Mark Galli, in his new book, Chaos and Grace: Discovering the Liberating Work of the Holy Spirit, says this:
So Christianity, like all religions, is a good thing. Unfortunately, for the fans of religion, the Holy Spirit is not as interested in religion as we are and, whenever there is an opportunity, has a way of subverting it.
There aren’t enough books on the Holy Spirit; some of those that exist are clumsy. But there is to my knowledge no book like this one: a kind of run through the Bible as the Story of God’s Spirit at work and what happens — catastrophe and chaos — when the Spirit enters.
Religion, Mark says, is “a safe place to have God and morality without the holy chaos of the Spirit.” This is a book meant to be read by savoring it and pondering. It’s not a theology book; it’s ecclesial reflection on life in the Spirit and how God’s holy chaos subverts what we want into what God is doing.
Is the Spirit still what Francis Chan calls the “forgotten” God? Why?
This book is filled with stuff like that previous quotation. “… the NT teaches that this world, and every life in it, is a catastrophe, beyond tinkering, beyond remodeling. The gospel is about the cross, which puts a nail in the coffin of religion. The gospel is also about resurrection — not an improvement nor an adjustment, but the breaking in of a completely new life, because the old life has been obliterated. It’s about the Holy Spirit introducing holy chaos — the toppling of religion that has become an idol — so that people can know liberation.” In his description of the Holy Spirit in Genesis 1 Mark Galli calls the Holy Spirit the “Mischief Maker.”
A good way of describing what happens when the Spirit invades life is the word disruptive.
It’s all a “eu-catastrophe” — a good kind of catastrophe. One after the other. Life exploding into form all over the place. Genesis 3 is another one: the exile establishes some ground rules what Pentecost will resolve, another eucatastrophe.
The Bible through the lens of God’s holy chaos at work.
First chaos and catastrophe and then eucatastrophe. Chaos reveals power and control and seeks to undermine it.
Love, faith, obedience, and freedom — the elements of the Christian life ruled by holy chaos from the Spirit.
All of this shifts us, and each of these gets a good chapter, from focusing on the horizontal to the vertical, from justice to grace, from optimism to resurrection, from marketing to witness, from managing to being managed, from shame to obedience and from power to promise. Ah, but one more: from utopia to church. The holy chaos of the Spirit brings freedom, but we are never the same again. Sometimes we limp as a result; other times we dance.