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Fresh Air: The Holy Spirit for an Inspired Life Paperback – April 1, 2012
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From the Back Cover
"Fresh Air offers careful examination of the Holy Spirit, all tangled up with a wide wonder."--Nichole Nordeman
"People told me Jack Levison was a great teacher, and when I read this book I realized why. His excitement is infectious; he tells a great story; he sets little-known biblical passages on fire and drills down to unimagined depths in well-known ones. He has a boyish enthusiasm, but his account of the holy spirit - and what the spirit can do for whole churches, not just individuals! - is mature, seasoned, challenging and wise. His scholarship is spot on, his human warmth and Christian compassion are everywhere. An unbeatable combination." --N. T. Wright
"Jack Levison's book is the most biblical, wide-ranging, innovative, and refreshing book on the Holy Spirit in years. The Spirit is here de-programmed and set loose. You may be surprised in every chapter, I know I was." --Scot McKnight
"Fresh Air is, well, a breath of fresh air. Jack Levison fuses an accurate but unpretentious examination of the Holy Spirit in Scripture with a lively and generous style that invites the entire Christian community, regardless of label, to embrace God's Spirit in the everyday ordinariness of life." --Eugene Peterson
"Fresh Air is exactly what its title promises: a lively, fresh study of the theology of the Holy Spirit by a brilliant and spirited theologian. If there is such a thing as poignant Christian midrash, then this surely is it." --Phyllis Tickle
"I've often asked pastors, 'Who is the most neglected person of the Trinity?' They always answer, 'The Holy Spirit.' In this lively and--well--Spirit-filled book, Jack Levison enjoys the exploits of the Holy Spirit throughout scripture, provoking a fresh encounter with God. Jack is uniquely qualified to lead us, combining his scholarly understanding of scripture with his deep affection for the church, both mainline and Pentecostal. No one will think about the Holy Spirit in the same way after reading Jack's book."--Will Willimon
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However, I left this well laid out book unconvinced that it offered a new hope. I did not see how a mix of proficy and teaching would cure the woes of today's church or what a church that embraced his solution would look like. The book felt unfinished.
Also Psuedo-Philo mentions the phrase "holy spirit" many times which was written around the time of Jesus but was not connected to the Qumran community.
I am really surprised but I do not think there was even a mention of Psalm 51:11 - Do not take your holy spirit from me"! or Isaiah 63:10 - "Yet they rebelled and grieved his holy spirit"! Or no mention was made between "holy spirit" and "the spirit of the holy gods" in Daniel 4 and 5!
I do like his emphasis on keeping a proper balance of the spirit in our life and how sometimes it can be the spirit who drives us into the wilderness. Probably the best point in the book.
I just thought he never really jelled together the idea he was supporting that the spirit is something that everyone has, yet the spirit is also something that is given to people. So how do these two things function together in Scripture? We are left with no answer! Ezekiel 36:26 hints at something when it talks about a new spirit, and 2 Cor. 5:17 and Galatians 6:15 when they talk about a new creation. These themes would seem to be very pertinent to a book like this. It is almost captured in the title of the book "Fresh Air" but too bad he did not expand upon this.
Also I disagree with Dr. Levison if he is saying memorizing Scripture will lead to inspiration. In my experience it led to division. I have met many a person who would use memorization a measuring stick of maturity. The key to growth in Christ is not memorization but comprehension. So when you do have Bible studies, it should not be just reading and letting it soak in, because most people if they are honest have no idea what they just read means!
Also with all his emphasis on the spirit working slowly, there are many examples in Scripture where the Spirit works quickly and suddenly - the boy who rose from the dead through Elijah's prayers and breath. The spirit swooping up Philip on a road to another city! So it should be granted that the Spirit does work this way and I have experienced a welling up in my soul ready to explode when the Spirit was speaking to me. It was a prompting during a prayer service to go up and play a particular song on the piano, which led to repentance of those in attendance of various things. But I agree that I don't think the spirit would want to work that way when it comes to rebuking someone. That is where the gentleness should enter in.
Overall the book helpfully broadans the usage of the spirit which is important, but ends up confusing one in how the Spirit is not given but is given.