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Chaos and Grace:...the Liberating Work of the Holy Spirit, by Mark Galli

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Chaos and Grace: Discovering the Liberating Work of the Holy Spirit, by Mark Galli, Baker Books, 2011, Hardcover, 203 Pages, ISBN-13: 978-0801013508, $17.99

Chaos and Graceis the final volume in Mark Galli’s trilogy on the liberating, transformative work of the Holy Spirit. Where he writes that although God is found in “peace and order,” he believes God is also found in “disorder and confusion,” where he says, God is even the “instigator of chaos.”

Circumstances most would like to avoid since descriptive words for chaos and crisis include threat, turmoil, adversity and confusion, any of which cause disruption and fear. However, such situations usually demand our complete and undivided attention, which is what Galli believes the Holy Spirit wants—our undivided attention.

He begins with the example of a churches “congregational self-study” group he participated in. The group used “SWOT analysis,” a strategic planning method that evaluates positives and negatives of a business venture, which in this case was a once vibrant church now in decline.

Their examination of the churches strengths, weaknesses and opportunities were favorable, they found “…the church blessed with many gifts of ministry.”

However, when they looked at threats the group saw “…declining population, shrinking financial resources, an aging building and security issues.” All serious concerns, but one woman’s words shocked them. “God, be sure to put God on the list… [because a loving God]…just won’t leave us alone.”

Galli writes that the Holy Spirit uses creative chaos to “…prod and unsettle as much as [to] console and comfort…” And that’s what his book is about, the Holy Spirit and “…a God who refuses to leave us alone.”

Nineteen chapters include topics of Jesus, Holy Spirit, church, control, addiction, witness, chaos, and many others. The first half offers a biblical narrative on “themes of chaos and liberation.” The second is Galli’s “analysis of current church culture.” His conclusions are drawn from close interaction with the Christian community and observations as “senior managing editor of Christianity Today.”

Learn why Galli believes the Holy Spirit wants to free believers from “addiction to religion” and draw them into a life of dynamic faith, where spiritual disciplines are a delight instead of a duty. Read his humorous, on-target view of church growth that emphasizes “marketing” instead of witnessing and so much more.

Galli uses the Apostle Paul and the book of Acts to demonstrate how to move “into a life of freedom in the Spirit.” This insightful book on the transformative work of the Holy Spirit designed to be read slowly and thoughtfully, would make an excellent Bible study.

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