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Blog of the Grateful Bear

ramblings of a freelance panentheist {"all things are in God, and God is in all things"} . . . musings on Emergent spirituality, powerlifting, LGBTQueer issues, contemplative prayer, mysticism, cats, music, healing, and more. I like my coffee and my existentialism dark-roasted.

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Location: Marietta, Georgia, United States

I'm an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor), in private practice in Marietta, Georgia. My writings on queer spirituality have been published in Whosoever and several other magazines. I live in a house-in-the-woods (Bear's Hermitage) in Marietta with Leonidas (Lenny) and Guy, Mighty Warrior Cats, and way too many books.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

A Wind That Swirls Everywhere

A Pentecostal scholar is writing about the Holy Spirit being active in other religions besides Christianity. From the Christianity Today article about theologian Amos Yong:

His central thesis is that, because the Spirit of God is universally active in creation and new creation, “the religions of the world, like everything else that exists, are providentially sustained by the Spirit of God for divine purposes.” Where most Pentecostals see the devil’s work, Yong sees the Spirit’s. Concretely, that means Christians should be open to learning from and being enriched by the Spirit's work in world religions. Dialogue must take place alongside evangelism, he argues, so that all the religions—including Christianity—can learn from each other what the Spirit is doing.

Yong believes that pneumatology (the study of the Holy Spirit) has been too long neglected by Christian theologians. He writes, “A pneumatological approach to the non-Christian faiths . . . opens up the Christian to whatever is true, good, beautiful, and holy in the other traditions, even while nurturing an environment in which the non-Christian can come to appreciate the same in Christian faith.”

The article is online at the Christianity Today website:
A Wind that Swirls Everywhere

The idea of the Spirit moving like a wind through all the world’s religions reminds me of the Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. In his classic book Living Buddha, Living Christ, he writes about the Holy Spirit as a “door” between Buddhism and Christianity. Here’s just one of many passages in the book where Thich Nhat Hanh writes about the Holy Spirit:

“The Buddha was not against God. He was only against notions of God that are mere mental constructions that do not correspond to reality, notions that prevent us from developing ourselves and touching ultimate reality. That is why I believe it is safer to approach God through the Holy Spirit than through the door of theology. We can identify the Holy Spirit whenever it makes its presence felt. Whenever we see someone who is loving, compassionate, mindful, caring, and understanding, we know that the Holy Spirit is there.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh, in Living Buddha, Living Christ

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

~ John 3:8, ESV


Blogger Joe G. said...

These are great references - thanks for sharing these. The ides of the Holy Spirit being in other religions is reminiscent to what early Friends often said about other faiths. How could God not influence other traditions? Interesting.

12:05 PM, April 15, 2006  
Blogger Joe G. said...

BTW, I just heard your essay on the Whosoever podcast. Very interesting!

I've tended to be someone critical of the "cafeteria" style of spirituality; then again I was at one time a fundamentalist so, there you go! :)

But, I like the metaphor of "Coffee House" spirituality. I like the idea of a "house blend" and then "coffee of the day". Some of us like our coffee black and straight up! :)

Anyway, blog about this, blow yer own horn and let others know. Or did you already blog that particular essay? Still, feel free to let others know that you were featured on the podcast.

PS: you have a nice voice, too.

Happy Resurrection Day!

12:35 PM, April 16, 2006  

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