What is the Pneuma saying?
“Pneumatology” sounds like a medical specialty but it is in fact a dynamic field of theology, drawing on the reflections and talents of a new generation of thinkers from around the world. One of these is my former professor, Grace Ji-Sun Kim, a Korean-born, Canadian educated, voice in “post-colonial theology”. Here is a brief excerpt from her recent book THE HOLY SPIRIT,THE CHI , AND THE OTHER: A MODEL OF GLOBAL AND INRERCULTURAL PNEUMATOLOGY (Palgrave MacMillan,2011):
“How we think about the Holy Spirit is an important part of the theological thinking of Christians being in relationship with a world of many faiths and peoples. When Christians speak of God as Spirit, we do not speak of ‘one third’ of God, but of the full presence of God. It is not a fraction or piece of God but the entirety of God. To speak of God as Spirit conveys the power and mystery of God’s universal, active, relational presence. Spirit language is not an abstract about a vague God, elusive and removed; rather it is an intimate language, about God’s presence within us. …As explore the Divine, we come to understand that the Divine is vast with many incomprehensible aspects. If this is so, why do we mere mortals believe we have the Orthodox or correct way of talking about the Divine? In a multifaceted, multidimensional world , how is it possible that Christians have the only way to come to understand God” (p.59)
What I find oddly interesting in this observation from a Presbyterian minister is that her thoughts coincide with those of John Calvin, who felt that that we as humans should be humble before the immensity and majesty of God’s unfolding plan for humanity and not presume to read the mind of God, most especially when it comes to whether others are “saved”. For Calvin the inward acceptance of the fact of God’s overwhelming Gift to us was more important than the external rite of baptism. Certainly, in the Reform tradition, which is an essential strain in the Anglican slant on Christianity, we do “not presume to come to this thy table trusting in our own righteousness but in thy manifold and great mercies”. The corollary to this, as Dr. Kim points out in her book, is that we have no particular monopoly on those mercies or restrictive insight into where God has scattered them or will do so.
For more reviews, please read Sheri Kling’s review https://gracejisunkim.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/sheri-klings-review-of-the-holy-spirit-chi-and-the-other/
Jon Rinnander is a retired international teacher and active Episcopal layman in Tucson. His doctorate is in Early Modern European history and he has studied extensively the religious climate of the XVIth century.Currently he works as Link Specialist for the Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network, a consortium of 34 churches and synagogues.