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Corbett resident looks into 'The Face of the Deep'

Religious author writes poetic musing on Holy Spirit

In Don McLean’s famous hit song, “American Pie,” he notes the three men he admires most are the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ALYSSA ELLIOTT - Paul J. Pastor

This "Trinitarian" formula is familiar to many Christians, for whom the Father is God the Creator; the Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost – or as he/she/it is called now, the Holy Spirit – is, well …

Wait a minute -- who, or what, for that matter, is the Holy Spirit?

That’s a question that Corbett resident Paul J. Pastor attempts to explore in his new book “The Face of the Deep: Exploring the Mysterious Person of the Holy Spirit.” The 303-page book is made up of two parts, to correspond to the Christian Bible's Old and New Testaments, each part consisting of seven chapters, called "Stars" in the first half and "Lampstands" in the second.

An active member at Theophilus at Trinity Fellowship Church, 27000 S.E. 67th Ave., Portland, Pastor is a fifth-generation Oregonian as well as a writer and editor whose book is far from a stuffy catechism but rather is a poetic exposition of how he has come to understand the Holy Spirit. Essentially Pastor sees the Spirit as the formless God, who lives both outside and inside the universe. If we were all to understand the imminence of God, societal transformation would be imminent, he contends.

"We would love differently, long differently, fight differently, make peace differently," he writes. "We would grow differently, cultivate differently, prune differently, preen differently. We would make, unmake, remake, buy and sell differently."CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - 'The Face of the Deep' is a contemporary look at the traditional Christian belief in the Holy Spirit.

God in the Third Person

Pastor calls the Spirit “he,” as most traditional Christians do, but makes it clear the Bible uses both genders to describe God, not to mention employing wind, fire and other elements as metaphors and symbols for the divine. While a decidedly evangelical book, with ample scriptural references, "Face of the Deep" is nonetheless a book even a nonbeliever might find interesting. One reason why is the book's prose moves like a steady gently flowing river, its waters carrying vessels filled with various cultures’ creation stories, steered by such poets as T.S. Eliot, artists like Leonardo DaVinci, leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. and authors like C.S. Lewis.

In fact, by the time you’re done with the book, you’ll never quite see Oregon’s mountains, the Jordan River in the Middle East, Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols or Stephen King’s novels in quite the same way, since Pastor sees the Holy Spirit speaking through all.

“I have seen him in a child’s hair, in the water of the creek by my kitchen,” Pastor writes in his chapter "The Renewer of Earth." "I have seen him in the discarded syringes that littered my old neighborhood in east Portland. I saw him in the closed eyes of my baby brother as he died, and in the opening eyes of my daughter and sons as they were born.

"I have seen him in yellowed paper, in tanned leather, in carved wood, in cast iron," he continues. "I have seen him in tulip and crocus blooms. I have seen him in lamb’s wool and lamb’s-quarters. I have seen him in the canals of Venice, in the stones of Jerusalem, in Banksy’s holy graffiti on the military walls of Palestine.”

“The God I believe in takes a tremendous amount of pleasure when we live our lives with open eyes for his presence,” Pastor says in an interview. “Fundamentally I’m someone who wants to see the beauty of God.”

For more information on "The Face of the Deep," visit pauljpastor.com