Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Trinity and the Deathly Hallows


In my seminary classes, I am constantly thinking about how to translate theology into metaphors that youth and young adults will connect with. This analogy is too esoteric for youth group, but I had to share it.

In Philosophy today we were talking about the Trinity and how part of the problem is that we have trouble understanding how one God can be Triune (three in one). We often get a diagram that looks like this:

The Father is God, but the Father is not the Son, etc. This gets rather confusing, especially because now we get the idea into our heads that there are four parts because that's what it looks like.

Part of the problem is that when we think about God, we usually have this anthropomorphic (humanish) idea of God. Sort of like Zeus or Thor of or the Old-Guy-with-White-Beard image of God. Then we try to split that guy into three. Which is weird.

So Dr. Soulen gave a metaphor that I was trying to translate into pop culture references, and here's what I came up with:

The Deathly Hallows is made up of the Elder Wand, the Invisibility Cloak, and the Resurrection Stone. Together they are the Deathly Hallows. The Elder Wand by itself isn't the Deathly Hallows, but is still part of the Deathly Hallows. These are three objects that are collectively something else. When Harry had the cloak all those years he experienced part of the Deathly Hallows, but he didn't know the whole picture.

I was walking along Nebraska Ave. today, pondering this, and I joked to myself "Hallows or Horcruxes?" Then it hit me -- Hallows and Horcruxes are opposite ideas. Horcruxes are subtractive - splitting a soul into bits that can't easily be reconciled. Since the 1st Century, we have struggled to with the Trinity because we tend to start with a vague idea of God and split it into three. It feels unnatural.

Hallows are cumulative. The objects together ARE the definition of the Deathly Hallows. Rather than figuring out how to imagine dividing one God into three parts (God/3=Father, Son, Holy Spirit), our definition of God needs to be

Father + Son + Holy Spirit = God

In other words, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit make up our picture of what God is, together. The attributes of each create our definition of God. The Hallows separately are magical objects, but together the have the power to overcome death. Together the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are a God who is everywhere, knows everything, hears everyone, intercedes for us, and knows what it is to be human.

Does this make sense?

Labels: ,

Monday, September 24, 2007

I've got magnets in my belly

One of the more bizarre toy recalls that happened recently involved a very gross safety hazard. Apparently, some of the toys contained powerful magnets, that if swallowed could wreak havoc on a child's intestines. The magnets would pinch together part of the child's insides, tearing or bruising them. Gross.

Sometimes I feel like I have magnets in my belly. Not literally of course. But every year after Camp (or when I used to come home from college), it feels so weird not to be surrounded by friends all the time. Even when I have week like this one where I saw Loretta/Erica, Pam, my College Friends, family, etc, I still end up feeling that lonely pull that wants to connect with people. Instead of my insides getting stuck together, I get stuck on trying to maintain something like that community. The obsessions that ensue can include the Sims, Ben and Jerry's (or other foods), Facebook, texting, etc.

Granted this week was so great socially, that I didn't get as much done at work or school as I should have. Its hard to find a healthy balance. Ugh. Can't we have Camp all year round?

Labels: ,

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

24 Voices, with 24 Hearts

I had an amazing birthday! I preached on Sunday, then had lunch with Andrew R. and Sarah R., then my Grampa and his wife and my uncle came over for dinner. Yesterday (my actual birthday), I had lunch with Grama and Grampa Shitama, went shopping with Marti, and then had dinner with Marti, Jen, Rich, and Bryna. And on Friday I'm getting together with Loretta and Erica!

Anyway, of course my birthday calls for a reflective blog about the last year and the coming year... Some of you know that last year I decided my theme song was (appropriately) "23" by Jimmy Eat World. I made the lyrics Amazing still it seems/ I'll be 23/ I won't always love what I'll never have/ I won't always live in my regret. My goal for the year was to become content with my life, and... it actually happened! I'll have to attribute that to God, but I love my life and my job(s) and my friends and even living at home.

By the end of the year, though, another quote from that song started knocking around in my head. You'll sit alone forever/ if you wait for the right time/ what are you hoping for? I thought of these lines mostly because I was almost 24 and people were starting to ask questions about what I'm going to do long-term and when I'm going to start working on getting married, etc. Well, after a brief but violent internal crisis, I realized that (duh) God has placed me in a really good place right now, and I can trust God to continue to throw me in the right direction. All I have to do is be open to the opportunities.

Which brings me to my new song for the year, "Twenty-four" by Switchfoot. I'm so uncreative. But I really like the song and think it is appropriate. I have so many different things that I want to do in my life (and in the next few years), and there's a temptation to become really scattered and try to chase after different things I want. But as I said, I think God is leading me into new possibilities and I'm going along as God knits them together. I think this is going to be a really good year!

You're raising these 24 voices
with 24 hearts
and all of my symphonies in 24 parts
but I want to be one today
centered and true
I'm singing "spirit take me up in arms with you"