Editor's Choice

"Chi, prana, Holy Spirit and other terms for the Spirit are all salvific"

The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other
"Chi, prana, Holy Spirit and other terms for the Spirit are all salvific in that they can save us within ourselves and in relation to others. Chi embraces life and makes it whole. It will heal and bring life to what is broken. Therefore, it is essential that humanity recognize this Spirit and affirm it in their lives. Chi has an emancipatory element as it frees us from the bonds of oppression that prevent us from celebrating life. When humanity neglects or ignores the force of Chi, problems of animosity and oppression can arise."

"One Spirit or Many?

Christians want a pneumatology that includes both transcendental and immanent dimensions of the Holy Spirit. God is not merely the 'Wholly Other' but also the 'God with us and in us.' At the beginning of the third millennium, Christians long to see, touch, and feel the presence of the Divine Spirit. Come, Holy Spirit! As Christians seek this, they come into dialogue with other religions that may have experienced Spirit in a similar fashion. Chi and other global understandings of the Spirit also express this Divine within us. Chi, prana, and ha are all versions of the life-giving Spirit and the essential element for all life to exist. If human beings can recognize this and accept this, we can all live in more harmony and peace with one another.

Chi will be a crucial element in how one does theology. It is found in all parts of the world by various ethnic groups and may be the binding element that will keep us from destroying ourselves, each other, and the planet. It is a Spirit that bonds and pulls humanity closer with all other living creatures. It will sustain us and keep us aware of our interconnectedness and interreliance. We need to turn to Chi and welcome its presence in our bodies and our lives so that we can be more aware of the Spirit.

Chi, prana, Holy Spirit and other terms for the Spirit are all salvific in that they can save us within ourselves and in relation to others. Chi embraces life and makes it whole. It will heal and bring life to what is broken. Therefore, it is essential that humanity recognize this Spirit and affirm it in their lives. Chi has an emancipatory element as it frees us from the bonds of oppression that prevent us from celebrating life. When humanity neglects or ignores the force of Chi, problems of animosity and oppression can arise."

When Asian contextual theology encounters the Chi of Taoism and its spirituality, it expands the dimension of the Spirit. The understanding of the Spirit moves toward a cosmic-natural process of living organisms for the multireligious mystical experience of human life. Although the Spirit in Christianity is not equated with an immanent and impersonal force, Jesus does say, "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit" (John 3: 8).

It is important to recognize the similarities between the Holy Spirit and other manifestations of the Spirit in our world. With this acceptance, it is then crucial to accept and welcome the Other who have different forms of expressing the same phenomena. In particular, the racialized immigrants who come to the West come here to begin a new life with many hopes and dreams. It is important not to make them the Other and have power and authority over them, but rather to embrace and empower each other. The power of Chi can help build bridges that have been torn down by ignorance and dominance. The destructive powers of separation can be overcome through Chi. Chi dwells in all things and within us. It has the power to make a positive difference in this world. Thus it is important to acknowledge that Chi is crucial for our livelihood and to realize that Chi is the Spirit in all things. This Spirit is the same Spirit of God. If God dwells within us, it makes a difference in how we live and treat others and nature.

There is much to learn from the many Eastern traditions and from one another. The Eastern traditions cannot be easily dismissed and ignored as their concept of Chi adds richness and new dimension to the Christian concept of God. In Christianity, there needs to be a stronger awareness of the Spirit within us. It is this Spirit that gives us life and maintains our life. In the West, we are so concerned with the physical being and the physical body that the Spirit does not come into the forefront. Rather we have largely adopted a "technical," even mechanical view of the body. We need to recognize the importance of the Spirit within our daily lives. In doing so, we may recognize the commonalities that exist between us and the Other. We will then be in a position to welcome and embrace one another. This is of crucial importance as we live in this global village where everything is becoming closer and more interconnected.

God within Us

We have encountered a God who also inhabits all created things. For Martin Luther, the creatures of God are not only human beings. God's creatures include "Water, air , the earth and all its products." Likewise the creatures indwelled by God are not limited to the human. Luther insisted that God and Christ are actually present not only in human beings but in all created things. We are a dwelling place of Christ crucified, who lived and died for the sake of abundant life for all, and whose love for human beings could be stopped by nothing. God makes a home in matter for God's presence is felt within matter . The finite bears the infinite. As we awaken each morning, the great Lover and Liberator is alive in and among our bodies. The mystery of creation "Is the indwelling of God within it." We creatures from the earth are home to One who breathes through creation, healing, making whole, undoing injustice, and restoring right relationships, so that all might have life and have it abundantly.

Chi reminds us of many things above or about the Divine. God and God's Spirit is always within us. This is what has given us life and sustains us throughout our life. We are the holy temples of God and this knowledge should make all the difference in how we treat ourselves, others, and nature. It is clearly evident that once we recognize that God is within us, we will treat ourselves , others, and nature with respect, love, and ultimate care. As we live in this ever-growing society of multinational corporations, imperialism , and colonialism, we need to take a deep breath and recognize these dangers and work toward justice and peace. This is ever crucial to us as we try to live on this planet and try to preserve it for the next generations.


As Christian theology works toward a new pneumatology, it is important to expand its concepts beyond the Western notions of the Spirit and embrace a global understanding of the Spirit. This will enable us to open up our previously conceived notions of the Spirit and embrace a more inclusive and holistic understanding. A global understanding of the Spirit will contribute to eliminating injustice and racism within society, open doors for interreligious dialogue, and make the world a better place for all who inhabit it. The global understanding of the Spirit as energy will renew us and bring us closer to the Divine. Ultimately, this Spirit is from God and we need to recognize its power and dimension. It will be the liberating element in our lives and the way to empowerment. All people need to recognize the strong powerful element of the Spirit and share this Spirit with others. This Spirit is the energy that is inside the fundamental building blocks of all living things. It is essentially what gives life and acknowledging this enables us to be aware of the Spirit within us. As people recognize the commonality of the Spirit with other religions, it will renew their hope in humanity and aid them in living with the Other, defined as those who are different culturally, ethnically, and religiously.

What we need is life, wholeness, and undivided love. Is this not the essence of the Gospel? God, the eternal, infinite God is so close to us that God loves us. 83 Isn't this the task of Chi? Chi is the giver and sustainer of life, much the same way that the Spirit is. The Spirit is found in major world religions and one must acknowledge this and learn from the other religious traditions and understandings of the Spirit. In order to expand our knowledge of the Spirit, we have to liberate the Spirit from a solely Christian perspective. We need to acknowledge the Spirit that is found in other religious and faith traditions and compare it to the Christian idea of the Spirit. Only in this way is the Spirit life-giving as it dismantles sexism, racism, prejudice, and Christian privilege.

As we see the various concepts of the Spirit around the world, we are challenged to embrace people who are different. Perhaps the differences between us are not as great as we first thought. There is common ground and we need to build upon this common ground. What does this mean for a global pneumatology? It implies a very inclusive understanding of the Spirit. The Spirit is found in different contexts, and this implies that the Spirit is present and embraced in various parts of the world. This means that there is one Spirit with many names. This has great implications for a pneumatology that transcends culture, tradition, and religion. It can be a binding pneumatology that breaks down barriers of racism, prejudice, and otherness. If the West can recognize the similarities rather than emphasize the differences, we can work toward a better world for all.

Ruach is the force behind all other forces, an essential element for all life to exist. If only human beings can recognize this and accept this, we can all live in more harmony and peace with one another. When humanity neglects or ignores this majestic force of ruach or Chi, animosity and oppression begins. Chi embraces life and makes it whole; therefore, it is essential that humanity recognizes this Spirit and affirms it in their lives. Thus Chi has an emancipatory element as it frees us from the bonds of evil that prevent us from celebrating life. Chi will keep us stronger and build bridges between humanity. This importance needs to be accentuated and emphasized if we want to continue living on this planet. Chi is salvific in that it saves us. It saves within us, between us, and among us. It is a Spirit that bonds and pulls humanity closer to all other living creatures. It will sustain us and keep us aware of our interconnectedness and interreliance. Without this Chi, we cannot survive as a human race.

Life has been an important concept for religiosity in new movements for the last decades. It indicates the idea to transpose meaning that was traditionally found in the transcendent and transempirical into this world and into the undiscovered depth dimensions of life. Chi will be the crucial element in how one does theology. It is found in all parts of the world by various ethnic groups. This is the binding element that will keep us from destroying ourselves, each other, and the planet. We need to turn to Chi and invite Chi into our bodies, our lives, and all living things."

Kim, Grace Ji-Sun (2011-09-20). The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other (pp. 29-34). Palgrave Macmillan Monographs. Kindle Edition.

Amazon Product Review

"Are there correlations between the Holy Spirit of the Christian tradition and the Chi of the Asian traditions? In tackling this huge and complex question Kim boldly and provocatively opens up whole new vistas on pneumatology and shows that in our global age theology can no longer be done from just one, up to now Eurocentric and androcentric, perspective. We are all in Kim's debt for this enlightening and enriching theological adventure." - Peter C. Phan, The Ignacio Ellacuria Chair of Catholic Social Thought, Theology Department, Georgetown University

"Any pluralist Christian may draw energy and insight from Kim's comparative theology of Chi. She offers a spirited strategy, always clear and hopeful, for at once decolonizing our old exclusivism and empowering a fresh and healing planetary cooperation." - Catherine Keller, Professor of Constructive Theology, Drew Theological School; author of On the Mystery: Discerning Divinity in Process

"The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other is well researched, theologically creative, interdisciplinary, and cross-cultural. The book is rich in both content and meaning. Kim's sophisticated treatment of the Spirit is a welcome addition to the growing literature on Global Theology. This book will be extremely useful for students and scholars in religious studies, theology, and cultural studies. It is a telling testimony to Kim's intellectual vitality, fine scholarship, and daring originality." - Akintunde E. Akinade, Visiting Professor of Theology, Georgetown School of Foreign Service, Doha, Qatar

"It is in taking just such a wide angle view of its subject, and doing it with considerable attention to detail, that The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other maps out a rich landscape for further exploration. It will be an excellent resource for students and teachers, and a very helpful point of departure for scholars in theology, religious studies, and social and cultural criticism." - Stephen Simmons, Moravian Theological Seminary

"Whether one agrees ultimately with Kim, The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other does the hard work of bringing Christian theology into dialogue with Eastern traditions. In an increasingly shrinking global village, Christians can no longer avoid doing theology only with Western resources. Kim provides one model of how this essential work is to be done. May many others take up this important task." - Amos Yong, J. Rodman Williams Professor of Theology, Regent University School of Divinity

"I highly recommend Kim's work as a fine piece of the kind of contextual theology we very much need today in the area of the Holy Spirit and Chi, given the widespread awareness and culture of Chi in so many parts of the world, especially in East Asia. She should be complimented on a very promising pioneering work." - Anselm K. Min, Dean and John D. and Lilian Maguire Distinguished Professor of Religion, The School of Religion, Claremont Graduate University

Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com

New Look at Enriching our Idea of the Holy Spirit.
By B. Maroldon October 11, 2011 - Published on Amazon.com

Dr. Kim's book addresses the post-colonial dialectic between the center versus the marginal, the coming together versus the preservation of identity, and what insights that Eastern understandings of Chi (wind, breath) can offer to our often neglected third of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. Feminist and other contextualist theologies devalue the un-knowable, transcendental aspects of Christian philosophy, inherited from Plato, and sustained up until Kant's critique. They also abhor the negation of self found in Kenosis. To preserve the self and celebrate the praxis required by the conditions in which we find ourselves, Dr. Kim raises the banner of the ancient disciplines of China, India, Japan, and Korea in understanding that way in which the spirit acts on and with us. The Christian scriptures say much about the healing power of the spirit, yet they say not one jot or tittle regarding how it is that happens, possibly due to the scripture's devaluing the physical, the "flesh". Eastern thought never makes that separation, so it devotes deep thought to Chi as a vital spirit, and thousands of years of praxis on physical disciplines treating the "whole person" such as acupuncture and Tai Chi.

Please note: I am a student of Dr. Kim, and I assisted to some extent in helping to edit this book.

boundary crossing book
By farinelon December 14, 2012 - Published on Amazon.com

Dr.Kim sets the agenda for the coming century of theological research by boldly urging that reflection and catechisis draw on the "hybridity" characteristic of today's world. She challenges the legacy of an attenuated and vapid platonism within christian tradition, with its implied denegration of the body. As a leader of adult education classes in a very multicutural parish, i find her concepts refreshing and liberating. As a deep reader of Calvin, i am delighted that dr. Kim, an ordained minister in the Presbyterian church, shares Calvin's belief that we cannot know who is "saved"; she suggests with PANNIKAR that revelation is complex and infinite, not bound to western categories of thought , and always opening us to freedom and newness. In that sense she breaks new ground, as Amos Yong has done, in the emerging and exciting field of pneumatology.

An Accessible Pneumatology
ByJ Choon April 17, 2012 - Published on Amazon.com

Dr. Kim does a comprehensive work in presenting the multi-layerd connections between Holy Spirit and Chi. It's highly technical, but still accessible and compelling. Her incorporation of an Eastern notion of "spirit" thickens and deepens the Christian theological understanding of Holy Spirit in practical ways. These days when so many cultures and religions are interfacing on a regular basis it is refreshing to have a resource that does so honestly, articulately, and courageously. There's no loss of authenticity or faithfulness to Christian faith here, nor any inkling of dilution, which is often a concern for those who criticize inter-religious dialogue. This is the age of the Holy Spirit, and engaging and allowing ourselves to be open to the work of the Holy Spirit is crucial for the sake of God's Kingdom.

Colonialism, Han, and the Transformative Spirit
“Paul portrays a Spirit-Christology and Jesus is understood to be raised to new life by the Spirit (Rom. 1:4). The Spirit is the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9; Gal. 4:6; Phil. 1:19) and it is through the Spirit that the believer is able to confess that “Jesus is Lord” (1. Cor. 12:1-3). Therefore, to be “in Christ” and “in the Spirit” are the same. Just as God and Spirit are the same, the Spirit cannot be experienced apart from Christ (1 Cor. 12:3). Christ is portrayed as “a life giving Spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45) and the Spirit works to give illumination and divine revelation in the face of affliction (1 Thess. 1:6; 1 Cor. 2:10-12; 2 Cor. 3:14-17). As a result, the believer has a responsibility to live her life in the power of the Spirit (Rom. 8:4-6, 14; Gal. 5:16, 18, 25). This responsibility should not be taken lightly as one should not ignore the depth of the Spirit’s power. Walking in the power of the Spirit is life-changing as the Spirit becomes an agent through which changes and transformation can occur.

Johannine pneumatology (from the Greek, pneuma, meaning breath, comparable to the Hebrew word for spirit) shows the Spirit’s life-giving power of water and breath: rebirth (John 3:5-8), spring of life (John 4:14; 6:63; 7:38-39), and new creation (John 20:22; cf. Gen. 2:7; Ezek. 37:9). The Johannine Epistles speak of anointing (1 John 2:20, 27) and Jesus has been given the Spirit (John 3:34). The Spirit is named “other Paraclete” (14:16) which implies that Jesus is the first (1 John 2:1). The term parakletos (from para+kalein) means “one called alongside to help” and thus is an advocate or witness (John 14:26). The Spirit becomes a source of inspiration and vision as people feel the presence of the Spirit around them. The Spirit also becomes an indispensable aspect of living ass it becomes an advocate for us to help us live a life of good stewardship.”

Colonialism, Han, and the Transformative Spirit
Grace Ji-Sun Kim, Palgrave Pivot (April 18, 2013) p. 73

"The Kundalini rises through a very thin line of Brahmanadi. In the beginning only a hair like thing rises, it pierces through. In some people, of course, in a big way it rises also. And then it pierces this fontanel bone area which is a real baptism, real. Today only people felt the cool breeze coming out of their heads. Can you do that by jumping, or by paying money? They felt the cool breeze in the hand. It's written in the Bible, even in the Bible very clearly, that it's the cool breeze. Cool breeze is the sign of the Holy Ghost. You start feeling the cool breeze in your hands and you start feeling the cool breeze on your head. This is the actualization."

The Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi

"The Spirit resides in our heart; it's the reflection of God Almighty. In Sanskrit language, this aspect of God which is all- pervading and is the first and the last, is called as Sadashiva; is the Father, who does not incarnate. We say Yehovah, we can say, or the God who does not incarnate. This great aspect which encompasses everything ultimately and also manifests everything is the reflection within our heart as the Spirit. This aspect is just the witness aspect; it witnesses the play of its power, the Primordial Power, the Holy Ghost, to see what is created by Her. He's the only enjoyer of the game. He sees the game, the Leela, the fun. She organises everything, it is She who gets divided into three powers, it is She who creates the whole universe, it is She who gives us this evolution, it is She who makes us human beings and it is She who has to make us the higher human being. That's the Holy Ghost, the Primordial Holy Ghost and the reflection of that is this Kundalini within us."

The Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
Sat-Chit-Ananda, Houston, Texas, Oct 7, 1981

"It is a difficult subject to talk about Adi Shakti because it's not easy to understand that Adi Shakti is the power of Sadashiva. Sadashiva is the God Almighty. She is His breath, as they some people call it. Some say She is the desire and some say that She is the entire power of Sadashiva and Sadashiva cannot do anything without Her powers."

The Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
Adi Shakti Puja, Cabella Italy, May 25, 1997

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