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CHARISMA

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CHARISMA

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:27 pm

• charisma •

Pronunciation: kê-riz-mê • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. (No plural) A magnetic attraction that allows someone to influence others. 2. A favor from God, an unusual talent or gift, such as a charisma for creating miracles.

Notes: Today's Good Word was Anglicized to charism for a while but then was reborrowed from Greek, along with the Greek plural, charismata. If you have charisma, you are charismatic, which allows you to do things charismatically.

In Play: We most often hear this word in its first sense above: "The charisma of the new Republican vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, has boosted the spirits of the Republican presidential campaign." We should not forget its spiritual implication, however: "Unless you have a charisma for foreseeing the future, you should take an umbrella with you to work today."

Word History: Today's Good Word is the Greek word kharisma "divine favor" from kharis "grace, favor". In Germanic languages it picked up N as a suffix, becoming gern "willingly, happily", used in many phrases meaning "to like". In English the initial G became Y, giving us yearn. The R in the root apparently also underwent metathesis (switched places with the vowel) and also became greedy. In Latin the same underlying root went into the creation of hortari "to encourage, urge", the verb underlying hortatorius, which English borrowed as hortatory. (We offer Doug Smith a hortatory word of thanks to encourage him to send us more Good Words like charisma.)
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Postby Slava » Sat Jun 23, 2012 6:19 pm

if you have charisma you are charismatic.

Yet, being a charismatic leader is often considered rather pejoratively, while being a leader with charisma is not.

Hmm.
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Jun 23, 2012 7:41 pm

Charismatic has another specific use underneath the spiritual gifts heading. Because speaking in tongues is one of the gifts Paul lists in 1 Corinthians 12, Pentecostal religion is often called charismatic. Individuals or groups in other faiths who speak in tongues also share that label. To some degree this is unfortunate, for tongues is only one of the gifts listed and it can influence some to focus on that gift and not the whole panorama. The classic discussions can be found in 1 Cor 12, Romans 12, and Ephesians 4. The latter is a bit different as the people ARE the gifts.
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Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:32 pm

Yes, Perry. The emphasis on glossolalia as the prime charismatic spiritual gift has created a rift amongst Christians. Unfortunately I think there is a "charismaticer than thou" aura about speaking in tongues. I am a first hand observer, not just a speculator, on this.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 8:10 pm

Never witnessed it myself, excuse me if I seem skeptical.
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Postby Slava » Sun Jun 24, 2012 8:33 pm

Philip Hudson wrote:Yes, Perry. The emphasis on glossolalia as the prime charismatic spiritual gift has created a rift amongst Christians. Unfortunately I think there is a "charismaticer than thou" aura about speaking in tongues. I am a first hand observer, not just a speculator, on this.

For a wonderful literary introduction to speaking in tongues, check out James Baldwin's Go Tell it on the Mountain. Very powerful writing, and important in understanding what it can mean to some people.
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Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:52 pm

slava: You ask, "If you have charisma you are charismatic?"

There is a perceived if not actual difference. The statement that one is a charismatic leader has been influenced by the close identification of charisma with glossolalia. Most people do not understand speaking in tongues so they tend not to trust a charismatic leader. Think the fictional Elmer Gantry (although I am not sure he spoke in tongues). Think the very real Aimee Semple McPherson. Although I admire her, she was very controversial and was a charismatic leader.

The noun charisma has not got this association with speaking in tongues and so is more accepted by the average person.

I have spent much of my life observing tongues speaking and studying the Biblical references to this Spiritual gift. I do not speak in tongues except in the sense of Saint Paul who wrote that when he knew not how to pray the Spirit spoke for him with groanings he was not able to bear.

I would be glad to pursue this topic further if you will send me a private message. I do not want to stray too far from the study of words that is the task of Alpha Agora.
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:18 pm

Outside of the religious context, the meaning is very different. John Kennedy was very charismatic in the sense of having a dynamic and appealing personality. Most presidential candidates have charisma, at least to their party.
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Postby bamaboy56 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:25 pm

As well as speaking English as my native language, I am also fluent in Spanish and, to a lesser degree, Portugeuse. I can, therefore, speak in tongues. If I remember the Biblical instructions correctly, in order to speak in tongues properly, there must be at least two people present: the one speaking and one interpreting the words spoken. Of course, there must also be someone hearing the message. If I understand this correctly, it's not enough for someone to just be speaking in tongues with no one understanding what's being said.
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Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:59 am

bamaboy: You opened the door so I will tell you about tongues. There are two distinct tongues in the Bible. On the day of Pentecost the disciples spoke in OTHER tongues. They were miraculously able to speak human languages they did not know in order to explain the actions of the Holy Spirit and tell about the resurrection of Jesus. The tongues spoken in ancient Corinth and by Pentecostals, are UNKNOWN tongues. These are ecstatic utterings that have no rational meaning but have spiritual meaning to the speaker and to some of the hearers. If there is someone present who does not understand what the speaker in tongues is doing, a member of the church must explain it to him/her. I do not believe this should be taken as actual interpretation but as explanation. 1Cor 13 says: though I speak with tongues of men (OTHER tongues) and angels (UNKNOWN tongues) and have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clashing cymbal. I have heard people claim they speak in OTHER tongues they have not learned, but there is not one shred of evidence of that happening after the events recorded in the Book of Acts. I am not speaking for all Christians on this topic, but it is my take on it.
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Postby call_copse » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:01 am

I've never heard or attached any particular prejudice to the word 'charismatic' although I would never have associated it with speaking in tongues. I guess this is a US only thing? Not the association in general, but the specific connotation of charismatic discussed above.
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:46 am

I agree with Philip entirely. Paul said he "spoke in tongues more than you all" or "more tongues than you all." as a rabbi he would have known both Hebrew and Aramaic as well as Greek, the language in which he wrote. Since he was also a Roman citizen, he may well have known Latin.

A technical term for speaking in tongues is glossolalia, and that may be more prevalent in England and elsewhere. My understanding is that glossolalia appears in several world religions.

I've heard some refer to it as their "prayer language."
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Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:00 am

call_copse: Charismatic speaking in tongues (Pentecostalism) is not limited to the US but is world wide. There are Pentecostal Christians in England and other English speaking countries. Windsong Church is a large Pentecostal church in Australia. In South America, perhaps the majority of practicing Christians are Pentecostal. It is also strong in non-Muslim African countries. Pentecostalism is the fastest growing Christian witness in the world. I am not a Pentecostal, but I am a student of the movement.
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Postby call_copse » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:37 am

@Philip

Yes, I am familiar with the concept of speaking in tongues, in fact one of my colleagues is a member of a Pentecostal church. I know the term Glossolalia but was not aware of the link to the word Charismatic.

Looking at Wikipedia this is clearly my own shortcoming: "In 2000, Pentecostals and charismatic Christians numbered at least 500 million, a quarter of the world's 2 billion Christians." I guess it is not so common to encounter such things here - my aforementioned colleague did grow up in America.
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Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:34 pm

Now I understand, call_copse. It is the association of glossolalia with charismatic that was causing your puzzlement. In my cultural background, they go together and I never thought this was not universally the case. Sometimes I get a little provincial in my focus.
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