Spirit Life is part of a series called My Theology.
The world’s leading Christian thinkers explain some of the principal tenets of their theological beliefs.
As an Asian American female theologian, Grace Ji-Sun Kim knows first-hand the importance of retrieving and disseminating into mainstream discourse the words, symbols and concepts of marginalised experience. In Spirit Life she explains that the Asian concept of Chi is similar to the Christian notion of the Holy Spirit – a liberating way of recognising the presence of God within the world and within us.
Following an introduction to her social location as an immigrant woman living in a White Nationalist context, Kim shows how a deeper understanding of the Chi-Spirit correlation can be helpful to Asians and the Asian diaspora.
Grace Ji-Sun Kim is a Korean American theologian and Professor of Theology at Earlham School of Religion.
Spirit Life centers on the Spirit as an avenue for better understanding God and reconciling with our faith. The Spirit is present in the Old Testament as ruach and in the New Testament as pneuma. When the field of theology was prominently German-led, theologians used the word geist to talk about the spirit. As an Asian-American theologian existing in the liminality between multiple cultural spheres, Kim finds it necessary to retrieve and disseminate Asian words and religious symbols into the mainstream discourse to revolutionize the accessibility and global understanding of God today. One important Asian concept is chi, translated as wind, breath, spirit, energy, much like ruach, pneuma, and geist. Chi is a fitting term for coming to know God as the Spirit as it effectively conveys God’s presence in the world. As such, we can move toward a nondualistic theology that provides an abundant space for everyone, including the marginalized and the subordinated, paving a path toward liberation and radical demarginalization.
In the My Theology series, the world’s leading Christian thinkers explain some of the principal tenets of their theological beliefs in concise, pocket-sized books.