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For me the most powerful way to experience the presence of the Spirit is in stories. When I was in seminary, I took a course on the Holy Spirit. The professor required that we write our final paper on one of three documents. I chose the 1978 position paper on the Holy Spirit of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

In the first paragraphs of the position paper, the church writers said that when trying to understand the Holy Spirit we should stick with the didactic writings in the Bible and dismiss the stories of the Spirit. They meant we should only consider the parts of the Bible when Biblical writers like the Apostle Paul said, “The gifts of the Spirit are joy, love, peace, etc.” They argued that there were too many ways to interpret the stories of the Spirit.

I argued that the different understandings of the stories were exactly why we need to use the stories to experience the Holy Spirit. Stories allow us to enter on different levels. We hear the story from where we are and that gives it meaning. Our own changing lives allow stories to speak to us differently over time.

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