The Spirit is Revolution, Anarchy

I was reading a bit from H.A. Drake’s Constantine and the Bishops (Johns Hopkins Press, 2000) and this passage stood out:

The Spirit is, without doubt, the revolutionary member of the Trinity.  Unlike the Father, so distant as to be almost beyond human comprehension, or the Son, a model of perfect obedience, the Spirit works in ways that are neither predictable nor always desirable, bringing with it a criterion of inner worth to measure those who would rule and a knowledge that respects neither person nor process, a capacity for defiance always ready to take on state or church.  It is as likely to settle on a milkmaid as on an apostle….. Because the Spirit dwells within, it ever threatens to burst forth with new revelations, new interpretations, new meanings in contradiction to established thought.  The Spirit is anarchy. (104)

For Drake, the Spirit is the centrifugal force of the early Christian movement, while the organizing ability is the centripetal force.  For this idea he is highly indebted to Max Weber, but expresses it with such flair.  Other scholars (e.g., Claudia Rapp or Dayna Kalleres) have shown this to be a false dichotomy, that in the fourth century and later Bishops embodied various forms of spiritual, charismatic authority.  Yet I do wonder if his idea that the Spirit is divine anarchy has something to it.


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