Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Book Review. Galli, Mark. Chaos and Grace. Discovering the liberating work of the Holy Spirit. Baker Books. 2011. M.G.- senior managing editor of Christianity Today. Comment. Henry. Mark has taken on a topic that has always, it seems, been surrounded with confusion, controversy, and disrupting interpretations. He clearly demonstrates that historically the Holy Spirit and His work have always been accompanied with a high level of ‘chaos’. In a culture that ‘worships’ control and order this characteristic of the Holy Spirit is not welcome, in fact, it is vigorously rejected. Herein lays a very real hindrance for the development of the church’s effectiveness and impact in a needy world. Readers can expect this book to be ‘disturbing, upsetting, and disrupting’. “Christ has come to offer us- the most unsettling gift imaginable (the Holy Spirit), for this is the gift that brings both grace and chaos.” (Intro) There is no provision made in the gospel for the tolerance of religion. “It’s about the Holy Spirit introducing holy chaos.” (31) Worship is much more than “mere religious edification”. (32) Creation, as the work of the Holy Spirit, is described as a “eucatastrophe, a good catastrophe’. (38) The fall of man and its consequences is the second eucatastrphe. The story of humanity is an “ongoing saga of humankind’s addiction to order and control- and the divine response of judgment and mercy.” (53) e.g. Abram. The stories of the Old Testament consistently tell “of a God who offers the freedom of obedience to a people addicted to control.” (62) The book of Acts is full of chaos produced by the Holy Spirit. Liberation is God’s work and it begins with tension and chaos, e.g. Moses. Freedom is all about obedience. The life of freedom must be characterized by a movement from the horizontal to the vertical, from justice to grace, etc. “Resurrection (eternal life0 without the crucifixion (death) is empty optimism.” (133) Our culture is in denial when it comes to preparing for and facing death. Churches place a higher value on marketing than witnessing. Instead of focusing on management the emphasis should be on being managed by the Holy Spirit, e.g. Philip and his witness to the Ethiopian Eunuch. The fear of embarrassment and shame will prevent us from obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Our Utopian view of the New Testament church (when things were done right) creates problems for the acceptance of a much less Utopian church of our personal experience. “You cannot have a dynamic relationship with the liberating Spirit without there being questions, confusions, excesses, and mistakes- chaos.” (184) A transforming work of the Holy Spirit, however, can be our experience of faith. henrydirksen.blogspot.com.