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Book Review: Chaos and Grace: Discovering the Liberating Work of the Holy Spirit by Mark Galli

Everett, Stewart James

Identifying the ways in which God’s Spirit maneuvers and works in the world has never been a task undertaken with ease by the committed faithful. Yet, this is exactly what author Mark Galli, current Senior Managing Editor at Christianity Today, attempts to do in his latest publication, Chaos and Grace: Discovering the Liberating Work of the Holy Spirit. With a foreword written by Will Willimon, former chapel dean at Duke Divinity School, this book completes the third and final volume in Galli’s series on the Trinity. The former two works in this Trinitarian trilogy address, first, Jesus Christ in Jesus Mean and Wild: The Unexpected Love of An Untamable God (Baker, 2008) and second, the nature of God, in A Great and Terrible Love: A Spiritual Journey Into the Attributes of God (Baker, 2009). While surely informed by these two previous publications, Chaos and Grace stands on its own as Galli seeks to demonstrate the potentially disruptive and untamed nature of the Holy Spirit—what he terms "holy chaos"—whose power can ultimately transform human lives dominated by a need for constant control and obsessive ordering over their circumstances in all domains of life, including religious life. This "holy chaos" of disorder spawned by movements of the Spirit, which Galli interprets as "gift," serves as a means by which God chooses to both liberate persons from the duties of religion—worship, prayer, scripture reading—and also to relieve persons from their "addiction" to living such overly managed and restrictive lives (18). For Galli, abandoning this detrimental control and appreciating God as the "instigator" of dismantling chaos puts the Christian on the way to living "the life of freedom" which may become a "real possibility" (18-19).


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Union Seminary Quarterly Review
Union Theological Seminary

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Union Theological Seminary
Union Theological Seminary
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September 16, 2015