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Greg Brothers is an Adventist pastor in Oregon.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

And may the Friend be with you.

This week, you’ll find that a number of people in your Sabbath School class actually believe in magic.

And no, we’re not talking about the Harry Potter fans (though there’s certainly enough of those characters out there).

We’re talking about the way they view the Holy Spirit.

At the heart of magic, remember, is the idea that the world is saturated with some kind of mystical “energy.” Call it anima. Call it mana. Call it The Force, or whatever you like – the belief remains that all this spiritual “juice” or “electricity” is there, just waiting to be used.

And if you know how to use it – if you’ve learned the right passwords, know all the proper access codes, and have figured out how to bypass the safety systems that are meant to protect mere ordinary mortals -- then you can this Force to do pretty much anything you want.

And that’s what witches (and wizards and shamans and medicine men and Jedi Knights) claim to do, remember. Take away the “woo-woo” stuff, and they’re basically just “spiritual electricians” . . . mystical technicians who think they’ve learned how to manipulate a special kind of energy – that’s all.

Now let’s be honest: how different is that then the way we often view the Holy Spirit?

And how different is that then the way we often try to use the Holy Spirit?

You’ve been to the seminars, after all. You’ve read the books. You’ve heard speakers talk about how we can “get” the Holy Spirit. Just say the right words, read the right texts, practice the right techniques . . . AND ALL THIS POWER CAN BE YOURS!

Right.

But if the Holy Spirit is a person (and not just some kind of magical, mystical, ethereal force that kicks in whenever Yoda can use a little extra help), then all these seminars on how to “get” the Holy Spirit are kind of like those books that promise to reveal the “secrets” of how to meet women (and get them to do what you want). They’re insulting, in other words. They’re ineffective. And they’re downright pathetic . . .

Because they forget that we’re talking about a real person.

So . . . my advice for this week’s lesson: don’t try to prove the “divinity” of the Holy Spirit. (And don’t get bogged down in a long, involved discussions of the Trinity!) No, just focus on the fact that the Holy Spirit is a person, and everything else will follow from there.

1 Comments:

Blogger Dave said...

Great thoughts, Greg. I'm totally with you that teaching the personality of the Holy Spirit is the best way clear up issues of "magic" and Arianism.

10:11 PM  

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