In the Bible, the Holy Spirit staggers us with its unexpectedness. The Holy Spirit is not just about speaking in tongues, spiritual gifts or "fruits"—but also about our deepest breath and our highest human aspirations.
In his book Fresh Air, popular teacher and biblical scholar Jack Levison aims to do nothing less than clarify 2,000 years of confusion on the topic of who the Holy Spirit is, what the Holy Spirit does, and why it all matters. Provocative and life-changing, Fresh Air combines moving personal anecdotes, rich biblical studies, and practical strategies for experiencing the daily presence of the Holy Spirit. In brief chapters, the book finds the presence of the Holy Spirit where we least expect it—in human breathing, in social transformation, in community, in hostile situations, and in serious learning. Fresh Air will unsettle and invigorate readers poised for a fresh experience of an ancient, confusing topic.
"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
"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
"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
"Fresh Air is exactly what its title promises. If there is such a thing as poignant Christian midrash, this surely is it." —Phyllis Tickle
"Levison attests to the quotidian reality of the Spirit in the actual lives of women and men. A subtext of his book is that "mainline" church folk have a lot to learn from Pentecostals. Fresh Air invites a reread of scripture and re-notice of our own lives in the power of the Spirit."—Walter Brueggemann
"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." —William Willimon
This year I had the pleasure of joining one of our churches in a six-week Lenten soup supper and small-group study of the book (and video) by Jack Levison, titled "Fresh Air" (D 1962). OF all the studies I've done, I've found "Fresh Air: The Holy Spirit for an Inspired Life" to be one of my favorites. I like the fact that Jack Levison is an outstanding biblical scholar and storyteller who also happens to be a Professor of New Testament Studies at Seattle Pacific University. It's fun to study a book written by an expert who lives locally and is, according to his wife Priscilla Pope-Levison, willing to engage with local churches in sharing his knowledge and gifts to build up local church ministry. The stories, character analysis, insight, scriptural exegesis and discussion questions in this book written for a lay audience, are amazing, challenging, inspiring, and theologically "spot on" as N.T. Wright says. The short DVD segments illustrate the book so well that those who don't like reading or feel too busy can still gain much from the study, but to really appreciate the work and from Levison's wisdom, I highly recommend reading the book individually and then watching the DVD in a group setting. Journaling or group discussion will build upon concepts presented in the book and facilitate a level of sharing that is both intimate and stimulating. This is a book I could read over and over again without becoming bored because each time I read it I find something new that resonates with me.
Ellen Johansen, Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Methodist Church