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

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…]

Trinitarian Spirituality, 6: Two Starting Principles

When Anatolios tells us that there are two fundamental principles that must undergird our explorations of the history around early church Trinitarian thinking, he’s giving us two archaeological ‘findings’. That is, as historians scour the documents of the first centuries of the church, they find two commonalities in all the talk about the Trinity, the [Read More…]

Trinitarian Spirituality, 5: Mystagogy, Event Horizons, and the Nicene Creed

We’re exploring the idea of a Christian spirituality that is more thoroughly grounded in the Trinity, a teaching that is difficult, sometimes cryptic, and all too often inconsequential in actual Christian life and practice. We’re using Khaled Anatolios’ book (Retrieving Nicaea) as our guide, but his book is not primarily a theological study of Trinitarian [Read More…]

Trinitarian Spirituality, 4: A Third Modern Approach

In our travelogue thus far, Anatolios has been laying some groundwork for our understanding of the Trinity by pointing out some very common perspectives that he thinks are defective in some way. (And if you notice, on the right hand column of these posts, there is a menu of earlier posts for your rereading reference.) [Read More…]

Trinitarian Spirituality, 3: Modern Approach #2

If our first contemporary approach to Trinitarian spirituality led to an essential discontinuity between God’s actions and God’s being, this second modern approach does the exact opposite. That is, it conflates God’s action and God’s being, it collapses them into the same thing. But wait, isn’t that what we wanted in our last post? Some [Read More…]

Trinitarian Spirituality, 2: Modern Approach #1

To be a Christian in the Traditional sense means to be Trinitarian. They have always gone together. We have not always had the language we use to describe ourselves as Trinitarian. The word “Trinity” (trinitas) was probably coined by a north African thinker by the name of Tertullian, who was born around A.D. 160. He [Read More…]