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Center for Action and Contemplation

Unity in Diversity

Friday, March 3, 2017

Trinity: Week 1

Unity in Diversity
Friday, March 3, 2017

In order to be vital and relevant, Christianity must be able to demonstrate a metaphysical core for spirituality and holiness—not merely a behavioral, psychological, or moral philosophy. A Trinitarian metaphysic, a philosophy of the nature of being, provides just such a vibrant and inherent foundation. Trinity is and must be our stable, rooted identity that does not come and go, rise and fall. This is the rock of salvation.

Trinity is rather perfectly mirrored in the three particles of every atom orbiting and cycling around one another—the basic physical building block of the universe. What happens if these atoms are intentionally destabilized? We have a bomb of death and destruction.

In many permutations that have led us to modern individualism, most Christians reversed the original Trinitarian use of the word person—as one who is a dynamic sounding-through—to an autonomous self that is separate and independent.

What would it look like to rebuild on a Trinitarian metaphysic and recreate a full and holistic personhood?

It would start by recognizing that each person is created by God as unique and irreplaceable—one to whom God has transferred and communicated God’s divine image in relationship, and who can, in turn, communicate and reflect that image to other created beings. That is true of each and every one of us. “I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me” (Matthew 25:40).

Most Christians have focused on overcoming the gap between Divine Personhood and human personhood. It largely became a matter of viewing sacraments as magical if you were Catholic or Orthodox or a transactional notion of strong belief or moral behavior if you were Protestant. In either case, there was no inherent capacity for divine union that could be evoked and built upon in our very soul. Thus, it was a very unstable core.

A Trinitarian metaphysic would allow us to create authentic community and unity in diversity and freedom. Look around you: God clearly loves diversity! It is only we who prefer uniformity. Diversity is created and maintained in Trinitarian love. In the beginning, the mystery of God’s goodness began flowing outward. God created things that create themselves in ever-new life forms.

Unity is diversity embraced, protected, and maintained by an infinitely generous love. It takes grace and love and the Spirit to achieve unity. Uniformity can be achieved by coercion, shame, and fear. Unfortunately, most churches have confused uniformity with true spiritual unity for centuries. But church formed in this way is by definition not the church. As Catherine LaCugna says, “The nature of the church should manifest the nature of God.”  She writes:

The doctrine of the Trinity reminds us that in God there is neither hierarchy nor inequality, neither division nor competition, but only unity in love amid diversity. The Christian community is the image or icon of the invisible God when its communitarian life mirrors the inclusivity of divine love. [1]

Gateway to Silence:
God for us, God with us, God in us

[1] Catherine Mowry LaCugna, God For Us: The Trinity and Christian Life (HarperSanFrancisco: 1991), 403.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation (Whitaker House: 2016), 63-64, 75-76; and
The Divine Dance: Exploring the Mystery of Trinity, disc 2 (CAC: 2004), CD, MP3 download.

Image credit:  Möbius Strip (detail), Photograph by David Benbennick, 2005.
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