an administrative order conducive with the spirit of revival. Led by John Wimber, the Vineyard (a new denomination in-the-making) began with Wimber's California church in 1978 and now has grown to include 470 churches in 25 countries (Francis 1995). Its administration is a loose network that has thus far been neutral when not in full support of the Toronto Blessing. Supportive pastors from Vineyard churches world wide (but especially around the Toronto area) have made possible the nightly meetings by providing music teams, speakers, prayer teams as well as some financial support. Involvement from area non-Vineyard churches also has been actively encouraged, as Arnott and TAV leadership emphasize that this is not a "Vineyard thing but a God thing." Unlike earlier revivals upon which Weber and O'Dea based their observations, the Toronto Blessing fell upon a well organized church positioned to move into a bureaucratic structure as the need arose. This administrative structure has been expanded greatly since January, 1994, and there is always the ever-present danger of overelaborating the structure in such a way to quench charisma. One potential for overelaboration comes from the conferences that TAV sponsors around the globe, especially in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. Conferences have been a mainstay of the charismatic movement, replacing the camp meetings of earlier revivals. The intent of the conferences is to "spread the fire" of revival, and that seems to have happened to some degree or another wherever such conferences have been held. There is the danger, however, that sponsoring conferences may become an end in itself now that the institutional machinery has been set in place to offer them. Conferences regularly sponsored at TAV attract a larger crowd than the 1,000 to 1,200 who attend a normal nightly meeting. For the present, however, the enthusiasm once found at camp meetings and conferences of the "second wave" of the charismatic movement is very much alive at TAV. The administrative dilemma, at this point, demonstrates a fine balance between institutional expansion and flexibility. Those involved in TAV leadership are still in awe of all that is happening and are trying to "go with the flow" of the river of renewal. The reception of charisma usually begins with such recognition that it is as fragile and often an illusive gift. As the administrative order proceeds along its natural course, the institution comes to be regarded as the "gift of grace," often with an expressed theology that charisma was needed to establish the organization (e.g. church, television ministry, missionary outreach, etc.) but that it is now the organization's responsibility to carry out its designated task. A medium is needed to allow for the healthy flow of charisma into the administrative order (c.f. Poloma 1983, 1989). I would like to suggest that prayer, especially in its more intuitive forms of meditation and contemplation, can provide such a conduit (Poloma and Gallup 1991; Poloma and Wernet-Beyer 1995). Prayer played a central role in TAV before the revival began, as may be illustrated by John and Carol Arnott's setting aside every morning "for personal prayer, worship and reading of the word" for a year and a half before the revival fires broke out in their church (Roberts 1994:64). With the increasingly heavy administrative demands of revival, however, this vital link of prayer can be easily discarded or become perfunctory. For now it is maintained through regularly prayer times for visitors desiring to intercede for TAV, before nightly services for the prayer teams, and weekly for pastors and staff. The very success of revivals often leads to a sense of pragmatism and expediency in the realm of administration that jeopardizes charisma. The need for administrative order can silence the prophets and quench the slow process of seeking divine guidance in decision making. It remains to be seen if administrative dams will be built in an effort to control this now free-flowing river. The Dilemma of Delimitation: An Assessment of Relativization In order to affect the lives of men, the import of a religious message must abe translated into terms that have relevance with respect to the prosaic course of everyday life. This translation is first of all a process of concretization. It involves the application of the religious insight into the small and prosaic events of ordinary life as lived by quite ordinary people. In that process the religious ideas and ideals themselves may come to appear to be of limited prosaic significance. Concretization may result in finitizing the religious message itself. (O'Dea 1961:36) The dilemma of delimitation deals with the balance between the need for concrete definitions versus the substitution of the law for charisma. As we have seen in examples provided in the discussion of ritual norms, rules and regulations have been quickly put in place at TAV. Although persons may laugh, weep, roar or shake during the service--even during the preaching--tambourine playing by someone in the audience is discouraged (due to acoustical problems). Visitors may freely walk around during the two to two-and-one-half hours of service before individual ministry begins, but actions that indicate a deliberate call for self attention are actively discouraged. Cameras and camcorders are allowed to be used, but no filming is permitted of any individual during ministry times. Rules such as these that are visibly in place seem to be carefully weighed in light of the impact they may have on the move of the Spirit. Leaders are encouraged to deal gently but firmly with individuals whose non-normative demonstrative behavior may be causing difficulties for others to worship. While laughing, weeping, and shouting have come to be normative at the Vineyard, there seems to be some reservations about dancing. If a person begins to dance in front of the stage during worship time, s/he may be asked to move to the back of the auditorium. Leaders are aware that such dancing may be the move of the Spirit--or it may be a person's need for undue attention. The test is the response of the person. As has been noted in several teaching tapes, "If it is of God, the person will respond graciously. He just wants to be worshipping God and will not care if it is at the front or back of the auditorium. On the other hand, if the person simply wants to draw attention to himself, such behavior should be discouraged during worship time." The danger inherent in this dilemma, however, is more than the development of such normative strictures. It entails the loss of the main message in the midst of such developing structures, norms, and ideologies. Or, to put it another way [as paraphrased by Mathisen (1987:304)], there are "the dangers of watering down the original versus rigid literal adherence to it." Thus, according to O'Dea (1961:36), the message of a religious revival can be "relativized" in two ways: by "emasculating the extraordinary so as to render it commonplace" (watering down) or "by insisting on literal observances despite very different social and cultural conditions" ("literal adherence"). TAV, reflecting wider Vineyard thought that the so-called extraordinary is in fact ordinary, suggests that what has been experienced to date is normal--and that it is just the "hor d'oeuvres" with the main course yet to come. While what is being experienced in revival is regarded as "ordinary" in this context, it is not "ordinary" in the larger instrumental-rational culture. I recall sitting next to a woman enjoying the sense of the Spirit's moving during the prayer time following a TAV service. The woman on the floor in front of us was kicking her feet wildly; three young Asians were lying to the left of us laughing uncontrollably; a prayer team member was doubling over as being shocked with an electrical current as he prayed for a middle-aged man. The woman next to me began to chuckle and said, "Isn't this really crazy when we sit here thinking this is normal and what goes on outside these walls is really not normal?" Sitting there in the midst of seeming chaos, there was an undeniable peace that cannot be readily explained. There appears to be little fear that what is being experienced--neither the manifestations nor the more prized "inner work"--will become commonplace. For one thing, the experiences are not limited to TAV but are being experienced in churches throughout the world. On a recent visit to a small nondenominational church in Cleveland, Ohio that has "caught the fire" from TAV and has its own meetings three nights a week, a missionary from Alaska was the evening speaker. Having just left TAV earlier in the day he commented, "I was blessed in Toronto, but it was nothing like what I just experienced in the prayer room here before the service began. Brothers and sisters, there is a power here tonight." There is a belief and hope that what is happening at TAV will become "normal church." This line of thought, of course, has its own problems. The difficulty of maintaining the free flow of charisma can be noted in the comment-question of newscaster Peter Jennings (1995) during a recent interview of Vineyard founder John Wimber: PJ: It has been said, Mr. Wimber, (I think by someone) that you need the mana of signs and wonders for the Vineyard Church to survive. Is that a fair comment? JW: I believe the Church of Jesus Christ needs that today. I think we are outdone! We can't spend the money on theater that the theater can. We can't entertain better than television can. We are not better spokesmen; we are not better philosophers; we can't counsel better than the counselors do. What do we have to offer? When it first started happening to us, Peter, I was just reading the Bible to the people, and people started falling down and shaking and laughing. And it has been going on 17 years now--sometimes with great force and power and sometimes with much less. It has its seasons. This first facet of the dilemma of delimitation appears to be dealt with paradoxically by acknowledging the "waves" of renewal forces with their natural ebb and flow while at the same time expecting even greater moves of the Holy Spirit. There is a seeming recognition that accommodative forces have always limited human expectancy of the power of the Holy Spirit. As John Arnott (1994) commented on the account of Jesus's healing of the blind man that was followed by a pharisaic debate, "It is amazing how blind we can become simply due to religious rules and regulations." Like many religious social movements that preceded it, the larger Vineyard Movement and TAV actively seek to keep the "rules and regulations" at a minimum. The second problem posed by delimitation is one of "insisting on literal observances despite different social and cultural conditions." In making some reflections "as a chronicler of the Charismatic Renewal and as a Catholic theologian," Peter Hocken (1995) suggests one door through which such literal adherence may enter when he notes how some of the emerging theology reflects "the world of Baptists, Pentecostals, and independent Charismatics, and would not be satisfactory to anyone from a tradition with a stronger ecclesiology." Hocken continues: "I also felt the biblical justification for "manifestations" was too much locked into an Evangelical mentality that has to find biblical justification for every detail of contemporary Christian life." This problem of universalizing the evangelical experience is also reflected in TAV's tendency to link the "Toronto Blessing" with the First Great Awakening rather than in focusing on the very different social and cultural conditions into which it is being poured. In dealing with this dilemma, TAV is between a rock and a hard place. Nearly all of its support (and its own Christian thought) comes from the orthodox sector of Hunter's (1991) "culture wars," which he defines as tension between the "impulse toward orthodoxy" and the "impulse toward progressivism." The battle lines have been drawn and thoughts rooted in the progressive sector are suspect in revival circles. Although many of the leaders seem open to prospects of integrating aspects of modernity which have been eschewed by their pentecostal predecessors, care must be taken not to fraternize too much with progressive thought. . . . Although the Toronto Blessing is alleged not to be a "Vineyard thing," it is easier to fit into the new independent charismatic church mold than to keep the delimitation dilemma alive with progressive dialogue. Proponents may make the same error as their pentecostal predecessors and write off the "old wineskins" of liberal denominationalism, but this perspective also seems to place limitations on the revival. On the other hand, TAV has already been under considerable attack from the orthodox watchdogs. It is one thing to welcome progressives onto Toronto turf, but it is another to enter into dialogue with them (as David duPlessis quickly learned when he began his dialogue with the World Council of Churches). What these illustrations and examples all point to is the danger of trying to satisfy critics (particularly within the orthodox evangelical community) at the expense of freedom to explore creative ways of conveying the simple message of God's love and His desire to bless His Church. Both the larger Vineyard movement and TAV have allowed "the walls to be knocked off their God-box" (to borrow a phrase from Guy Chevreau), but if history is any teacher, new ones are easily built. TAV is at risk of falling into the trap of delimitation by focusing on the conservative fringes of Christianity and in reining in charisma to please this potential constituency. The Dilemma of Power: Assessing Socialization and Accommodation The religious experience exercises a strong attraction upon those whom it affects and draws to become adherents of its insights. In Otto's terms, its content has an aspect "which shows itself as something uniquely attractive and fascinating." Moreover, the propagation of a religious message in the world religions is generally one that involves an invitation or "call" to interior change. The "interior turning" or "conversion" is the classical beginning of religious life. With the institutionalization of the religious viewpoint such a conversion may be replaced by the socialization of the young so that a slow process of education and training and related character formation substitutes for the more dramatic conversion experience. (O'Dea 1963:84) The attraction of the Toronto Blessing remains fresh and strong at this point in time, with children as likely to feel its impact as the old. The youth at the Episcopal church I attend regularly were the first to "catch the fire" of revival at their mid-week meetings. These young people now take over one special revival service a month where they may be found ministering to and praying for young and old alike. Their testimonies of personal experiences reflecting the Toronto Blessing reflect the same struggles and joys of adult conversion experiences. The dilemma of power at present is less of a problem of socialization than it is one of desiring legitimacy, especially from those in the orthodox Christian sectors. TAV leaders seem less concerned about acceptance from the secular world (a tendency identified by O'Dea as part of this dilemma) than of acceptance by the evangelical community. The irony of the present situation is that TAV has received a fairer treatment by the secular press than by many sectors of the religious press. Although its leaders desire legitimacy from the orthodox sector of the culture war, it is the progressive sector that often has been more open and less critical in its reporting. TAV could easily fall prey, however, to "the subtle temptation for religious leaders to avail themselves of the close relation between religion and general cultural values in order to reinforce the position of religion itself" (O'Dea 1963:84). In the "culture war" between orthodox and progressives being waged in the western world, the larger evangelical movement has taken a decidedly conservative stance. This is particularly true in the United States where evangelicalism has come to be identified with right- wing Republican politics representing the "general cultural value" for a large sector of Americans. The cosmopolitan flavor of Toronto and the steady influx of pilgrims from around the world may buffer TAV from such an American ideological take-over. In addition to the power play that is an ongoing temptation between a revival movement and the larger culture, the more immediate power problem is an internal one. From the beginning there has been the inherent danger of a struggle between the larger Vineyard movement and TAV. Mike Bickle (1994), pastor of a Vineyard in Kansas City, hinted at such a potential struggle during presentation at the 1994 "Catch the Fire Conference": I have a tremendous appreciation for John Wimber. You know when you are in a denomination or association of churches and you have been on center stage of world wide renewal for years--and when the Spirit of the Lord begins to do something different is one of the side branches-- usually in history, the guys who have been on the center stage come up with a hundred reasons why they think it is not good or healthy or balanced or sane or of God. But when John and Carol Wimber saw this thing they said, "Blessed be the name of the Lord. Let us be learners and partakers." My heart was so blessed. Despite Bickle's upbeat stance, rumors of a major split in the Vineyard movement persist. To date, however, disagreements are played down. Wimber himself seems to be taking middle-of-the-road position that neither endorses nor condemns the TAV revival. TAV shares with the larger Vineyard movement a flexibility that has facilitated the rapid growth of Christian Vineyard Fellowships in North America and in England. Coming out of the youth drug culture and eager to attract young people who have been "turned off" by existing churches, Vineyard leaders have worked to sort out the "essentials" of Christianity from the cultural trappings and have not been afraid to experiment with the new and novel. This openness sometimes been criticized by more established evangelical churches, yet it also created a milieu where the Toronto Blessing could happen and find acceptance. Most problems that have been identified with the dilemma of power, including socialization of new members and accommodation to the larger culture, pose no particular difficulty as long as the revival rains continue to fall. The thousands who flock to TAV each week may come as believers or as curious but there are no coercive powers available that can impart the blessing. Most of the socializing process occurs through family, friends, the news media, and the internet. Testimonies much like those given nightly at the Toronto Airport Vineyard are repeated in local churches, personal conversations with family and friends, and now on the internet. The testimonies are the catalyst drawing the thirsty and the curious to this river of refreshing. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION The Toronto Airport Vineyard is at the center of a larger renewal movement that is clearly still in its "charismatic moment." Burned by the adverse publicity generated by the scandals that rocked televangelism in 1987-88, these inheritors of the fresh charisma once enjoyed by earlier Pentecostals and Charismatics stress the "nameless and faceless" traits of the present movement. Where charismatic fires are allowed to burn, however, there is necessarily potential for destruction as well as for renewal. I have discussed five major dilemmas which have the potential to silence any religious revival. The dilemma of mixed motivation centers around the need for single mindedness. A potential pitfall is a rise of clerical leadership that would seek to harness charisma for personal power and prestige. The symbolic dilemma focuses on the transmission of the charismatic moment through ritual. Its nemesis is the possible development of inauthentic and alienating ritual practices. With the dilemma of administrative order looms problems of institution building. There is an ever- present danger of over-elaborating institutional structures in ways that jeopardize charisma. The dilemma of delimitation is two- pronged, one of which is laden with the danger of watering down the original message and the other with rigidly adhering to laws that kill the spirit. Trying too hard to please the orthodox sector with excessive normative regulations and rigid doctrines will quickly quench revival fires. The dilemma of power, although too early to assess, has been considered briefly in light of unhealthy internal friction and inappropriate external alliances. Where charisma exists, there will always been institutional dilemmas. It is important, however, that the solutions are supportive of and life giving for the "charismatic moment." As I have attempted to illustrate throughout this presentation, TAV remains committed to not quenching revival fires. Leaders exhibit a thoughtful and watchful stance on potentially problematic issues as they not only encourage the flames of revival at TAV but seek to spread the fire to other local churches through teachings and conferences. Ultimately, however, charisma is a mysterious and fragile gift. In the words of the David Ruis' song "Sweet Wind": There's a wind a-blowin' All across the land A fragrant breeze of Heaven Blowin' once again Don't know where it comes from Don't know where it goes But let it blow over me Oh, sweet wind Come blow over me. Charisma, despite its problems, is still welcome at TAV as well as other renewal sites that have developed around the world. The practices discussed in this paper have made TAV and TAV-like meetings a suitable home for this "gift of grace." Whether the wind keeps blowing, however, is beyond the power of TAV leaders. True charisma remains a fragile and illusive gift that cannot be manufactured. Once given, however, it can be either nurtured or stifled by institutional norms and structures. How long the Toronto Airport Vineyard and other benefactors of the Toronto Blessing are able to stay the forces of institutionalization remains to be seen.. REFERENCES Arnott, John 1994 "Decently and in Order." Audiotape. Toronto Airport Vineyard. Chevreau, Guy 1994 Catch the Fire. Marshall Pickering (HarperCollins Publishers) England. 1958 American Catholic Dilemma. Sheed and Ward. New York. 1961 "Five Dilemmas in the Institutionalization of Religion." Journal for the Social Scientific Study of Religion 1:30-41. Bickle, Mike 1994 "The Ravaged Heart of God." Catch the Fire Conference. Audiotape. Toronto Airport Vineyard. Francis, Vic 1995 "Stroke fails to sideline Wimber." Charisma (June):60- 62. Hocken, Peter C. 1995 "A Reflection on the 'Toronto Blessing'." Xerox. P.O. Box 2442, Gaithersburg, MD 20886. Hunter, James Davison 1991 Culture Wars. The Struggle to Define America. Basic Books. 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