Posted by: smstrouse | June 2, 2012

Trinity or Not Trinity: That Is the Question

Oh, what shall we do with Trinity Sunday?  It’s the only day in the church year that celebrates  a theological doctrine.  But doctrine has become somewhat of a dirty word in recent years. We say we want to be about living our faith not agreeing to prescribed dogma.  But here we are.  Shall we do away with the day altogether or ignore it and hope that it’ll just go away?  Or shall we ‘redeem’ the Trinity and claim it for 21st century Christianity?

I’m all for redemption.  Especially when we take away the metaphysical underpinnings of the 4th, 5th, 6th centuries when the creeds were developed.  Modern physics – as much as we’re able to understand that  – takes away the need for wrangling over the ‘substance’ of the Divine.

That leaves us with the freedom to live into the mystery and wonder of our experience of the Divine as both transcendent (wholly awe-some) and immanent (wholly intimate).  The Divine as Creator, as Wisdom, as Spirit – the names are endless.  No need for just three.  The Trinity is just the beginning of our small attempts to comprehend the relationship with and within the Holy One.  Someone described the Trinity as a dance, and that works for me.

So no tortured explanations of water, steam and ice.  No interlocking circles or hierarchical triangles.  And certainly no recitation of the Athanasian Creed’s forty-four lines about substance and persons and who was begotten and who was created and who proceedeth from whom.

Just the mystery.  And the wonder.  And the dance.



  1. I always started with Athanasius. It represented the perfect reductio ad absurdam that exploded all our prescriptive language about explaining God.


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