|Me and my beautiful Mum (on a separate occasion)|
Over a couple of glasses of wine yesterday I had a fantastic opportunity I think we should all consider: explaining our theological passions in ways that make sense to folk who don't focus so much of their energy on theological matters. I am really not good at switching gears in this way, finding good images and illustrations - I really wish I was. But my Mum's interest galvanised me, and I had a go at explaining the Triune Hub hypothesis that I have been working on. She asked me a fantastic, albeit somewhat deflating question, what difference does that Triune Hub view really make?
That is the key question. What difference does our theology really make to believers' lives? What underpins our passion?
As I went to bed last night I felt a fresh passion to make the Trinity meaningful, central and important for regular Christians. The earliest Christians had a mutated religious hub that now included God, the risen and exalted Christ and the individuated eschatological-era-inaugurating-and-people-of-God-empowering Holy Spirit held in new natural balance. Three centuries of debate and an institutionalising church meant a stable structure that would keep these three in balance was needed and produced the Triune God. But ever since the first century, the church has had a reconfigured core of Three. A saddening realisation dawned on me as I had explained to my Mum how intertwined religious belief in Yahweh for Jews was with their social lives, eating, their calendars, relationships and society, and how that continued in its new threefold form in Christianity: modern "privatised" Christianity, whatever its religious hub, be it unitarian, trinitarian or whatever, is simply a lot smaller by virtue of its privatisation. In fact, an increasing number of westerners don't even feel a need for a relationship with a transcendental or divine being - they just get on with life and human relationships.
As I have developed my trinitarian views, I can honestly say that my Christian faith has at last stabilised considerably, and I integrate my belief in Father, Son and Spirit personally into my prayer life daily. I've felt a deep sense of responsibility that if this approach is to be adopted and used to contribute a return to more trinitarian church and faith in individual believers' lives, then I have to model it. I can't just write about it (as much as I enjoy doing that).
I recently shared a link to an important article by Fred Santers (my post here, the article here) whose title continues to challenge me: We Actually Don’t Need a Trinitarian Revival. What I think he is driving at though is not so much that we don't need to be articulating our religious, spiritual, and worldviews around the Father, Son and Spirit in a fresh or renewed way or with greater vigour. He's saying we don't need to do it in some radically redefined way. I believe what this article and my chat with my Mum, combined with my own walk of faith, have helped me realise is that there are some psychological obstacles in believers' paths preventing us from allowing the radical first-century shake-up in which our Christian faith originated to be accessible in a non-specialised context.
Very few modern Christian worship songs integrate the Trinity (and when they do, they sometimes try and do something weird, like squash it into Jesus). It is hardly ever preached as a subject (which may be fine), but still, with a disproportionately low reference rate to Father, Son and Holy Spirit, despite New Testament strong insistence to the contrary, the discrepancy remains flagrant. Although I am now far more sympathetic and understanding of fourth-century "Triune-God Advocacy" than I used to be, I still bear this grudge: that some of the complex notions introduced in order to keep the Father, Son and Holy Spirit co-essential and co-central to the faith in the great ecumenical councils may have contributed to making believers, including leaders, wary about a more natural integration of trinitarian thinking into their prayer lives, their worship and their social engagement.
So that's why I think the Triune Hub matters. Thanks Mum!