The whole of our uneasy debate about the meaning of the word ‘God’ for modern [people] cries out, I believe, for a recovery of a significant doctrine of the Holy Spirit. That is where we must now begin our talk about God — God working anonymously and on the inside: the beyond in the midst. If we had not relegated the Holy Spirit to the merest edges of our theology we might never have got ourselves into our present confusions — or, better still, we might have endured our present expansion of awareness without dismay. As it is, we seem to have rarified God out of existence.… Any insight which make us exclaim: ‘Oh, now I see the connection!’ is potentially a new revelation. — John V Taylor, The Go-Between God
Someone asked me the other week how progressive Christians may speak of the Holy Spirit without sounding like Pentecostal™ wannabes or Evangelical® soundalikes.
So today I’ll try to say something about how we might speak about the Holy Spirit, we who may feel shy about the Spirit.
We need to speak of the Spirit, because the Spirit is central to our experience of faith. The Spirit is fire that purifies by burning off all our crud. The Spirit is wind that comes through like a cyclone to blow the chaff of our lives away. The Spirit is water that cleanses by half drowning us.
The Spirit is a dove that swoops like a magpie in nesting season.
Have you had an experience of the Holy Spirit? You probably have. Possibly, you don’t realise it. Or, you may be hesitant to talk about it.
Let me tell you about the first time the Spirit took hold of me. The first time I know about, anyway. You may have heard this before. Apologies if so.