February 28th, 2020
“I often wonder if religion is the enemy of God. It’s almost like religion is what happens when the Spirit has left the building.” – Bono
“Something wild and evil is about to happen; and it is going to involve you.” – Hunter S. Thompson
This has been an ugly week. It started out on Monday with a young woman having a relapse. The same day, I participated in a presentation on the conditions for migrants on the southern border. That went okay, but I found it to be stressful.
Tuesday was calm.
Wednesday sucked. I got an ugly email from the person who runs a local advocacy group. I have tried to help the leader of this organization over the last seven months, and I have repeatedly received messages from him that were critical of my efforts (perhaps rightly so), and also seemingly (to me) disrespectful. On Wednesday I quit from the group. I was tired of getting bitched at.
The person who runs this coalition has a difficult job. I recognize that. He has a group of volunteers who are smart, independent, and passionate. He is trying to herd cats. I believe that he wants to keep a very tight grip on the words and actions of the members of his organization, but I don’t think that is possible. He is trying to control a movement that is probably beyond control. He can either let things take their course (for the most part), or end up alienating the membership.
I have spent most of my adult life in positions of supervision or management. I know how hard it is to get people to work together for a common goal. I have learned the hard way that browbeating people is usually counter-productive. It took me a while to figure that out, but I eventually realized that I got the best results when I gave people a general goal, and then let them find their own way to it. Often, the folks working for me came up with much better ideas than I had. I am grateful to all of them.
What does this have to do with the Holy Spirit? Well, maybe it has nothing to do with it, or maybe everything.
Christians have this notion of a thing called the Trinity. That is three persons in one God. I am not going to try to explain it, because the concept defies explanation. It is a mystery in the sense that it exists, but nobody can understand it. The three persons within this this deity are the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Most Christians have a feel for the Father and the Son, especially the Son. Christians hang on tight to their vision of Jesus. However, few Christians want to get anywhere close to the Holy Spirit. That is because the Spirit is dangerous.
There are various symbols of the Holy Spirit in the Bible. These include a dove, fire, water, and wind. All of these symbols indicate that the Spirit is free and irrepessible. The Holy Spirit cannot be controlled. It cannot be channeled. It cannot be stopped.
I have been caught up in the actions of the Holy Spirit at times, and it has always been a wild ride. The Holy Spirit often takes a person to strange and scary places. These may also be good places, but they are always uncomfortable. The Spirit pushes people hard. It is only after the fact that a person understands how and why things happened. Sometimes, a person never understands.
A person can either flow with the Spirit or resist it. Going with the Spirit is frightening. Resisting the Spirit is frustrating and pointless.
No matter what you do, you are still going for the ride.