I think it is great that there is a pentecostal on a major party ticket. A hundred years after the pentecostal movement was born, it has become the leading edge of world Christianity. For my money, the worldwide pentecostal/holiness movement is the most important unknown story of the twentieth century, and shows no signs of slowing in the twenty-first. The Assemblies of God is now the largest of the Pentecostal denominations, so it stands to reason that the first pentecostal on the top political ticket would be a child of the AG church.
The Palins have since gentrified into a non-denominational Bible church that is not quite so emotional and demonstrative as her home congregation. I don't hold that against them -- people grow and change in their faith all the time. And she has not repudiated her old denomination, but goes back to speak to the kids and her old pastor with evident pride. I honor that, too.
The great strength of Holy Spirit churches is that they connect me with God in a powerful way. The weakness of Holy Spirit churches is that they can easily slip into connecting God with me to serve me. One of the reasons that I moved from Quakerism, a Holy Spirit church from way back, to Presbyterianism is that the God found in the Quaker meeting was so often too small. When you are waiting on the Holy Spirit to speak through you, most of the time you find the Holy Spirit only talks about stuff that you are - I was - concerned about. The thing I like about Calvinist theology is the continuous reminder that God is the sovereign of all Creation and far beyond our petty concerns.
There are videos on the web of Sarah Palin addressing her old church. The whole speech is very interesting, and I commend it to you. There is one bit that has been debated on some of the religion and politics blogs. Ron Dreher at Crunchy Con asks whether this prayer is "weird":
The crucial line is "God's will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built."
Dreher argues that this is not weird; "This is not how I talk about God's sovereignty. But it's how a lot of ordinary people -- educated people -- in my part of the world talk. And I see nothing especially strange about it." I think Dreher is right that many people do talk this way. But I can't agree with them, or Gov. Palin. In fact, I can think of few theological ideas more dangerous than the notion that God is on my side, that God works on others to achieve what I want.
It would be too much to say that there is a developed theology behind saying that God's will requires building my gas line. This is not a thought out position, but a felt one. I am passionately connected to God, so God is passionately connected to me. I am loyal to God, so God is loyal to me. I back God's will, so God backs my will. Nothing weird about it. The most human way of thinking about morality in the world. But theologically very dangerous.