Nobody really understands the Holy Spirit. We read about the Spirit's role in scripture, we can recognize overtly supernatural interferences in people's lives, and we get an odd feeling every now and again, which we attribute to the Spirit working through us. One of the quotes that I have clung to in class is that "We are not in the world trying to prove Christianity is true, but we are trying to show the world what it would look like if it was true." What makes Christianity what it is? The Holy Spirit. How would people even know that Christianity was true? If they saw right through people to the Spirit that dwells within them.
The Holy Spirit has many names: Spirit of God (Rom. 8:9), Spirit of the Father (Matt. 10:20), The Spirit of Truth (John 14:17), The Spirit of the Lord (Acts 8:39). But, the Spirit is more than just some supernatural force that floats around inside of people; it works very tangibly in the person of Christ and in people all throughout the world. The point I am trying to make is that the Church has been in a state of disarray basically from its beginning. Even the churches that Paul started had a lot of problems. People try to force their ministries, and they die; they try to evangelize, and it gets awkward; they try to live holy and righteous lives, but they fail, etc. They do this all, oftentimes, without asking help from God Himself, the Spirit, the indwelling Helper. If we try to go at ministry alone, especially a radical new way of ministry, coupling the idea of sodalic and modalic ministry models in churches, we are going to need help. In fact, we are going to need such overwhelming power and strength that WHEN we fall, the Church will keep moving forward to the reconciliation at the end of all things.
This Church body thing that people are inevitably a part of as Christians, whether put together or broken, is the art work of the Spirit of God. He is what empowers, heals, teaches, intercedes, fills, leads, and brings new life. If we try to do ministry without asking, we are going to bleed ourselves dry. We can only run so far without being filled again by the Spirit. If left to our own strength, our bodies would wear and die. But, with God living IN US, we can do ALL things. Ask for the Spirit, trust the Spirit, rely on and rest in the Spirit. Dwell with the King of Kings, and live again.
Debra Hirsch: Redeeming Sex: Naked Conversations About Sexuality and Spirituality (Forge Partnership Books)
Not quite done yet, but at this point can confidently say that this book is amazing. So needed in the conversation about sexuality. It is highly recommendable. Well done, Deb! (*****)
Bryan Loritts: Right Color, Wrong Culture: The Type of Leader Your Organization Needs to Become Multiethnic (Leadership Fable)
An interesting book, written as fable, describing the nuances of attempting a multi-ethic church. Once again, I am reading it with a group and have found it insightful. (***)
Walter Brueggemann: The Prophetic Imagination, 2nd Edition
I love Brueggemann's thoughts and writing. I read this book years ago and just finished reading it again with my Theo-Reading Group. One of the most helpful books on discerning how the prophetic works both biblically and practically. (*****)
Scot McKnight: Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church
An interesting book that works to restore the beautiful and undeniable connection between the Kingdom of God and the Church. (****)
Christian Wiman: My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer
Reading with my group. Amazing insights, mesmerizing writing. (*****)