Fresh Air: The Holy Spirit for an Inspired Life by Jack Levison

Summary: A readable (and devotional) look at the Holy Spirit.

I picked it up Fresh Air: The Holy Spirit for an Inspired Life when it was originally on sale after reading an interview on Scot McKnight’s Jesus Creed Blog and then a long review by Brian LePort at Nearemmaus.

Levison is a professor at Seattle Pacific University. He has written academically about the Holy Spirit, but this is more devotionally focused than academically focused (at least that is how I read it.)

Each chapter starts with three or four scripture passages that Levison asks that you read before you start the chapter, and maybe keep open beside you as you read the chapter.

Most chapters are explorations of the Holy Spirit in Biblical context.  For instance, one chapter looks at the interaction between Job and Elihu. Levison talks about how we speak of the advice we give to others. Elihu uses words and concepts that are biblical and theologically correct, but uses them in a tone and methods that violate the actual principle of the words he was saying. Levison says, “I worry that many of us, like Elihu, mistake spectacular experiences for the spirit and, as a result, damage others because we think we’re wiser than we actually are. We dispense advice or deliver speeches that are neither inspired nor beneficial. Elihu thinks he’s inspired, but, as Jeremy might say, he’s really just plain mean.”

The reference to Jeremy in that quote is about Levison’s son Jeremy. This book is not just biblical exposition, this is a book that attempts to show that the work of the Holy Spirit is primarily in the life of the Christian. So Fresh Air is heavily filled with real life examples of how the spirit works.

One of the best parts of the book is that Levison has experience in the Pentecostal world, but lives most of the time in mainline Protestant world. (His wife is a United Methodist pastor.) That is not unlike my background. I great up in the American Baptist (mainline protestant) church. I went to Wheaton College and while it was not pentecostal by any means, I was exposed to a more pentecostal Christian world while I was there and in the years following. I am now in the non-denominational Evangelical megachurch world, while leaning Anglican theologically.

In all of my church background, there is often a lack of engagement with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is not just a source of power, the Holy Spirit is to be our guide and connection to God while on earth.  Many denominations are uncomfortable with the Holy Spirit because they are uncomfortable with Pentecostalism. But Pentecostalism is only one way of engaging the Spirit. Christianity without the Spirit is not the Christianity that Jesus intended. So Levison is pushing the reader toward real engagement with the Spirit, whether you are Pentecostal or Mainline or Evangelical.

This is not a long book, just over 200 pages. It is not academic (although Levison knows his theology).  It is biblical and rooted in historic Christian theology and it is readable.

Fresh Air: The Holy Spirit for an Inspired Life Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition

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