Trinitarian Spirituality, 18: Believing in the Right Direction

  If Athanasius was too big for words—too grand, too dominating, too heroic—Gregory of Nyssa comes as a refreshing change of pace. A married man (meet Mrs. Nyssa, probably named Theosebeia … an option to consider, all you future young parents), a guy devoted to his big brother (St. Basil), and even a man who [Read More...]

Trinitarian Spirituality, 17: Luminosity

  Thus far, our conversation about the Three-in-One God we worship has been pretty much a Two-for-One deal. We have spent a great deal of time examining the nature of the relationship between Jesus and God, between the Father and the Son. And the Spirit? This would be a good time to take a little [Read More...]

Trinitarian Spirituality, 16: On the Incarnation, a New Kind of Christmas Story

  We’ve earlier identified Athanasius as the bulldog of orthodoxy, the one who simply would not let go when it seemed that the entire Christian world was going Arian. You know, Athanasius was probably, as we might say, a piece of work. I don’t see him as the wise and wonderful guru sort, all gentle [Read More...]

Trinitarian Spirituality, 15: God from the Inside Out

Last week we left ourselves with a strange God and a God who is a stranger. Bette Midler’s lyrics could have come straight from a 4th-century Arian! God is watching us God is watching us God is watching us From a distance If Arius, Eusebius, Eunomius, and their comrades had had their way, the Son [Read More...]

Trinitarian Spirituality, 14: Putting Jesus on the “Outside” of God

Is the Son “inside” of God or “outside” of God? This seems to be the heart of the question when we think of Arius’ solution, and those that followed his line of thinking. Arius and his ilk read the gospels and saw the Son sent for us, which is true. At what point, though, was [Read More...]

Trinitarian Spirituality, 13: How Close Is Jesus to the Heart of God?

It all comes back to Jesus. All the goodness, all the blessing, all the wonder – it all comes back to Jesus. But so does all the arguing, all the conflict, all the struggle, all the wrestling – it all comes back to Jesus too. He warned us about the sword he was bringing. The [Read More...]

Trinitarian Spirituality, 12: Creation Spirituality, Human Souls, and the Need for Systems

If I were writing a Harry Potter novel, at this point I think I’d post a picture of Athanasius, waving and winking at you, just to encourage you. I realize that you may not have signed up for such an intense course of study when you decided to follow this series. I do hope and [Read More...]

Trinitarian Spirituality, 11: Riding the Rapids, or the Stream of Orthodox Christianity

If you’ve stuck with this exploration thus far, you’re doing well. I know we’re wrestling with some complicated issues. I wish I were writing a Harry Potter novel instead. (Steven wishes it oh so much more fervently. I can’t even tell you.) But this is what I’m given, and so this is what I can [Read More...]

Trinitarian Spirituality, 10: Suspicions and Semantics

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In our last post, we met some actual characters in the dialogue. Let’s all step back just a moment and widen our lens so we can get a panoramic view. While the Nicene Creed is the heart of our story, the provoking cause of its writing, the actual Council members who wrote it and the [Read More...]

Trinitarian Spirituality, 9: Cast of Characters, Better than a Russian Novel

Inside of the oldest church in Egypt We have a significant cast of characters when we talk about 4th-5th-century controversies. It might be helpful if we first listed them up front, sort of like a Russian novel giving all the main players and their relationships in a list before the story gets started. The interesting [Read More...]

Trinitarian Spirituality, 8: What Makes a Heretic?

The brouhaha began because people wanted to understand, they wanted to explain, they wanted to feel comfortable with mystery. Perfectly understandable. When I teach church history courses, I try to help us all appreciate the value that heretics bring to the table. [Don’t unsubscribe just yet…hang with me.] None of our early thinkers planned to [Read More...]

Trinitarian Spirituality, 7: Before Nicaea

We may wonder why all this Trinitarian fuss arises in the 4th century… 300 years after Christ. Why didn’t they figure all this out long before? I don’t propose to give you 300 years of church history in this post, but let me give you some handles on those years that can help explain why [Read More...]


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