Pentecost and Allergic Reactions

John 3:8

The wind blows where it will and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.


There is a lot of talk in Christianity of the spirit being like the wind. The wind blowing from many directions, claiming to be “Christian” wind, seems to carry a lot of allergens for folks today. And writing explicitly Christian stuff in the public sphere has reminded me of this lately.

My personal audience, for starters. I have a lot of friends on Facebook who are not Christian or religious and might either describe themselves outright as atheists, agnostics or perhaps identify with the rising group of “nones,” those who answer “none” when asked about their religious affiliation on various questionnaires (which does not mean they believe in nothing–often quite the opposite–they just don’t find a form that fits). Despite the fact that my connection to Christianity just might discomfort some, my nice friends seem not to have unfriended me en masse. I’m sure many must just skip over my overly religious or Christian posts, which is fine.

But as I changed my background picture yesterday to an image of the apostles with tongues of flame over their heads, I wondered, what do people think this is about? What do they think I think this is about? And really, it is a very good question to revisit regularly.

It is Pentecost Sunday, and I have already preached this morning to my beloved congregation, my proverbial choir, about the Holy Spirit and the task each individual human being has to engage with spirit and bring the spirit alive on the earth, each in our own way and revelation. I think of this as a universal message; to me, Christianity is not an exclusive club but the antithesis: an impulse set into the world by the one-time incarnation of the divine friend of humanity, the Son of God, who made himself to be the Son of Humanity so that each one of us would have the ability to find God stirring in our own centers, and through this find a way to a new wholeness and revelation for the world. Indeed for all of creation (see Paul’s letter to the Romans 8:18-23)!

We have a big job. Get free. Really free. Like, Nina Simone “I wish I knew how it would feel to be free” kind of free. Only in freedom is love with a big L possible. Only in freedom do we begin to understand the mystery of this incredible palette of human beings spread across the world, every single one of us a unique creation.

This is what Christianity means to me, and it does not exclude any other path, religious or not, that any one individual might choose, unless that path prevents other people from being free.

I too am allergic to religious words that ride the winds, which do not seem to be in harmony with my own constitution, which portray Christianity as anything but revolutionarily inclusive. I decided a long time ago not to waste my energy fighting against those particulates or trying to block out the wind altogether, but rather to find what strengthens my own immune system, the center of my being where I can know the truth for myself, and the center out of which I can meet the dynamic, beautiful, changing world with discernment and love.

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