Posts Tagged ‘trinity’

basketballJesus and the Disciples have just finished a few games of basketball at the temple courts. They absolutely schooled the lunch crowd scribe and pharisee wannabees. Jesus coached (or all comers would have been shut out). They’re toweling off and knocking back Gatorades. Jesus has his eyes closed and appears to be resting or praying.

Nate: So, what’s God like?

Jesus (opening his eyes): Whadyamean?

Nate: You know, the Big Guy, the one you pray to.

Jesus: That’s me. It’s complicated, but it’s not. The Father and I are one.

John: No, Nate’s asking about the Father. What’s he like?

Jesus: Well, when I say ‘Father’ I’m alluding to a greater part of me you can’t comprehend. I am God.

Peter: Yeah, we get that, but you pray. Who are you praying to?

Jesus: I’m getting in touch with the ‘Father’ — the part of me that runs the universe and makes miracles possible. In about 300 years the Nicene Council will settle on the idea of “Trinity.” People still don’t get “I am.” “‘I am (blank),” but no one and no word can fill in the blank. ‘Father’ is the best I can do for you.

Matthew: So, then, you’re like the Father’s hand puppet?

Jesus (shaking his head): I catch your meaning — interesting analogy. Think of it this way: There’s the concrete reality of God, that’s me. There’s the abstract reality of God, that’s the ‘Father’. And there’s the expressed reality of God, that’s love and light. The Spirit of God is love — I’m the example, love is the abstract and grace and understanding are the expressions.

Judas (raising his hand): What’s biology?

Jesus (rolling his eyes, smiling): Later, Judas.  I’ve made it as easy as possible. Follow my example and the rest falls into place. It’ll make people in the future mad, but really, the deal is: live like me. My way is THE way and leads to truth and life and connects you with the greater me you cannot see.

Peter: I’ve had an epiphany! I understand the “I am” thing with Moses. It’s impossible to name the greater part of you we can’t see. Whatever term we use, it’s insufficient — Yahweh, God, Allah, Almighty, Glorious One — as great as they may be, they all fall short. It’s foolish to name what’s beyond naming.

Jesus: Rock, upon that I’ll build my church! The reason I am is so you can see what cannot be seen. I am light. I am love. I am all that matters.

Tr8: Know Jesus. Know ‘I am.’ For non-bible-thumpers, try reading one of the Gospels (Jesus histories) in the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John).

History of Trinity Doctrine

trinityJames and John are watching Jesus as he carves a lifelike dove out of a block of driftwood.

John: John the Baptist told us you were trinitized.

James: Yeah.

Jesus (looking up from his carving): Trinitized?

John: He said you were like a clover with three leaves or water that is also ice and steam. He said you were three in one.

James: Made no sense then and still doesn’t.

Jesus: Hmmm. There’ll be a lot of fights over this in the future. Some people tend to over think stuff. Communion. Baptism. Santa Claus. How long is an angel’s wing? Wait until you hear about Calvinism. I get silly stuff all the time — folks take a bit of truth and follow it to  a ridiculous conclusion. Can I make a rock so big I can’t lift it? Can I tell my mom she’s put on some weight? Why don’t churches always win the lottery? IF you know everything, why put that silly tree in Eden? Whatever you know or think you know about me? I’m bigger.

James: Are you saying we don’t have to understand everything?

Jesus: Absolutely, beware those who have to explain everything. Every honest Christian has to say, ‘I don’t know’ on a bunch of things. Faith is not rationalization. Life is full of paradoxes. Tons of them. It’s like fair and equal — both are good, but they tend to be mutually exclusive. You can’t leave love and sacrifice out of the picture.

John: What was John the Baptist saying, then?

Jesus: It’s like this: All of me that is in this body is me, Jesus. All of me that is in the rest of the universe and is not human is me. All of me that is in you — my love, my thoughts — that’s me, too. Everything created in love is me, everything that is not, is’t me.

James (scratching his head): Well, duh, I get that. I know who you are and that you are here, there and you speak inside me. All good things come from you.

Jesus: I am within you and without you. If someone doesn’t really know me, they can use trinitarian thinking as a mental coat hanger, but it doesn’t really do me justice.

John: Yeah, we know you Jesus. We can almost read your mind. We can channel your grace.

Jesus (smiling): Yes, you do know me. Do as I have taught. If you know me, you know the heart of the Father and possess my spirit. Not complicated.

Tr8: Jesus is the Way to knowing the Mind of God — Love. He’s infinitely beyond us. He is beyond doctrine and orthodoxy and more than Scripture, creeds or confessions can capture.

The Father-Son-Spirit idea the Disciples embraced had tension — life comes from living in the Spirit, who is Christ, who is the Father, who can be known, who is love.

John tells us over and over Jesus said he and the Father were one. According to John, Jesus said he only did what the Father told him to. Jesus believably lived out God’s character before Jews, Greeks, and Romans for about three years. The first church was watching and taking notes.

After Jesus demonstrated the Father’s love, he stuck around a month or so, then, ascended to the Father. According to most creeds, he’s sitting at the right hand as we speak. He left the Spirit to handle things here.

Jesus and the Father upstairs. Spirit downstairs.

These days, I think the Spirit gets ignored a lot. Everyone’s looking upstairs. Wondering about what’s going on up there–what’s God up to? Is Jesus vacuuming heaven with the angels? Are they watching us?

We can’t see because we’re downstairs.

The Spirit is downstairs. With us.

If we’ll tune into the Spirit maybe some really crazy spiritual things could start happening on earth again.

The 1st Century church understood a lot. They followed Jesus and saw his spirit in action — a spirit focused on the Father — and Jesus trained them to be like himself. They could say, “Oh! See that? THAT is SO Jesus!” They knew how to be SO Jesus, too.

In The Acts of the Apostles, one of the things that stands out (and confuses us) is that the Holy Spirit was observable. Paul and Barnabas come back to Jerusalem and tell the home team, “The Gentiles? They’ve got it.”

Got what?

I’m guessing here, but I think they saw people “doing” Jesus. They saw Christ in someone else. They were so familiar with Jesus’ way, truth, and life (John 14:6) they could spot it anywhere. When believers got really good at doing Jesus, wired into the Father’s love, they started to heal, raising folks from the dead, turn bottled water into Sangria, and spoke in tongues (I don’t know what that means, but I know the Disciples saw Jesus do it).

Don’t see much of this today.

Because we don’t have enough faith? No, because we don’t have enough Spirit. We wouldn’t know Jesus if he thumped us on the noggin. I think it’s because we’re all standing around looking upstairs, trying to imagine Jesus, the Father, streets of gold, etc. When the Spirit is here, in the house.

Tr8: Take the slack out of your relationship with the Spirit.