Why I Think Michael Scanlan Went from Charismatic to #straightouttairondale

A little while back I posted How Did We Get from Scanlan to #straightouttairondale?, which posed the obvious (for me at least) question: how did Michael Scanlan, who (when I was going to the Steubenville conferences in the early 1980’s) was promoting a  Charismatic type of spirituality, end up at the conservative Catholic type which I characterise as #straightouttairondale?

One of the commenters on that post may have, IMHO, come up with the answer.  He commented as follows:

If necessity is the mother of invention, then desperation is the mother of re-invention.

In a speech from maybe 20 years ago on EWTN radio, Father Scanlon mentioned that two separate foundations who rate the viability of not for profit institutions both stated the school would close. Scanlon and the powers that be latched onto faithful and traditional Catholicism. That was a novel concept, what with most Catholic colleges being neither traditional nor faithful. Their relationship with EWTN has surely born fruit as well. EWTN was an instrument in my reconversion, and until finding this site, I was unaware of its Charismatic past.

What I am about to say is really the proposal of a theory.  It’s a theory that may not sit well with many people, not only because it characterises the participants in a less than perfect way, but also because so many people do not grasp the institutional dynamics that drive non-profit institutions such as churches, universities and governments.  Having worked in these, I can tell you that institutional survival drives many of their decisions and overrides the ideological or religious motivations that drive the faithful.

One of the things that “full-gospel” Christianity has dealt with from Azusa Street onwards is a deficiency of respectability.  That’s driven a great deal of the history of the movement.  Focusing on institutions of higher learning, if we look at a Pentecostal institution like, say, Lee University, we’re looking at a place which has experienced a long, hard road to get where it’s at today.  With respectability comes moneyed donors and students who can afford the tuition, both vital ingredients for the survival and prosperity of any private college.

In the case of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, the participants started further up the “food chain” than most of their Pentecostal counterparts did both in the beginning and really during the Renewal’s heyday.  But that doesn’t always translate into the donors and students that the Franciscan University of Steubenville needed to survive.  For all the conferences they hosted and the prominent place the University attained in the Renewal, they still experienced financial difficulties, to the point where the existence of the institution was in play.

Enter conservative, #straightouttairondale Catholicism.  There’s no denying that the Renewal and #straightouttairondale had touchpoints, as anyone who has read Ralph Martin’s Crisis of Truth is aware of.  (Some of you will also remember Mother Angelica’s famous rant after Christ was depicted as a women during a papal visit.)  But the means the two had to meet their common goals were highly divergent, and means is key here.  From their divergent musical tastes to their view on the working of the Holy Spirit, the differences between the two are profound.

#straightouttairondale Catholicism, however, was more respectable than the Charismatic Renewal, and that made it attractive for someone like Michael Scanlan, who was trying to make his institution viable.  Making the transition between the two was tricky enough on its face, but Scanlan had another problem: the existence of the Servants of Christ the King covenant community, which was under the direction of the Sword of the Spirit movement.  Guitars and folk music were anathema enough to the #straightouttairondale people, but a group connected to Sword of the Spirit, with its dicey connections to the Catholic Church and autocephalous authority structure, wouldn’t do at all.

In 1991 a group which spent a lot of time talking about visitations from God got a visitation from on high in the form of Steubenville’s Bishop, Albert Ottenweller.  He basically broke the group up.  That breaking up–a major point in the University’s history–was hardly acknowledged by Scanlan in later communications, as indeed was the Charismatic Renewal at the University.

I think it boils down to the respectability issue.  I’ve noted a broad reluctance to discuss the Renewal from many of its participants.  If we consider the practices current in the Renewal vs. those in #straightouttairondale, it’s not hard to see why.  On a deeper level, the Charismatic Renewal attempted to import the free exercise of the spiritual gifts into a church which had absorbed them into its sacramental and hierarchical system centuries before, and that was an uphill battle from the start, one only made easier by the state of Roman Catholicism in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Based on these considerations, I believe that we can make the following assertions about Scanlan and the break-up of the community:

  1. I think that Scanlan had advance knowledge of Ottenweller’s visitation and the result that it would have.  I think it’s a stretch at this point to say that Scanlan actually induced Ottenweller to come to the University, but it’s possible.  Even at that, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Scanlan threw the Servants of Christ the King under the bus.
  2. I think that he used the results of that visitation to further the transition of the University from a Charismatic institution to a #straightouttairondale one.  The University has, frankly, prospered from that transition.  Whether Roman Catholicism is better for it, or the state of the souls of those involved in all of this improved, is a trickier proposition.

Some of this monograph was drawn from John Flaherty’s compilation on the subject; I would especially draw your attention to the National Catholic Reporter’s article on the University, which was especially informative.

The Advocates

Dovetail DOVE 1 (1973)

Inaugural album on the UK’s premier Christian music label of the 1970’s.  As Ken Scott observes, by the time it was released the music is a little behind the times; it’s more of a 1960’s “British Invasion” kind of record in an era when the country was putting out albums that inspired this kind of thing.

This album has two strong points.  First, it’s a fun album, especially now that the “behind times” problem is pretty much moot.  People who want that 1960’s UK sound, with organ, are going to love this album.  The group members were associate evangelists with Youth for Christ, and I’m sure they put on a much livelier performance than their Maranatha counterparts in the U.S. (and I went to a couple of those.)  And it’s an album that expresses the simple joy of loving Jesus and meeting him for the first time that much Christian music that has come after it has sadly lost.

The songs:

  1. Take A Good Look At Yourself
  2. Rise Shine
  3. His Name Is Jesus
  4. No-Man’s Land
  5. Just Jesus And Me
  6. Jumping Jeremiah
  7. Emmanuel
  8. Revolution
  9. Miracle
  10. Alive
  11. Blind Eyes
  12. Rebels Song

The musicians: Dave Kitchen, Stuart Bell, John Hindmarsh and Keith Howard.

DL

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Senovia

Emmanuel L.P. 3000  (1975)

Most rock groups were pretty compact: four or five members, but they put out the defining sound of the era.  Large groups with choral leanings were exceptional, even among Christian groups.  We’ve featured large groups like Cloud, with their ethereal sound and very Anglican harmonies.

At the opposite end of the spectrum in every sense of the word is this group, from East Los Angeles and almost entirely Hispanic.  This album moves and rocks in a way that’s a sheer delight to listen to.  From their hard-driving cover of “I Am the Resurrection” onward, the vocals and instrumentation work very well.  For those of us who spent much of the 1970’s wishing that someone would “cut loose” it’s too bad it took this long to find a group that did just that, but Senovia does.  The closest thing to this album posted is God Unlimited, but although their work is excellent their result is restrained by comparison.  This is an album that has been forgotten, but it shouldn’t have been and shouldn’t be now.

The Songs:

  • I Am The Resurrection
  • Follow Me
  • Salvation Song
  • Christian Man
  • Glory Land
  • New Creation
  • United By Love
  • Children
  • The Lord
  • My Name Is Peace

The Musicians:

  • Ken Brokamp, Director, Guitar
  • Ron Rios, Bass Guitar
  • Esther Puente
  • Jesse Galenos, Guitar
  • Vic Valverde, Harmonica
  • Cenovia Madero, Maracas
  • Gloria Guzman
  • Rudy Pacheco
  • Gil Fierro, Congas
  • Dave Hidalgo, Drums
  • Olga Castelianos
  • Ofelia Balt-Liovera
  • Rosa Colorado
  • Maron Valadez, Guitar
  • Ricardo Yanez Electric Guitar

DL

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Likening Donald Trump to Julius Caesar May Not Send the Message People are Looking For

It really won’t:

Brutus is a commanding figure in the Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park production of “Julius Caesar.” The wily Mark Antony also looms large. But the most fearsome character in the show isn’t standing on stage — not even in the person of a Donald Trump-like Caesar — but instead storming the bleachers and shouting in the aisles. It’s the mindless Roman mob, or, as director Oskar Eustis’s politically slanted production slyly insinuates, it’s the ecstatic mobs at a Trump rally. Although the show whipped up controversy when funders pulled out over right-wing objections, the furor isn’t warranted: Anyone who reads the plays knows Shakespeare’s main message is that no matter how much you want to get rid of your current political leader, don’t kill him.

That last message is lost on people on both sides of the political spectrum, as we’ve seen with Kathy Griffin’s grisly photo and all the other nasty stuff the left is dredging up these days.  Shakespeare’s message needs to be taken to heart, because Brutus’ assassination didn’t restore the Republic, but ultimately led the way for Octavian to set up the Principiate (usually called the Empire) as Augustus.

As far as the dreaded mob is concerned, the Roman mob was an urban mob on the dole.  As long as most people worked, they didn’t have time to be an irresponsible mob.  But the social dislocations of the late Republic and the patronage driven nature of Rome led to that mob, which not only survived the Empire’s establishment and remained a potent force as long as the city of Rome was important, but transferred itself to Constantinople and made waves there.

The crisis of the Republic that led to Julius Caesar’s brief rule was, in a real sense, the product of its success.  Having conquered large areas around the Mediterranean, its political system, formed in a city-state, was no longer able to work properly.  The real question for us is this: is our form of government, formed in agrarian colonies, suitable for a country that essentially rules the world?  People on neither side are really asking this question.  The right wants to run the clock back, and the left wants to keep the form of the system while fundamentally altering its result.  Comparing Donald Trump to Julius Caesar dooms the left because the transition that Rome underwent was done by a relative.

If we are reaching the tipping point that Rome reached, we need to stop asking the question, “How do we restore this country to its ideal state?” and ask “Who is best positioned to take advantage of this mess and come out ahead?”  Answering that question, and finding the leader to make it happen, will decide how this Republic makes its transition to the next stage.

Kathy Kanewske: These Days

Mayim MM 1001 (1976)

Texas Catholicism made some magnificent contributions to the “Jesus Music” era, including this, this and thisThese Days is yet another contribution to that roster.  From the Community Of The Well in Austin, this delight is a well produced, well instrumented production with excellent vocals and a variety of styles, from the country style of “Jesus was a Carpenter” to the Jewish overtones of the “Song of Joel.”   Unlike most other Catholic productions, it does not have a particularly long section devoted to strictly liturgical music.  I suspect that the obstacle to wider acceptance of this music for liturgical use was that most parishes didn’t (and don’t) have the musicians up to performing it, but that’s a reason a great deal of great liturgical music written during this time ended up on the shelf.

Kathy Kanewske is still active producing Catholic music.  Albums like this, however, are a reminder that the Lord’s Prayer really says “on earth as it is in Texas.” 😉

The songs:

  1. Jesus Was A Carpenter
  2. Song Of Joel
  3. Do You Know What It’s Like
  4. They That Sow In Tears
  5. Jesus Riding Into Jerusalem
  6. Lamb Of God
  7. We Have Seen A Great Light
  8. Blessed Is The Man
  9. Eternal God
  10. Caring
  11. When Thou Passest
  12. Christopher Stephen

DL

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The Undemocratic, Procrustean Experiment Strikes Again

As Nick Park points out in his letter to Ireland’s Foreign Minister about the EU’s actions about Christian refugees from Eritrea:

We are alarmed at report recently from contacts in Brussels that the EU is in the process of signing Compact Agreements with third countries which will mean that members states can send back asylum seekers without difficulty.  Our understanding is that this whole process is being carried out in such a manner as to bypass the European Parliament and avoid democratic scrutiny.  We are informed that all member states must be in agreement before a compact agreement is signed.

The problem of undemocratic action is at the core of the problem of the EU itself.  Not only are the ways to evade democratic action multiple, but the EU has taken a “one size fits all” and “my way or the highway” attitude on many issues.  The biggest result of this was Brexit.  In the lead-up to the vote, I noted that the EU was an “undemocratic, Procrustean experiment.”  Many cried at the result but few stopped to think that, had the EU taken a more flexible and open approach to the UK’s concerns, it would have never happened.

The EU has always been sold that it is “the best.”  The best for what? For whom?  Intent to solve Europe’s propensity to plunge itself into conflict is one thing, but just because there’s a cure doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for improvement.

That Crazy Concept of Central American Economic Development…

…just might be facilitated by the policies of the Trump administration:

Meanwhile, suspension of U.S. participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership is potentially good news for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, offering temporary relief from enhanced global competition with the most competitive products and markets in Asia. Although important from a strategic U.S. perspective in Asia and Latin America, TPP nonetheless threatened to divert U.S. trade and investment activities away from the Northern Triangle and others in Central America toward nations like Vietnam and Malaysia.

In all the noise about immigration, it never occurred to most Americans to ask the obvious dumb question: why don’t we promote the economic development of those nations where many of the illegal immigrants come from?  Why make everyone who wants to succeed move here?  The answer to that is a combination of American exceptionalism on the one side to the needs of employers to the desire to change the composition of the electorate on the other.

But it’s in the best interest of this country for those nations to our immediate south to prosper and not just be the conduits for our voracious appetite for drugs.  Hopefully the summit later this month on the subject will move things forward, although I’ve always been sceptical about summits like this as gatherings of people who have never done the deal.

Although promoting economic development elsewhere isn’t a novelty in American policy (the Marshall Plan is the largest example) the self-focused nature of our governing elites has put it out of fashion of late.  But if there was a time when fashion needed to be cyclical, it’s this one.

People of Praise: Come, Lord

P/P 7601 (1976)

After the food fight I got into with my posting of the one Word of God album I did, I became reluctant to post another Catholic Charismatic community album.  I think, however, that the genre needs to be remembered and available when possible, and this production of the People of Praise in South Bend, Indiana is a good example of it.

Although the People of Praise wasn’t a small community, they brought in (yes, they did) Jim Cavnar from the Word of God community in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to produce the album.  It’s safe to say that there wasn’t that much difference in the worship styles of the two communities to start with, but with Cavnar’s presence it would be difficult to tell this album blindfolded from its Word of God counterparts.  The downside to that is the flat style, tambourines being the only percussion allowed, and heavy on the acoustic guitars.  The upside is that it was easy for a congregation to sing to (which is more than I can say for a lot of the current praise and worship music) and no worse than much of what OCP has produced over the years.

The style may be the same, but most of the songs are different from the Word of God repertoire.  One exception is “We See the Lord,” based on Isaiah 6.  It’s an old favourite of mine and was of my prayer group leader, who worked for the Southern Railroad.  It’s one of several songs with Protestant origins, common in the repertoire of communities and prayers groups of the era.

In her book Which Way for Catholic Pentecostals, J. Massyngberde Ford depicted the Ann Arbor-South Bend connection in a way that reminds history buffs of the Berlin-Rome axis.  (I guess that throwing in Dallas’ Community of God’s Delight makes a Berlin-Rome-Tokyo axis.)  But Ann Arbor’s leadership had fallings out, first with South Bend and then with Dallas, over the Sword of the Spirit.  For all the similarities of the three groups, that suggests that Steve Clark and his SoS people overplayed their hand, which contributed to the breakup of the 1970’s Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

The Songs:

  1. Come Lord
  2. Mission Hymn
  3. My Heart Stands Ready
  4. We See The Lord
  5. Jesus Is the Light of the World
  6. Make Music to Our God
  7. Revelation 21
  8. O Living Water
  9. But We See Jesus
  10. I Know the Lord Laid His Hands on Me
  11. Christ is the Lord of All
  12. When the Roll is Called Up Yonder
  13. Every Time I Feel the Spirit

DL

For more music click here

Kell Street Camp Meeting: Dinner and Joy on the Ground

Paula Records LPS 2211 (1972)

“Revival” recordings (audio and video) are common in Christian music.  For Southern Gospel, the best known ones are the “Gaither Homecoming” series, which they did in the 1990’s and 2000’s.  Their idea was to get many of the famous Southern Gospel artists–who were passing away–to perform their music, which made a tremendous impact on American Evangelical Christianity.

You’d think that the urge to do this wasn’t too strong in the 1970’s, when albums such as this were being produced.  The “Jesus Music” featured on this site was little threat to “traditional” Southern Christian music.  Evidently, however, some thought so, and this album was a response to that, although the motivation behind it is not the same as, say, the Gaithers.

This album is a “revival” album in every sense of the word.  The songs are framed in a small Texas town revival, right from building the brush arbor (depicted on the cover) to the altar call and revival closing songs.  In between are some classic hymns.  If they wanted to replicate the uneven, nasal vocals of small Southern congregations, they completely succeeded.  OTOH, although the narration wants to invoke memories of a rural revival, one thing that the “brush arbor”  would need is a good-sized generator: the instrumentation is electric and the drums are prominent, which would have elicited a “tsk tsk” from many Southern evangelicals, rural and urban.

But I suspect that there were other “tsk tsk” moments with this group.  Revival albums are done for two reasons: to keep a style of music and worship so that it stays alive in the church, and to “document” an era that has passed away, both musically and doctrinally.  I get the impression that this is the latter; in fact, the way they do some things both spoken and sung, it borders on satire.  At the end of the album, the narrator laments that his children will never see revival such as this, but that’s more due to this problem than the music having gone out of fashion, or he having moved to town (which Texans did by the droves after World War II.)

The closest thing already on site to this is Glide Memorial’s Bobby Kent, which I prefer because it’s more towards Black Gospel than Southern Gospel.  But if you’re looking for something more on the Scots-Irish side, the Kell Street Campmeeting (that’s the way we’d spell it in the Church of God) should “suit your fancy.”

The songs:

  1. Revive Us Again
  2. Kneel At The Cross
  3. The Great Speckled Bird
  4. Farther Along
  5. Will The Circle Be Unbroken
  6. I Shall Not Be Moved
  7. If We Never Meet Again
  8. Precious Memories
  9. Oh! Why Not Tonight
  10. God Be With You

DL

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