Contemporary Scripture Reflections for Spiritual Seekers
Dr. Elizabeth-Anne Stewart, BCC, PCC
May 31st, 2020
Feast of Pentecost
Excerpt from
Elizabeth-Anne Stewart
Sheed & Ward, 1999

Western Christianity has tamed the Spirit into Comforter and Guide, but there is another dimension to the Holy Spirit: that of Intoxicator. By focusing on the behaviors and attitudes of those upon whom the Spirit rests, we will see that her manifestations include rashness, spontaneity, self-abandonment and seeming drunkenness. The Holy Spirit cannot be contained or limited, nor are the effects of the Spirit predictable or controllable. Rather, when the Holy Spirit is active, the irrational prevails. Speaking of God's "dynamism," Elizabeth Johnson writes:

"Spirit, literally meaning a blowing wind, a storm,a stream of air, breath in motion, or something dynamically in movement and impossible to pin down, points to the livingness of God who creates, sustains, and guides all things and cannot be confined."

This freeing power -- as indicated
by the ninth century hymn, Veni Creator-- bends what is stiff, warms what is cold, and guides what has gone astray. That which is frozen melts; that which is fossilized becomes animated; that which is rigid gains flexibility; that which is held captive breaks loose. According to the hymn text, this living water, this flame of love and spiritual anointing, drives away the "enemy," the source of all harm. Though the nature of the enemy is not specified, it could be inferred that it represents all that is antithetical to love, to light, and to divine empowerment. This enemy could be described as the inclination towards ennui, apathy, lack of commitment, emotional disengagement, repression, egotism, myopia, rigidity, fear, conformity, despair, lifelessness...

If the legacy of the Spirit is life itself, then it is little wonder that Paul VI, echoing the sentiments expressed by John XXIII, declared that "the Church needs a perpetual Pentecost."


How would you define your "Comfort Zone" right now? Are you open to being disrupted?

What makes your Comfort Zone comfortable? Is there anything about it that makes you uncomfortable?

Have you ever experienced the Holy Spirit as Disrupter? If so, what happened?

Greetings, Readers!

Minneapolis burns. Rage spills out on city streets as yet another senseless death reveals the deep-seated racism that runs through every aspect of American life. George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin -- how many more murders will it take for us to "wake up"? What will mobilize us to find the spiritual, moral and political will to take action? When will we finally overhaul a system that fails to provide "liberty and justice for all"?

Racism is a festering wound that undermines our core values, making a mockery of our claims to be a democratic society. It manifests in "Blue on Black" violence; in disparities regarding the quality of health care, education, and housing; in the placement of toxic waste dumps in minority neighborhoods; in racial profiling and scapegoating; in false accusations, unjust sentences, and wrongful convictions... Yes, Minneapolis is burning, but so is the soul of America. What is being looted is nothing compared to the looting of countless Black lives that has been in process since the first African slave set foot in America.

Now, more than ever, we need to invoke the Holy Spirit to send down her fire, not to destroy but to purify -- to melt hardened hearts and give us hearts of flesh instead! "Shooting the looters" is not the answer to the conflagration happening in the wake of George Floyd's murder; what is called for on both a national and individual level is deep soul-searching, followed by "restitution" in whatever form this needs to take. Only then will healing rivers flow across this burning land...

Let us pray for peace and demand justice!

PS Try my spiritual self-assessment tool! After you take the Quiz, you will automatically receive a computer-generated diagram and explanatory comments regarding your strengths and "growing edges." I hope you find the Quiz useful!



When the time for Pentecost came, they were all gathered in one place. Suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, which filled the entire house where they were. Then there appeared what seemed to be tongues of fire that parted and came to rest on each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them.
Acts 2:1-12

One title that we don't typically associate with the Holy Spirit is that of Disrupter (also spelled "disruptor"). Given that disrupters tend to be rebels or even anarchists who turn the status quo upside down and inside out, many Christians might find the term offensive, even blasphemous. In the corporate world, however, being a "disrupter" is often regarded as a positive attribute; associations would include "innovator," "trend-setter," "risk taker," and "revolutionary." Individuals who immediately come to mind would be Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates, all of whom have shifted the way we live, work and play. Just imagine how life would be (for better or worse!) without their technological innovations! Similarly, look at the way Airbnb disrupted the hotel industry, how Uber revolutionized the taxi industry, and how Netflix displaced Blockbuster Video. Each company literally disrupted the old way of doing things, providing a brand new model that went global.

When I think of the Holy Spirit as Disrupter , I am not suggesting she will be responsible for the next technological revolution; rather, the term has appeal because disruption, by definition, forces us out of our comfort zones into the realm of possibility. As creatures of habit, many of us are quite content to follow the same routines we have had for years, finding comfort in the familiar. Then along comes some disrupting event -- like COVID-19, for example-- and the old ways no longer work. The qualities that served us well in the past are now woefully inadequate: we can either re-invent ourselves (recommended) or wait for life to return to normal (which it may never do) Living in a VUCA world ( V olatility, U ncertainty, C omplexity, and A mbiguity), we cannot afford to resist change; rather, we have to adapt to the times and use platforms such as Zoom to keep ourselves employed and employable.

On a spiritual plane, The Holy Spirit is a disrupting force more powerful than any innovation in technology, agriculture, or transportation; more revolutionary than the development of the wheel, the printing press, or the steam engine; more energetic than the Big Bang and the release of cosmic forces... This Spirit summons us out of narrow ways of thinking and being, prompting us, inviting us, cajoling us, disrupting us so that we dare become a new creation. Spirit burns away our pettiness, our fears, our ego-driven agendas, showing us all we can be -- and all we can do to build a just society. On that first Pentecost, a power greater than wind or fire drove the disciples out of the house where they were praying, sending them forth to proclaim the Good News to all nations. On this Pentecost, may the Holy Spirit shake us out of complacency that we, too, may renew the face of the Earth. Veni Sancte Spiritus!


Coaching through Story
Team-taught virtual course, ILCT. Take one class or all four! Join from anywhere, via Zoom! Wednesdays, 4:00-6:00 p.m. ET
May 27th-June 17th, 2020

Out of Your Comfort Zone
Infinity Foundation, Highland Park, IL
Sunday, August 2nd,
1:00-4:00 p.m.

Decoding the Archetypes that Drive Us
Theosophical Society, Wheaton, IL
Thursday, Sept. 24th, 2020
7:00-8:30 p.m.
Balancing Archetypes
Theosophical Society, Wheaton, IL
Saturday, Sept. 26th, 2020
2:00-5:00 p.m.

Mind-Shifting Imagery
ICF (International Coaching Federation) Midwest Regional Conference, Madison WI
October 1-3, 2020

Beyond God
The Well Spirituality Center , LaGrange Park, IL
October 24, 2020
*re-scheduled as a virtual presentation
If you have canceled your retreat because of COVID-19, you may want to think about a virtual alternative. I will be available for customized group or individual "virtual retreats" (by phone or Zoom) from May 15-August 15. Please contact me by email for more information. Thank you!
This video explains my approach to this ministry, while my website provides further details as well. I work "in person" as well as remotely by phone, Zoom or Skype; I am also available to facilitate retreats for groups and individuals.
Dr. Elizabeth-Anne Stewart | |

C. All Photos by Elizabeth-Anne Stewart,