404 Getting To Know Uncle H

Getting To Know Uncle H

I’ve never been to a family reunion but I’ve talked to others who have. Some families are loud and crazy while others are conservative and formal. However, the one common thread in all the stories has to do with the weird uncle. The one everyone either ignores or avoids.

In some stories the uncle is crazy and obnoxious. Other stories paint the picture of the drunk uncle that sits by the bar, mumbling unintelligibly to anyone in earshot.

In all cases, the uncle is reluctantly invited while hoping he won’t come to the event. Sometimes he shows up and makes a scene that everyone tries to handle quickly and efficiently. Other times he sits quietly in the corner. But like it or not, he’s family so he’s invited.

Here Comes Uncle H!

More often than not, I’ve seen Holy Spirit treated like the drunk uncle in a family reunion. Nobody really gets Him and nobody knows what will set Him off so they ignore Him or avoid Him. When He does come around, everyone is quick to explain His behavior as best they can.

One day I heard a friend refer to Holy Spirit as Uncle H. When she explained the reference to the drunk uncle, I laughed out loud. But giving it more thought, I knew she was on to something.

“the” Holy Spirit

I’ve been intentional in growing my relationship with Holy Spirit and so I’ve been praying directly to Him more often. My whole life I’ve prayed to Jesus and to God; very rarely (if ever) to Holy Spirit.

I’ve often referred to Him as “the” Holy Spirit. I’ve also referred to Him as an “it”. Like He’s some kind of mystical, nebulous force that swirls around for awhile and then floats away.

Using the definite article “the,” just affirmed my distance in interacting with Him. I realized I don’t refer to “the” God or “the” Jesus but I had no problem referring to “the” Holy Spirit. Since then I’ve changed the way I address Him and it feels much more personal. He went from an “it” to a Person.

What’s The Big Deal?

The more time I spend studying my identity in Christ, the more I realize how critical it is that I have a right relationship with Holy Spirit. Jesus said that it was good that He would leave so that Holy Spirit would come to us (John 16:7). He’s the driving force behind the “spirit of adoption” and the “spirit of sonship”. If I don’t understand who He is and my access to Him, I’m going to revert to striving in my own strength.

I don’t know about you but I’m tired of being a hamster on a wheel with my understanding of this truth.

In the next few posts, I’m going to dig deeper into our relationship with Holy Spirit. I’m going to look at what it means to “walk in the spirit,” debunk some myths about the “conviction” of Holy Spirit and dig into my favorite chapter in the entire Bible (Romans 8).

If you’ve had your own questions about Holy Spirit’s work in our lives, I invite you to join me for this series. Let’s ask questions and seek them out from the One, who was left here to give us the answers.

Be honest, have you ever thought of Holy Spirit as the drunk uncle in the church?
How do you perceive Holy Spirit in your life?
 (I’m not talking about theologically, I mean experientially) 


  1. Now I know about Uncle H. Thank you for sharing personal information about him and the message of God.
    Anna Childs recently posted..Sex and Herbs to Boost Man’s Libido

  2. Ouch, that hurt. Thanks, Tony.
    No really, thanks- I needed that.

  3. I used to have this view of the Holy Spirit until I finally understood Ephesians 1.

    By the way, I’m the weird uncle in my family.
    Ricky Anderson recently posted..The Elephant In the Room

  4. Yay! I love Romans! I never thought of him as the drunk uncle, those guys are creepy on many levels. But, you’re right about that nebulous concept… Perhaps because if one wasn’t charismatic and getting anointed and slain, she shouldn’t imply that she was by speaking spiritual things, so the best bet was to leave him out. His work is so present and deeply personal it amazes me, I look forward to seeing the upcoming posts!

    • Most people’s experience seems to be overly emotional, solely intellectual or just a full-out dismissal.

      Hopefully this series will help me and everyone else recognize Him for who He really is and how He works in us!

  5. I can honestly say I’ve never thought of the Holy Spirit as a drunk uncle before.

    I believe my understanding of the Holy Spirit is pretty sound, and I have experience quite a bit of him working in my life. I always see him as the part of God that empowers me to live this Christian walk AND is the one who guides me to do crazy things for God – like walk up to that stranger and pray for them, or speak life into someone, or being prophesying over people. That’s all a part of who He is.
    Jason Vana recently posted..Creating Stories of Change

    • That sounds awesome, Jason. I’ve only really been walking in what you’re talking about for the past few years. I’ve come a long way since then and I know there’s still so much more!

  6. Tony,
    I think a lot people want His power, they are afraid to really explore who He is and what He does. They are afraid they will appear to be Charismatic or Pentecostal. At least that’s what I see from my background. They want to keep Him at arms length.
    LarryTheDeuce recently posted..First Church Year #6

    • I’ve seen a lot of that too, Larry. We’ve done Him a disservice by trying to control Him at best and ignore Him at worst.

      • by this, are you referring to “Speaking in Tongues”…

        Our church strongly believes this…and sometimes my pastor as he is preaching gets a little excited in the spirit and speaks a line of tongues…..it’s awesome…

        the only think that i would say that i might not agree with …is that some “pentecostal” people say that if you don’t speak in tongues than you are NOT filled with the Holy Spirit….

        I really don’t believe that…the bible says that it’s a gift that not everyone has…some speak it and some interpret it….

        that is one misconception at least the latin church has…
        arny recently posted..White Little Building (Part 1)

  7. I haven’t thought of the Holy Spirit as the drunk uncle but I can see your analogy here. I’ve always thought the things that pop in my head to do good for others or things that seem crazy but end up doing things that give glory to Him is the Holy Spirit whispering in my ear.
    Jason recently posted..The subtle twisting of life by your idols

  8. Good words. The youth in our denomination always joked about never bringing a date to church. It was a guarantee there would be some type of uproar from the “crazy drunk uncle.” Then, if you’re lucky, you would have to explain it all away. That was then.

    Now, He goes with me and before me. Many times whispering to my soul, “What in my name are you doing? Please just follow me.”
    Ken Hagerman(The Barba) recently posted..How to Make a Missionary-Octagon Style

  9. Good post, Tony,and I do think you’re onto something in terms of thinking of the Holy Spirit in a more active way in your life. I’ll still refer to him as ‘the’ Holy Spirit though, because I don’t consider ‘Holy Spirit’ to be his name, but to be his role.

    God, the Father. God, the Son. God, the Holy Spirit. One God, three persons, right? Where I think we run into difficulty is assigning names to the different persons of God based on how we interact with them, and the truth is we misunderstand which person of the Godhead that we are actually interacting with.

    For example, if someone just says “I was praying to God”, they are generally referring to God the Father. Unless they say “I was praying to Jesus”, and you realize they are directing their prayers to the Son rather than the Father.

    However, in both of those cases, I think the praying person doesn’t realize that they are actually praying by communicating with the Holy Spirit. Like you said, the Holy Spirit is the “Counselor” — he is present with us, and through the Spirit we have access to the Son and the Father. Much of what we call “God” (his presence, his power, his healing touch, etc.) is actually the Holy Spirit, but we don’t think of it that way.

    Anyhow, I’ll look forward to reading this upcoming series. I get why you would say Holy Spirit rather than the Holy Spirit, but I’ll still use “the” especially when I’m referring to him, like I do with ‘the’ Father and ‘the’ Son. It would be easier if there was a difference between his name and his role, you know what I mean?

    God, the Father.

    Jesus, the Son.

    Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God?

    Good post, Tony.
    dan mcm recently posted..Miracles, Divine Intervention and Tim Tebow

    • I guess part of what I’m trying to say is that, though I might not call the Holy Spirit “Holy Spirit” as I pray, I need to recognize that when I pray and say “God”, I’m actually addressing the Holy Spirit of God.
      dan mcm recently posted..Miracles, Divine Intervention and Tim Tebow

      • I totally get what you’re saying, Dan. By no means am I saying that we need to remove the article to be more accurate in our understanding of Him. It was mostly a way that helped me relate to Him as a Person and not an “it”.

        I love your comment, great thoughts!

  10. The Holy Spirit for me is someone who is aloof and not attainable. I know he’s there…it’s just that he’s a part of the Trinity that I’ve not understood. Perhaps that definite article “the” has something to do with my understanding of who the Holy Spirit is and his role in a believers life.

    I’m looking forward to learning more with this series.
    Thomas Mason recently posted..You’re Not A Disappointment

    • I’ve always felt that same way, Thomas. I’ve always felt like I was grasping at smoke with Him.

      I’m excited to dig into this more and I pray it will be beneficial for all of us.

  11. That is an epically accurate analogy. 🙂
    Jesica recently posted..I’m not a hugger

  12. In my life…Holy Spirit is the mind of Christ. He moves my heart into the presence of Almighty God. Into that holies of holies place…

    Like i said He is the mind of Christ…so in time of great need. (like an car accident we were invovled in a couple weeks ago) he comes and brings comfort and my mind starts to remember every promise of God…even stuff i didn’t even remember i remembered…it just popped up…

    He has also been Power. He is Power. He has sustain my heart and I truly believe it’s the power of Holy Spirit. or Holy Ghost. I truly believes he guards my heart from desireing sin and acting apon it…

    I often pray for the Spirit to move during a bible study I teach at…that he would penetrate the hearts of the young kids and to reveal Jesus…
    Arny recently posted..The TECHnalogous Truth Guest Post Series: Dustin Valencia

    • Good thoughts, Arny. I feel like I have the theological part down but I don’t always see what that means fully in experience.

      For example, I’ve struggled with what it means to “walk in the Spirit” and “live according to the Spirit”. I’m digging into all these references in Romans 8 and I’m going to see what comes out.

      Help me Holy Spirit! 🙂

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