Last week, the John Perkins Center hosted the forum “The Holy Spirit, Justice, and Reconciliation,” where SPU Professor Kerry Dearborn and Tierra Nueva’s Chris Hoke discussed their newly released books.

In “Drinking from the Wells of New Creation,” Dr. Dearborn spoke of the power of an imagination transformed by the Holy Spirit, particularly for those living on the margins. She stated that “spiritual renewals often happen on the margins,” for it is these communities who are often “radically open to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.”

Hoke contextualized these ideas as he spoke of his book “Wanted,” which chronicles his experiences working with prison inmates through Tierra Nueva. Hoke spoke of the revelation of the Holy Spirit through his relationships with prison inmates, stating that “the Spirit moves through hands, eyes, friendship, affection, relationships,” and that it is in the practice of community that “God speaks.”

Dr. Dearborn concluded by stating that although our rational minds can create barriers, the imagination is “a vehicle that is touched by the heart.” Rather than viewing imagination as “engaging with that which is not real,” imagination can be understood as “getting us in touch with what’s most real — the power of God at work in this world.”

In Scripture, we are commanded to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly (Micah 6:8), to work toward freedom for those who are oppressed and afflicted by injustice (Isaiah 58:6-9), and to care for those who are hungry and in need (Matthew 25:31-46). In doing this, we will encounter the living God. How can our imaginations be expanded to encounter the Holy Spirit in places that will surprise us? Where have you seen God at work in unexpected places?

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