#2: Open to God, open to the world #TaylorTuesdays


The Holy Spirit is that power which opens eyes that are closed, hearts that are unaware and minds that shrink from too much reality. If one is open towards God, one is open also to the beauty of the world, to the truth of ideas, and the pain of disappointment and deformity.

If one is closed up against being hurt, or blind towards ones fellow-men, one is inevitably shut off from God also. One cannot choose to be open in one direction and closed in another. Vision and vulnerability go together. Insensitivity also is an all-rounder.

If for one reason or another we refuse really to see another person, we become incapable of sensing the presence of God.

The Go-Between God p.19

How do you open yourself to God’s world?

For J.V. Taylor, to be open to the Holy Spirit means to be open to the world in which that same Spirit is at work.

We can’t close ourselves off, either from the world or from other people, if we are on a journey of becoming more open to God. We must be open to both the beauty and truth… and the pain and disappointment that comes from becoming emotionally open to others.

According to Taylor, we must open ourselves up to:

  1. The Beauty of the World – the beauty of creation and creativity and art expressed by others.
  2. The Truth of Ideas – the ideas and philosophies in the culture around us.
  3. The Pain of Others – the injustice, suffering and brokenness of those we know and those we don’t.


Some questions to ponder:

  • What prevents you from letting your guard down and being fully open to God’s world and those in it?
  • How can you actively open yourself up to the beauty of God’s world, and the most recent ‘big ideas’ in our culture?
  • How can you take time to actively seek to be open to the pain (and the joys) of others?


What do you think? Join in the conversation by leaving a comment.

Each Tuesday we’re posting a quote from John V. Taylor with some thoughts and questions for reflection. John (or J.V.) Taylor (1914 – 2001) was the General Secretary of the Church Missionary Society, and Bishop of Winchester, and wrote several seminal books on theology of mission, including The Go-Between God: The Holy Spirit and the Christian Mission and The Primal Vision: Christian Presence Amid African Religion. Find all the Taylor Tuesdays posts here.
About the author: James Henley
James Henley
James has been with The Lab since 2007 and leads our team. He's an ordained pioneer minister in the Church in Wales.