The Spirit of the People: A Latinx, Ecumenical Pneumatology

“We are frequently told that the Latinx people in the U.S. have already contributed a renewed, “charismatic” experience of the Church, but we have barely even begun to reflect on the meaning and significance of this “renewal” or this “charism” for the reform of the Church, for Christian unity, and for a more equitable social and political life in North America today. ”

Team Members/Contributors

Peter Joseph Casarella Duke Divinity School Contact Me

About this sabbatical grant for researchers

The Spirit of the People begins where The God of the People ends. The memory of the God in and by the people remains a goad to God’s people for both justice in the world and a word of salvation.

Three examples of the new Latinx pneumatology follow. The Third Article of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed was forged out of doctrinal controversy in order to establish a rule of faith and practice but remains equally a living witness not only to the Spirit “who spoke through the prophets” in the past tense but to the prophetic spirit being reclaimed by Latinx people today. The Eastern and Western Church split over the filioque, and in the midst of that strife the personhood of the Spirit was elaborated divergently by ecclesiocentric Western doctors and anti-Augustinian Eastern Sophiologists. In the midst, the beautifying power of the Comforter that rests on the Son and beckons us alluringly into the freeing and analogical mystery of the interpersonal divine communion was lost. Latinx people with their coritos and painted images are recovering this aesthetic power of God’s personal self-giving beauty. The Spirit-filled people of God are today proclaiming a liberating, decolonial Spirit that follows some of these ancient patterns and breaks away from the hegemonic pneumatology of the modern West in new and surprisingly ways.

The Spirit of the People is not a social project and is not a dream of an otherworldly future. It is, as Acts states, the Spirit that God has poured out on all flesh for the sake of seeing and hearing in a new prophetic mode of vision and discernment. This project will help to dislodge preconceptions that still threaten Christian unity and also propose a spirit-filled vision that sees the undocumented, the dispossessed, and the marginalized empowered with the gifts of hope, agency, and inclusion.