I think that might be enough.
Not because I’ve provided (or even acquired) a fulsome understanding of the Whos, the Whats or the Hows of this third person of the Trinity, through The (Other) S-Word series. And not because I’ve run of things to say about the Holy Spirit. But mostly because I think some time away from this topic will do me and my reader(s) some good.
And since this is the second-biggest post series in the history of Disciplehood, I figure some sort of postmortem is in order. Hence the post you are reading right now. (In case you’re wondering, 40 Simple Truths was the biggest series in the history of Disciplehood. Also in case you’re wondering, The S-Word was a two-parter on the word ‘sorry’, posted back in January 2014.)
Where was I, again? Oh, yeah. The postmortem on this series:
Back in January, I expected The (Other) S-Word to be about a four-parter, at most, and that I’d wrap it up in about February. But as I began to thumb my way through the 563 occurrences of the word ‘spirit’ in the New International Version of the Old and New Testaments, I found that the Spirit had a lot to say about Himself through me.
And since I was largely making things up as I went, I think I’d probably have approached things a little differently if I had the project to do over. For one thing, I’d probably group the passages discussed in the three OT posts thematically, rather than chronologically. For another, I’d probably be more conservative in early posts about what content we’d cover in later ones. (I promised in Part 6 that we’d eventually do deep dives into 1 Corinthians and Acts, and neither of those posts came to be. … [Yet?])
In general, I think I’d have put more effort into making it a cohesive 10-part series where each post builds on what was shared in the previous one, ultimately taking my reader(s) on a well-planned journey to an overarching, satisfying and helpful conclusion. The series as it is contains some good stuff, I think, but you could argue that some of the best material came pretty early, and some of the subsequent posts ended up being a little anticlimactic.
But I’m still pretty happy with things as they turned out. I think there’s power in the transparency of the fact that insights were shared as they were discovered, rather than with strategic, coherent packaging. It is a blog, not a book, after all.
And more importantly, I think I’m a little more aware of the Holy Spirit today than I was on January 9; a little more cognizant of the fact that we’re not human beings having a spiritual experience, we’re spiritual beings having a human experience. (That’s a quote from 20th-Century philosopher and Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, but I heard it recently in a Rob Bell podcast.)
Here are some of the takeaways I received from this series:
Part 1: Maybe the Comforter‘s job is not to make uscomfortable, but to provide comfort when we’re uncomfortable.
Part 2: What aspects of your life do describe as ‘non-sacred’ or ‘non-spiritual’? Do you create these categories to keep the ‘non-sacred’ from contaminating the ‘sacred’ elements? … Or vice-versa?
Part 3: Our inadequacies and our misgivings (about us or about Him) are firmly in the category of ‘not a problem’ for the Holy Spirit. If we believe (even, or maybe especially, despite our unbelief), we will receive.
Part 4: The phrase ‘the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord‘ appears seven times in the 21 chapters of Judges – and yet the Spirit of God faithfully continues to anoint judge after judge after judge. That pattern paints a very discouraging (but accurate) picture of the shortsightedness and stiffneckedness of man, but thankfully, it also paints a very encouraging (and accurate) picture of the patience and grace of God.
Part 5: To what task(s) has God called you? Are you waiting for divine reassurance that you can do it (whatever ‘it’ is for you)? Could these words you’re reading right now be that revelation for you?
Part 6: I love that both Elisha and John are, at different points in the Bible, both identified as successors to Elijah, by virtue of the fact that they’re both given the spirit of Elijah. Which one is the real heir? I think the answer is ‘yes’.
Part 7: It seems like a big chunk of Jesus’ work involved driving impure spirits out of people. Does it strike you as odd that this activity took up so much of Jesus’ time during His ministry, but the notion of casting out demons is more or less laughable today in Western society?
Part 8: What joy – what peace, what connections, what opportunities – are you missing out on because you refuse to see God at work in the world? Would you rather be someone whose imagination for the handiwork of God is too wild, or too tame?
Part 9: What is the Spirit commanding you to do. What can stand in the way of you truly saying, ‘Yes, Lord’, and what are you going to do to knock it aside?
Part 10: I wonder if what was actually going on in John 20:22 wasn’t a delivery, of something new, but a revelation of someOne Who’d been inside the disciples, all along. And maybe the events described in Acts 2:1-4 functioned more like an activation of the already-present Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers than His arrival.
There you have it. If you’re intrigued by any of these sound bites, feel free to click the links and revisit (or visit) the posts they came from.
Now, if you meander through these posts and look at the BibleGateway search results for the word ‘spirit’, you will notice that I skipped dozens of great references to the (Other) S-Word. Not only have I passed over 1 Corinthians, as mentioned above, I’ve ignored 19 of the other 20 epistles as well! And what about the Book of Revelation? The Psalms? The Prophets?
Baldy, how can you end the series now? You’re just getting started!
You’re right, reader(s). Plenty of good stuff to explore. But you don’t need me to guide you through it. I invite you to meander through yourself, and see what you can see.
And I’m sure that while the Disciplehood Dude has set the (Other) S-Word aside for now, I’m sure I’ll come back to this topic and resume the series at some point.
When the Spirit moves me.
Peace be with you.