Controversial: How the Holy Spirit Could Act with a Lady

Ipriska vase 3

Is There a  Southern Gentleman Holy Spirit?

When I was a baby Christian, I tried to make sense of the Trinity. I was newly washed from Mormonism, where its theology neatly packaged each member of its godhead into a separate body. Easy peasy. Compartments, check, check, check.

Now adrift in the murky waters of a Christian denomination that prided itself on having no creed, I struggled most with the concept of the Holy Spirit.

He was God? I gulped. Not a separate, conscious entity with a history (though unknown), thoroughly distinct from his corporate partners, the father and the son of LDS theology?

It made my head hurt. But someone showed me this graphic.

godhead

“Don’t worry,” a godly older woman later told me, “think of the Holy Spirit as a gentleman. He never goes where He isn’t invited.”

And so I kept in mind a courtly presence who waited politely outside the door of my soul. And it’s true, He has his gentle side.

But then I started really reading the Bible.

Imagine to my surprise I found there a Spirit that picked up Ezekiel bodily and dumped him on a riverbank. Who did the same to Philip after his encounter with the Ethiopian.

But the clincher was when I read the Greek for Mark 1:12. While the other Gospels portray the Spirit as leading Jesus into the desert for His temptation – Mark shows it differently.

He shows a Spirit that shoves the Savior of the world into the barren place. The Greek word here, in fact, says that Spirit “threw Him out.” Like a bouncer.

So we shouldn’t be surprised when 2 Peter 1 tells of the writers being “carried along” as they produced Scripture. The word there is often used in a nautical manner: a force as strong as a gale wind that pushes a multi-ton boat along.

It is this same concept I’ve pursued in picturing what it might have been like for a woman to receive revelation.

In A Conspiracy of Breath, it’s no timid caller that comes to hijack her words and thoughts, to produce the mysterious Epistle to the Hebrews. In fact, He treats this lady just like He treated the men.

Here is an excerpt:

It was at that moment that an experience bubbled up, one that has become as familiar to me as it is inexplicable.

First was a sense of anticipation, a prefix to a word not yet voiced, like hearing—and smelling—a heralding thunder in complete darkness.

Wonder, the soul agape.

And then it began.

It was the clutch in the stomach when you take one poised-in-air pace off a step much deeper than you’d thought. It is what happens in your throat just prior to a gasp, or after; when the lining of the lungs has flattened out and there is no air, anywhere.

And then I inhaled it, the Holy Breath.

I do not remember speaking. I do not remember anything except the breathing in.

Cordelia told me later that I stood erect, alert, my eyes open but unfocused; and with the change in my voice (as if it were muscle, not air, she said) my mother started in her bed and a murmur of Delphi, Delphi, Delphi rippled through the room.

The scribe at my mother’s side began unbidden to write my words:

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets—at many times and in various ways,

many ways, many ways

but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things,

and through whom also he made the universe.

listen listen listen

sustaining all things by his powerful word.

words words listen to these strange words

After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

the oracle, can she be the oracle

bring more wine

For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have become your Father”? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”?

No one else, no one. Wisdom, wisdom—mark it well, scribe!

And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

In speaking of the angels he says, “He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.”

spirits, spirits, flames of fire

But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.”

(Cordelia saw it: Ezekiel among the elders of Judah, she said.)

“You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”

(Some actually wept, Cordelia said, upon the words oil of joy.)

He also says, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.

“They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment.

“You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed.”

Like a garment, a worn-out garment, like a robe, like a rolled-up robe

And then Cordelia knew, because of Pelatiah son of Benaiah, what would be.

“But you remain the same, and your years will never end.”

Then I asked questions, Cordelia said, appealing with an outstretched arm and unseeing eyes to the curtains, to the shuddering room:

To which of the angels did God ever say, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?

And then, Cordelia said, my mother’s back arched.

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

And then she died.

And then vellum sheets slid to the floor.

And then the room emptied, faded away like wraiths in the folds of the whispering curtains.

(From A Conspiracy of Breath, TSU Press, 2017. Copyright, Latayne C. Scott)

The Southern Gentleman Holy Spirit?

When I was a baby Christian, I tried to make sense of the Trinity. I was newly washed from Mormonism, where its theology neatly packaged each member of its godhead into a separate body. Easy peasy. Compartments, check, check, check.

Now adrift in the murky waters of a Christian denomination that prided itself on having no creed, I struggled most with the concept of the Holy Spirit.

He was God? I gulped. Not a separate, conscious entity with a history (though unknown), thoroughly distinct from his corporate partners, the father and the son of LDS theology?

It made my head hurt. But someone showed me this graphic.

“Don’t worry,” a godly older woman later told me, “think of the Holy Spirit as a gentleman. He never goes where He isn’t invited.”

And so I kept in mind a courtly presence who waited politely outside the door of my soul. And it’s true, He has his gentle side.

But then I started really reading the Bible.

Imagine to my surprise I found there a Spirit that picked up Ezekiel bodily and dumped him on a riverbank. Who did the same to Philip after his encounter with the Ethiopian.

But the clincher was when I read the Greek for Mark 1:12. While the other Gospels portray the Spirit as leading Jesus into the desert for His temptation – Mark shows it differently.

He shows a Spirit that shoves the Savior of the world into the barren place. The Greek word here, in fact, says that Spirit “threw Him out.” Like a bouncer.

So we shouldn’t be surprised when 2 Peter 1 tells of the writers being “carried along” as they produced Scripture. The word there is often used in a nautical manner: a force as strong as a gale wind that pushes a multi-ton boat along.

It is this same concept I’ve pursued in picturing what it might have been like for a woman to receive revelation.

In A Conspiracy of Breath, it’s no timid caller that comes to hijack her words and thoughts, to produce the mysterious Epistle to the Hebrews.

Here is an excerpt:

It was at that moment that an experience bubbled up, one that has become as familiar to me as it is inexplicable.

First was a sense of anticipation, a prefix to a word not yet voiced, like hearing—and smelling—a heralding thunder in complete darkness.

Wonder, the soul agape.

And then it began.

It was the clutch in the stomach when you take one poised-in-air pace off a step much deeper than you’d thought. It is what happens in your throat just prior to a gasp, or after; when the lining of the lungs has flattened out and there is no air, anywhere.

And then I inhaled it, the Holy Breath.

I do not remember speaking. I do not remember anything except the breathing in.

Cordelia told me later that I stood erect, alert, my eyes open but unfocused; and with the change in my voice (as if it were muscle, not air, she said) my mother started in her bed and a murmur of Delphi, Delphi, Delphi rippled through the room.

The scribe at my mother’s side began unbidden to write my words:

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets—at many times and in various ways,

many ways, many ways

but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things,

and through whom also he made the universe.

listen listen listen

sustaining all things by his powerful word.

words words listen to these strange words

After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

the oracle, can she be the oracle

bring more wine

For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have become your Father”? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”?

No one else, no one. Wisdom, wisdom—mark it well, scribe!

And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

In speaking of the angels he says, “He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.”

spirits, spirits, flames of fire

But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.”

(Cordelia saw it: Ezekiel among the elders of Judah, she said.)

“You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”

(Some actually wept, Cordelia said, upon the words oil of joy.)

He also says, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.

“They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment.

“You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed.”

Like a garment, a worn-out garment, like a robe, like a rolled-up robe

And then Cordelia knew, because of Pelatiah son of Benaiah, what would be.

“But you remain the same, and your years will never end.”

Then I asked questions, Cordelia said, appealing with an outstretched arm and unseeing eyes to the curtains, to the shuddering room:

To which of the angels did God ever say, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?

And then, Cordelia said, my mother’s back arched.

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

And then she died.

And then vellum sheets slid to the floor.

And then the room emptied, faded away like wraiths in the folds of the whispering curtains.

(From A Conspiracy of Breath, TSU Press, 2017. Copyright, Latayne C. Scott)

See related post:  Where are the Voices of the Acts 2 Women?

See related post: On Trances and Ecstasies: Thanks for Nothing, Bernini

Priska Front Cover Amazon

Submit a Comment