(In The Life Of The Church)
The thing i keep getting emailed about (by jamie)
On Trinity Sunday a few weeks ago, I read an excerpt from N.T. Wright about the Trinity. I’ve done this for the past few years, slightly re-editing the selection each time. I’ve continued to edit it because the meaningful content from that section of For All God’s Worth is essentially an entire chapter, which I would never expect a room full of people to be able to focus on as I bumbled through the whole thing. I posted this year’s version of that reading on the liturgy blog a few days after Trinity Sunday (side note: every Monday, I post a setlist blog with all the songs we sang, and every Wednesday, I post a liturgy blog with every word that was read, prayed, etc. in the service), but I wanted to use this week’s newsletter as an opportunity to offer a more complete look into what Wright is saying. So I’m linking to some scans from the book, and if you just want to grab one thing to consider, I’m including a brief excerpt here that goes beyond what I shared a few weeks ago.
So, you can find the pdf here.
And here’s an excerpt:
You see, the doctrine of the Trinity, properly understood, is as much way of saying ‘we don’t know’ as a way of saying ‘we do know’. To say that the true God is Three and One is to recognize that if there is a God then of course we shouldn’t expect him to fit neatly into our little categories. If he did, he wouldn’t be a God at all, merely a god, a god we might perhaps have wanted. The Trinity is not something that the clever theologian comes up with as a result of hours spent in the theological laboratory, after which he or she can return to announce that they’ve got God worked out now, the analysis is complete, and here is God neatly laid out on a slab. The only time they laid God out on a slab he rose again three days afterwards. On the contrary: the doctrine of the Trinity is, if you like, a signpost pointing ahead into the dark, saying: ‘Trust me; follow me; my love will keep you safe.’ Or, perhaps better, the doctrine of the Trinity is a signpost pointing into a light which gets brighter and brighter until we are dazzled and blinded, but which says: ‘Come, and I will make you children of light.’ The doctrine of the Trinity affirms the rightness, the propriety, of speaking intelligently about the true god, while at the same time affirming intelligently that the true God must always transcend our grasp of him, even our most intelligent grasp of him As St Paul says, what matters isn’t so much our knowledge of God as God’s knowledge of us; not, as it were, the god we want but the God who wants us. God help us, we don’t understand ourselves; how can we expect to understand that Self which stands beside our selves like Niagara beside a trickling tap?
All of this leaves me with two questions. First, do we then need to say anything at all? Isn’t it enough just to acknowledge that the whole thing is extremely mysterious and puzzling and leave it at that? Mightn’t we just as well say that god is five and one, or fifteen and one, as that God is Three and One? Second, and most important, what difference does it make in what we please to call ‘the real world’?
These two questions are in fact intimately linked. We can make ‘intelligent’ missiles that can make war on one particular building hundred of miles away, but we don’t have an equivalent one that can make peace. Might that be because we have worshipped the gods of war, but have forgotten about worshipping the prince of peace? We can put a few men on the moon, but the free men who were standing between the Tutsis and the Hutus in Rwanda in 1994 had to be withdrawn for lack of funds and political will. Might that be because we have worshipped the gods of technology, the gods who boost our own national security—the gods we have wanted, in other words—and have forgotten the god who asked Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother?’
You see, what you believe about God makes a difference to the way you respond to this god, and at the same time to the way you are in the world. Let’s look at the options. For most people in the Western world today, the word ‘god’ refers to a distant, remote being. We can’t and don’t know very much about this being. He may or may not have made the world, though if we say he did we have an uncomfortable feeling that the scientists are going to challenge us (despite people like John Polkinghorne in Cambridge, one of the finest scientists of our generation and also a leading Christian theologian). This god may or may not intervene from time to time in the world, though he usually doesn’t. He has, in fact, left us to muddle through as best we can; which usually means looking after our own interests, carving up the world, and perhaps each other, in our own way. The cat’s asleep upstairs, and the mice—and perhaps the rats—are organizing the world downstairs.
That’s why this remote ‘god’ is the god that the Western world decided it wanted in the eighteenth century: a god to be cooly acknowledged for an hour or so on Sunday mornings, and ignored for the other hundred and sixty-seven hours in the week. No wonder, when they did a survey not long ago, the great majority of people in the United Kingdom said they believed in ‘god’, but only a small minority regularly go to church. If that’s what you believe about ‘god’—and it’s what a lot of our society still does believe, including (alas) some within the church—then any sense of worship or religious celebration because a vague ritual, a meaningless noise, which merely makes us feel a bit better about ourselves. Is it any wonder that the rats are eating the dead after yet another massacre, and the dove is still locked up in the ark? Can such a god really be God?
As always, if you want to talk more about this, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Waco Dives - Thursday at noon
Please join us this Thursday for some big time fellowship in the Lord at Taqueria El Mexicano Grille #9. TEMG can be found @ 1420 N. Valley Mills Drive, Waco, TX76710.
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Parishioner of the Week
Meet Our New Pastoral Associate
As the year winds down (academically) the shift of changes are in the air. That means the year of faithful service for One Val (Kilmer) Fisk and Dilan Braddock has come to an end. We are grateful for their leadership and their champion efforts. In light of the changes I'd like to introduce you to one of our new pastoral associates.
why are you in Waco: I'm pursuing my master's degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs at Baylor
best restaurant in Waco: cannot decide between Lula Jane's and World Cup Cafe
book, chapter, or bible verse that has been meaningful to you: East of Eden by John Steinbeck, New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton, John 4, and Isaiah 58
film you like: Rain Man
tv show you like: THE OFFICE
something we’d never know about you: I totally messed up my family's audition for Family Feud
Summer Movie Day with South Waco Community Center
This summer we are showing three movies at UBC, and inviting the summer day camp folks from the SWCC. We would love for you to join us to watch the movie, as we are also inviting the families of the kids to join as well if they can. The first movie day is coming up on Monday, June 18th at 1pm. There will be a sign-up sheet in the lobby for a few people to help out after movie is over with cleaning and resetting the sanctuary. If you have any questions, please email email@example.com.
Work is Worship
Coffee Makers: Shanks
Mug Cleaners: Nelson
Money Counter: Tilson
Welcome Station: Carlson
- Sermon Text: Mark 4:26-34; Ezekiel 17:22-24
- 6/10-25 Thailand Mission Team in Thailand
- 7-14 Trampoline Park Fun Day
- 8-5 Cameron Park Picnic
- SWCC Movie Days @ UBC: 6-18, 7-9, 7-23
If you have a concern or an idea for UBC that you’d like to share with someone that is not on staff, feel free to contact one of our leadership team members.
Chair- Emma Wood: firstname.lastname@example.org
Byron Griffin: email@example.com
Kerri Fisher: Kerri_Fisher@baylor.edu
Adam Winn: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bridget Heins: email@example.com
Jeremy Nance: Jeremy Nance <Jeremy.J.Nance@L3T.com>
Joanna Sowards: firstname.lastname@example.org
Student Position: Samuel Moore: email@example.com
Student Position: Leah Reed: Leah_Reed@baylor.edu
UBC Finance Team
Do you have a question about UBC’s financial affairs? Please feel free to contact any of your finance team members.
JD Newman: JD_Newman@baylor.edu
Hannah Kuhl: HannahKuhl@hotmail.com
Justin Pond: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anna Tilson: Anna_Tilson@jrbt.com
Doug McNamee: email@example.com
UBC HR Team
If you have concerns about staff and would like contact our human resources team, please feel free to email any of the following members.
Rob Engblom: Rob_Engblom@baylor.edu
Ross Van Dyke: Ross_Vandyke@baylor.edu
Jared Gould: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebekah Powell: email@example.com
Kristen Richardson: firstname.lastname@example.org