Movement within charismatic Christianity, originating with Toronto evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne. Focuses on an alleged experience of the Holy Spirit that induces "uncontrollable weeping, falling to the floor in ecstatic trances, and animal noises such as barking like dogs and roaring like lions. Some stagger and reel like drunken people, unable to walk a straight line."*

Proponents point to its success in attracting converts as evidence that it is a genuine manifestation of God. Critics argue that the movement places too much emphasis on a fleeting emotional high, which could lead to disillusionment for many of these converts down the road.

* Quotation from "Rodney Howard-Browne and the Toronto Blessing" from Media Spotlight

I actually got my whiff of the Toronto Blessing while in New Jersey, but I've also spent some time at The Church Formerly Known as the Vineyard, where the whole thing started. I'm divided on the whole thing; if I'm a proponent, it isn't because I measure its $ucces$$ by the amount of money raised. People of various denominations have gone to Toronto to get a "jumpstart" for their relatonship with God, and if even one person got it, maybe the whole thing's a success.

I doubt that anyone who has been effected by it relies solely on the emotional aspects of the experience - one still needs a well-rounded Christian life, with such things as bible study, the carrying of one's cross, and prayer that isn't always as whiz-bang as the falling over or convulsing that might occur during TACF's "Renewal Services", or whatever the heck they're called (I've forgotten now). If anyone is "discouraging prayer and thoughtful analysis", I'd say shun that person pronto; the point of the aforementioned jumpstart, I would think, is to have a more Spirit-led, Spirit-filled existence, full of prayer, and maybe enhancing one's thoughtfulness.

I'd say there's something legit going on, but my aversion to the soft rock worship music of Vineyard churches prevents me from spending too much time at places like TACF. I was prayed for on various occasions by the pastors and the students there, but never experienced any whiz-bang; my only experience of "drunkenness", for lack of a better word, came while stopping to get some gas and a soda after one of the services. I tended to get delayed reactions. I wept, on occasion, before even setting foot in TACF; and that continues, on a fairly-rare basis these days. Which is fine with me, since I used to wonder how some of the regulars there went about their more mundane tasks - did they break out in laughter or roars while in the supermarket? At work? I don't think my decreased manifestation of "The Blessing" is some sign of a decrease in Spirit-filled-ness.

Second chapter of Acts, folks. This "new thing" is almost two millennia old, and, to some people, nearly as controversial.

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