17 December 2009

Speaking of the Trinity

As a people, as followers of God, we believe that God is represented by three distinct beings, even as those three beings are still manifestations of a single entity, YHWH. The three personalities of God, if i may describe this idea as such, are the Father, Jesus, & the Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, as it were.

As believers, this is part of our doctrine. It's my understanding that doctrine exists with purpose. If you believe eggs are divine symbols of purity, wholeness and the direct inspiration of God, then eating them would either be a religious experience or sacrilege. Denny's would either be your temple or your den of iniquity. There cannot be an in between.

So why do we have this view that author and speaker Phyllis Tickle talks of as 'an upside-down triangle?' Check out the image to the right. That's the typical representation of the concept we call the Trinity. Image if it were flipped, to have two spokes on top and one, the Spirit, seeming to trickle from the other two. As Tickle puts it, 'It wasn't long before it became God the Father gave rise to God the Son, who gave rise to God the Holy Spirit, a kind of totem pole or hierarchy in which the Spirit mattered less than did the other two.'

This is reflected in our prayers.

Think back. When did you last pray to 'God' or 'Father' or 'Jesus'? Now, when was the last time the Spirit entered your prayers?

In theory, God is three in One: Father, Son, Spirit. In our language and how we talk about them, they are Father, then Son, then Spirit.

What if, instead, when we talked about God, we used the name appropriate to the conversation.

If you think about your life, your every day life amongst friends and colleagues, you talk with people and refer to them with the appropriate title, the correct name for the occasion. Not having ever met him, it would be ill-advised to greet the President with a hearty 'Barry! Nice to meet you.' Instead, we address him as either Mr. President or President Obama.

Let's look at another example: My friend Tim is an athlete as well as a gamer. If i asked him 'As a gamer, what would you recommend to help me get into shape,' i'm attempting humor. However, if i ask him the same question as an athlete, it becomes an honest question.

In the same manner, when addressing God, or speaking of God, we need to attribute the qualities we speak of to the proper aspect of his character. In coming to an understanding about this, i realized i know very little about the difference between the three persons. Obviously, Jesus saves. Further thinking came up with the Spirit acting as the empowering aspect of God. The Father, well, the Father is the provider, right?

We need to know who it is we speak to. We need to know more about our God and who he is, and we must use that knowledge to direct our language.

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