So, I wrote a book and you can preview it

In November 2007 my book It’s a Dance: Moving with the Holy Spirit was published by Barclay Press. It’s about the Holy Spirit, but more than that it’s about a hoped for renewal in the church, in spirituality, in this world that is, I think, more reflective of authentic Christianity than a lot of the customs and trends that have developed. That’s not me saying I know something other don’t know. It’s me saying I know something a whole lot of people know and have known, but because of the nature of this expression it doesn’t get the same kind of publicity that the more salacious and the more traditional (which often–certainly not always–have a fair bit of salaciousness about them, albeit a ‘respectful’ sort of salaciousness like greed or control-seeking) forms get.

It has been on sale for a while but I just realized it’s also available to look at on Google Books. Buying a book on theology or church or ministry or Christian anything isn’t exactly first on someone’s buying list. Among certain circles it is, but then among those circles there are already a lot of books similar on the surface, and many written by much more successful writers, it is hard to stick out or get attention, even if it really is something a fair bit different.

Books on the Holy Spirit are generally assumed to be about the fancy tricks such as miracles, or healings, or tongues, or unleashing prophetic pronouncements or they are about using Spirit to become our personal genie–who gets us what we want, whether it be more territory or land or hot chicks or personal happiness or a parking space on Christmas eve at the mall. Or, more often than not, books on Christian ministry or theology tend to leave the Spirit out altogether, or mention the Spirit only as a sanctified topping, adding a hint of Triune flavoring to a much more mundane dish.

My book is about the Holy Spirit who works actively in this world. People who let go their assumptions and explore the works of God discover how the Spirit already is working. When such people start studying Scripture it becomes a bit surprising what the formal teaching leaves out about the work of the Spirit. The Spirit isn’t about putting on a show or adding rhetorical flair to theological talks.

The Spirit is the one who leads people to Jesus–the real Jesus, not the Jesus who far too often becomes our tool and excuse to pursue ego-enhancing satisfaction. The Spirit is the one who draws people into community and breaks down the artificial barriers created between sacred and secular. God works everywhere, after all, even if we aren’t aware of the fact or prefer he left parts of our lives alone. The Spirit empowers holiness and continually encourages welcoming strangers—who aren’t strangers to God at all. The Spirit spurs people to give, incites creativity of all kinds, and provokes this creativity into becoming realized within the community—though not necessarily, or even primarily, in some Sunday service.

The Spirit leads the church as a body, and unites the community in time and space with others who worship God. Realizing these works—acting on these—leads to seeing fruits of the Spirit all around, in all kinds of people in all kinds of spaces. There develops a joy and a peace, a stillness and a wholeness, even as there are still certainly questions yet to be answered.

That’s what I explore, using a light conversation to develop the theology.

Now you can have a look at it without making a commitment. Though if you do find it interesting, I’d appreciate a purchase of your own copy. I’m noting this now because I just noticed it over at Google, and thought it might be an interesting way to get people to browse my book and other books they wouldn’t commit to buying, books that might be outside their usual purchases, or usual worldview and might change how Christianity is perceived. They can look and not feel like they need to justify, defend, or falsely praise.

I’m also, I think, going to step up a bit in talking about why, I think, there should be more theology in missional efforts, not as a stodgy, polysyllabic club but as foundational to why and who and what we say, do, respond.

Jurgen Moltmann wrote, “The more that Pentecostal theology is broadened into a kingdom of God theology, the closer it comes to that liberation theology that, through the work of Jon Sobrino and Gustavo Gutierrez, is nowadays also embedded in a kingdom of God theology. In a comprehensive kingdom of God theology the healing of hte sick and the liberation of the poor are effected together. With the kingdom of God, which is ‘coming’ with Jesus, we gain not least apocalyptic counter-images to the state of this world and messianic counter-narratives to the increasing threats and danger of ‘this age’. Advent eschatology is always the eschatology of the divine alternative: ‘Jesus is God’s defiance against poverty, against sin and against all misery’.”

I feel like a lot of missional efforts are on this path, but aren’t quite there, leading to good intentions but incomplete efforts and pursuits dependent on how much personal energy we have to keep it up, rather than on the Pentecostal experience of God’s propellant–the Holy Spirit. It’s not the good, natural salesman, after all who are the best expressions of God’s work–even as they tend to be the most vocal and active evangelists. It’s those who the Spirit is working in and through who truly change their particular part of the world, and together can change the whole of it, as God’s holistic work becomes infused within us. If we have a model of goal in Jesus, but don’t have a model in method, the Spirit, we have good intentions that struggle to find expression or that burn out far too quickly, leaving the mass of people emptier shells, even as some can sustain the efforts for a significant while by their own charge.

As Paul said to the folks at Corinth: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”>

This entry was posted in books, emerging church, Holy Spirit, It's a Dance, Jesus, ministry, missional, religion, Scripture, society, spirituality, theology, writing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to So, I wrote a book and you can preview it

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *