8th Letter – Holy Spirit Here… Remember Me?

September 16, 2010

wind turbine
From:Holy Spirit <[email protected]>
Subject:8th Letter
Date:September 16, 2010 8:47:10 PM PDT
To:Church of North America <[email protected]>


This is just a quick note to check in. How are you doing?

As soon as I say, “check in,” I can feel you go into business mode. Like the boss is checking your work, and you want to look your best. …Can we drop business mode? It really doesn’t suit me. No, my main purpose is to connect. I feel like it’s something we haven’t done much lately.

You’ve written a lot of books, and done a lot of conferences. I like it, I really do. I just wish you’d get outside more. There’s so much I’d like you to experience. (I was going to say “learn,” but that puts you into mental mode.) I’d like to introduce you to a number of wonderful people. And yes, you would learn a lot in the process.

Your music? Well, there too, uh, I appreciate it. But I think you’re getting distracted into thinking worship is about music, or about having a good time. Really, I just want your undivided attention for a time. You don’t have to say or do anything. (Also, this is me you’re talking about. I love to create. When’s the last time you made something with such honesty that not everyone will appreciate it? I’d love that. It gets boring when it’s all about church stuff.)

But mainly, I want to talk about us. You’re into so many things — strategies, plans, techniques. You do so much, you try so hard, you teach and hold firm to ideas about Jesus. But what ever happened to holding firm to JC himself? That’s where I’m supposed to come in! But you’re off and running — “executing” — with hardly a nod in my direction. Mostly, you just ask me to bless your stuff.

Please, we need to reconnect. You’ve grown out of touch with the source of power — that would be me. (Oh, except those of you who are infatuated with charismatic power, forgetting humility, which is kind of a big deal.) And you’ve forgotten the direction of my power — that would be JC in you. “The hope of glory!” Dude. These aren’t just feel-good words for you to gloss over. They’re kind of over-the-top for a reason, but I’m afraid you’ve moved on from the main event.

So do me a favor: Put down your plans. You’ll have a chance to pick them up later, but for now, just put them down. Also, your ideas about JC: you’re treating him like an idol. You say, “This isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship.” Well, put your money where your mouth is and let’s do some relating, shall we? I’m not your automatic plan-blesser. And charismatic folk, I’m not your magic eight-ball. The goal isn’t answers (at first) — it’s to mind-meld JC into you.

You know I love you.
– HS

This is my contribution to the Eighth Letter project inviting participants to compose letters to the North American church in the spirit of John’s seven letters of Revelation. See the Eighth Letter Synchroblog list for more letters.

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Wind turbine blades by Patrick Finnegan (license)

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

6 responses to 8th Letter – Holy Spirit Here… Remember Me?

  1. Super-brilliant, Jon. Thanks. The only thing that was harder to “get” right away was the part about treating JC like an idol – do you mean, like he has no life, and is just an object to appease somehow or we can set him one spot and expect him not to move or cause any trouble? Hmmm, making more sense as I think about it. It just stumped me a little at first reading, since an idol is supposedly something we worship…which is appropriate to do with JC! But then idols are things we worship fruitlessly…and possibly out of desperation or tradition or something. And they don’t talk – so if we treat him like an idol, we’d not be expecting to hear anything or see him move or have any opinions…hmmm, very interesting.

  2. Jon,
    Your 8th letter spoke to my heart. I’d like to think that there are building blocks to communing with the Holy Spirit, consisting of three very important factors: Relationship, Communication, and Direction. Just as there are recipes that won’t turn out right if one ingredient is missing, or if the ingredients are not used in a specific order, so it is with these three building blocks. We are all guilty at times of treating God like a good luck charm or a genie in a bottle when it comes to seeking His will. When we’re in a jam, we seek direction from Him apart from relating to Him. Proof that God doesn’t appreciate being treated like a talisman is the fact that you and I are created in His image. None of us like to be treated that way either. To not relate to God first by spending time with Him where He is will not open the much needed lines of communication. No communication, no direction. It’s no wonder we are often like the ancient Jews lost in the wilderness, wandering aimlessly.

  3. Thank you, I needed that.

  4. Katherine, I think you’re catching my meaning. We have reduced Jesus to a set of principles — like a document or treatise. We dissect him, like a frog in biology class, not expecting any motion or volition. Going with your illustration, this affects prayer, Bible reading, and demotes being filled with the Spirit to an optional thing, or a rare ecstatic thing.

  5. Julio, you have some good teaching here! I was considering it, appreciating it… then I got to the “proof” part, your illustrative examples. WOW.

  6. Thanks for letting me know — it encourages me to hear that I wasn’t just making stuff up.