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Embracing the Holy Spirit for Non-Christians

abstract colorful landscape to symbolize holy spirit for non-christians

Getty/agsandrew

“By adding the word holy in front of keywords, such as in the terms Holy God, Holy Bible, Holy Spirit, Holy Catholic Church, Holy Communion, Holy, etc., we’ve made non-Christians weary of hearing us talk with all of this canonized holiness in our lexicon.”

WHEN MY BOOK Holy Spirit, Chi and the Other was being published, I had a long conversation with my editor about the book title. I submitted my manuscript under the title Spirit Within. I intentionally excluded the word holy before the word spirit, which the publisher didn’t agree with. I tried hard to get the publisher on the same page as me and use my preferred title. This begs the question: Why was I, as a Christian, so adamant that the word holy not be used in a Christian book? Why omit a word with such profound meaning and such sacred weight to the theological language? Is it because of how this word can be simply flung into titles, writings, and expressions with meaningless fluidity? Is it because I think that somehow it did not advocate for the theme or message of the book? No. Instead, it was a conscious consideration of those non-Christians who may see the book—the ones who see the word spirit and think of transcendent spirituality and then see the word holy and think of moral superiority and hostility. Some perceive Christians as antiquated, ignorant, empire building, pat …

About the Author

Grace Ji-Sun Kim

Grace Ji-Sun Kim received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and is Professor of Theology at Earlham School of...

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