Reading through Chasing the Dragon the thought that kept running through the mind was, this is the 29th Chapter of the Book of Acts. I was challenged in many ways while reading the book but will look at three in this brief post. At first, I wanted to define Pullinger’s faith as simple, but it is not, it is profound. Her view is best described in her own words when she says, “a man on my suburban line leaned across the carriage and asked if I believed in God. “No,” I replied, “I know Him; it’s different. I know peace; I know where I’m going”. Her faith and the faith of those in the booked is the first challenge in that it is causing me to reconsider my faith and its rootedness. By that I mean, from what place am I living out my faith? Is it based off of what I can do, or whom I know God to be? All too often as a pastor I work for God and forget that in myself I have nothing to offer other people. Knowing God at a deep level and living from that place is what Pullinger has impressed onto me.
The second spot of challenge hits as close to home as the first. It goes without saying that, I believe in intellect or I would not be in this program, but at the same time as a Pentecostal I was again challenged at the perspective in which the “power” of God is prescribed, particularly in the Western Church model. Pullinger continually anchors what she calls the gifts of the spirit to Jesus, not herself. Again, she writes,
Every single one received this gift, so there was no confusion about some being more spiritual than others. To avoid problems, whenever possible I avoided laying hands on a young man myself but encouraged other Christian boys to do this so that they would know that the gift came from God Himself and that even young Christians could pray with others to receive.
When I think about the unfortunate stigma that comes with the Pentecostal/Charismatic name it is often associated with the fact that it is more self-focused than God focused. We tend to highlight the miracle over the miracle worker (Jesus). Pullinger, whether it be the cause of circumstance or her disposition, continual shows the reader she is not the answer, Jesus is. I mentioned this challenge hit close to home, not only because my tribe is the Pentecostal/Charismatic one, but it echoes what is happening in our local church.
We recently have changed our Sunday morning services to include the table (Eucharist) every week. Taking it one step further, our Pastor wanted us to move our praying for each other portion of service, from before the table too after. In my mind, this did not make sense because we prayed right after worship when “the Spirit was moving.” On the first Sunday that we made the change he spent about ten minutes walking us through the understanding that in receiving the bread and cup we are partaking in the sacrament of receiving Christ and therefore when we pray for each other afterward we are merely acknowledging what Christ has already done. Praying for each other has shifted from what we each do for each other to agreeing with what Christ is doing in the other.
The third and final challenge was the simple reminder Jesus is the one, we are not, we get a front row seat to the His actions. Pullinger’s profound faith was not sophisticated in vain of having a system in which to follow in order to see outcomes desired. Her Spirit-led walk, which included speaking in tongues and all the gifts was all the complexity she needed. Again, her getting something from God is not the focus but following God to see what God wanted her to do is her focus. The shift for me is redefining what we are being led to? The Spirit always leads to Jesus and therefore our walk should always lead us and others closer to Jesus. While those we read Chasing The Dragon may not be called to the slums and streets of Hong Kong we are all called to the streets we live on, the people we walk by and the world we occupy.
 Jackie Pullinger, Chasing the Dragon: One Woman’s Struggle Against the Darkness of Hong Kong’s Drug Dens (Grand Rapids: Chosen Books, 2007), 31.
 Ibid., 139-40.
 Pullinger, Chasing the Dragon: One Woman’s Struggle Against the Darkness of Hong Kong’s Drug Dens, 226.
 John. 16:13-15 (NRSV)