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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
               Wednesday, December 4 2002 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster Charisma - 2

Perhaps the other side of the coin of yesterday's points about charisma is that some people are charismatic for the wrong reasons or ones that would be suspect to Christians. For example, a correspondent recently wrote to me about a woman who for years made a comfortable living as a fortune teller in Twin Rocks, possibly because of her intriguing personality or magnetism.

No doubt, for all I've read and heard, Charles Manson, the leader of the cult that murdered actress Sharon Tate and others in a sensational case 30 years ago, has some power over people, even today from prison, as did the Russian "mad monk" who was neither a monk nor a member of the clergy but usually is portrayed as such, Rasputin. Though a very carnal man whose exploits with women and behavior like public nudity were scandalous even in secular terms, many were drawn to Rasputin and apparently he had "gifts" of healing or of understanding diseases and effective treatments for them, though he was not schooled in medicine. Likewise, many who have gifts like "divining" (being able to find water underground using a dowsing rod, for example) seem to have demonstrable powers though they're not attributed in many cases to God, or even attributed to any specific source.

It seems axiomatic, too, that not all people see the same charismas or auras. Sallie Covolo wrote on Tuesday about Evangelist Billy Graham's charisma, and though I admire Dr. Graham for many gifts and accomplishments, I've been in a small group in a hotel press room with him, as well as being in a crusade where he was preaching, but never felt that kind of energy. Yet just the spontaneous outpouring of commitment by his audiences reacting to his messages attest that many must feel transfixed more by his personna than his words, which are far from unique.

In instances involving usually indifferent journalists, I've been impressed by a BBC-PBS program about Orthodoxy in Romania, in which, on meeting a certain bishop in that country the narrator testifies of being more impressed than he thought himself capable of being by the man's aura of holiness. The late British journalist and curmudgeon, Malcolm Muggeridge, was so impressed upon meeting Mother Teresa of India that he gave up his agnosticism, became a Catholic, and wrote perhaps the definitive biography of the late exemplar of Christian charity.

Again, I'd like to hear about your experiences in this area. Have you ever met a person who struck you the way Buford Pusser struck me, or Mother Teresa did Malcolm Muggeridge? Did you ever feel, upon coming into the presense of some person that you were in the proximity to holiness or something transcending normal human planes? Have you ever met a "saint," or have you ever been "touched by an angel"?

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Signs across America, end of series


As you travel through America looking at the signs in this series, if you encounter a two-story outhouse, be sure to use the upper level.




—Sent by Sallie Covolo

Thought for today

Holiness is not the luxury of a few. It is everyone's duty: yours and mine.

—Mother Teresa

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