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McKenna
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[Haha can you see a theme here?

 

I wanted to bring up a couple beliefs that are central to "orthodox" Christianity and ask how you guys thought they could be incorporated into Progressive Christianity, or if you think they even should be.]

 

With that said, what do you think? Is there a way to understand the Trinity that can deepen our understanding of God? Or is it merely an outdated theological concept that has no meaning for people today?

 

:)

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This will be predictable. However, there is a difference between the 'doctrine' of the Trinity and what was initially meant by referring to God in various humanistic ways.

 

I think you may be right, although I'm still collecting my thoughts on the matter...I don't personally find the Trinity entirely irrelevant. That is something that has evolved in my thinking - I was originally a strict unitarian.

 

Could you expand on your thoughts? :P:)

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I have the (sort of) disquieting experience of being a unitarian by conviction and belonging to a trinitarian denomination. I have found, though, that many (not all) of the members of the last three such congregations I have belonged to don't seem to mind that much, and none of the clergy have criticized me for my position. But because I started out as a trinitarian I still find much of the language (particularly in hymns) effective, and sometimes deeply moving.

 

That said, I think that all of the characteristics describing the "three persons" of the trinity are important and can even be thought of a parts of God, I just don't think that they describe a "triune God." In particular, though I think of Jesus of Nazareth, and his life and ministry, as making demands on my actions, I don't think he was part of some supreme being combination. If I try, I can make the trinitarian language work, but I no longer think it is worth the effort.

 

However, I do think that many progressive Christians are trinitarian, but I suspect (hope, actually) that they are willing to count unitarians as being co-religionists. Also, I think if the concept works and brings people into good relationships with one another, then it is certainly not outdated or irrelevant.

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I have never been able to understand the whole 3 in 1 thing. I finally found the freedom to dismiss the concept entirely. Understanding that it is NOT a biblical concept, studying the history of how it came to be, and realizing it doesn't make sense because it is nonsensical I threw it out. Instead I am a unitarian although I belong to denomination that talks about God as three in one. Because of their openness I'm free to be a unitarian I simpl skip the parts in liturgy and hymns which take on a trinitarian view point.

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[Haha can you see a theme here?

 

I wanted to bring up a couple beliefs that are central to "orthodox" Christianity and ask how you guys thought they could be incorporated into Progressive Christianity, or if you think they even should be.]

 

With that said, what do you think? Is there a way to understand the Trinity that can deepen our understanding of God? Or is it merely an outdated theological concept that has no meaning for people today?

 

:)

Dear McKenna,

The Trinity is a theological doctrine fully derived from Scriptural language and references, as well as

real world evidences, which provide the sufficient Christian explaination of the attributes of God.

 

However, if one's critique claims Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not who Scripture and the Universe claim,

the Triune concept would have no meaning and one may ignore the doctrine and Scripture at will.

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WHEN I LOOK UP, I SEE MYSELF LOOKING DOWN

 

Remember my prayer to the five directions?

 

The Spirit of GOD is upon you, when you in the Spirit see in Spirit Heaven is available and at hand if only more people would be willing to do their work for good and for GOD.

 

And you will know them by their fruits...

 

Who will you know? The Children of GOD and Love!

 

GOD is in the universe, a spirit

You are filled with the spirit of Good or Evil

Good for GOD and You are triune - Helping Others is the result

 

GOD Bless us ALL,

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I have the (sort of) disquieting experience of being a unitarian by conviction and belonging to a trinitarian denomination. I have found, though, that many (not all) of the members of the last three such congregations I have belonged to don't seem to mind that much, and none of the clergy have criticized me for my position. But because I started out as a trinitarian I still find much of the language (particularly in hymns) effective, and sometimes deeply moving.

 

That said, I think that all of the characteristics describing the "three persons" of the trinity are important and can even be thought of a parts of God, I just don't think that they describe a "triune God." In particular, though I think of Jesus of Nazareth, and his life and ministry, as making demands on my actions, I don't think he was part of some supreme being combination. If I try, I can make the trinitarian language work, but I no longer think it is worth the effort.

 

However, I do think that many progressive Christians are trinitarian, but I suspect (hope, actually) that they are willing to count unitarians as being co-religionists. Also, I think if the concept works and brings people into good relationships with one another, then it is certainly not outdated or irrelevant.

 

Thanks for your thoughts! :)

 

I would agree with you in that I think the "three persons" language can be thought of as "parts of God." I do not find any relevance in the idea of a "triune God," personally. Rather, I take the idea rather metaphorically, and think of the Trinity in terms of three ways to address God, to experience God, to see God. I can think of it as a koan, perhaps. I can think of it as "the way I think about and understand God." But I cannot believe in the Trinity as a literal truth, as if God was actually divided into three pieces, because it is an irrational belief - I do not mean that disparagingly (I am perfectly fine with someone believing in a literal triune God), it's simply a fact - rationally, logically, 3 does not equal 1, and so for me trying to force myself to believe that doesn't get me anywhere, it doesn't do anything for me spiritually. Taking it metaphorically does.

 

Does that make any sense...? Is that at all similar to what you were trying to say?

 

I hope right alongside you that Progressive Christians are openminded enough that Trinitarians and Unitarians (and the sort-of-in-between-people like me) can all have fellowship together and worship together.

 

I have never been able to understand the whole 3 in 1 thing. I finally found the freedom to dismiss the concept entirely. Understanding that it is NOT a biblical concept, studying the history of how it came to be, and realizing it doesn't make sense because it is nonsensical I threw it out. Instead I am a unitarian although I belong to denomination that talks about God as three in one. Because of their openness I'm free to be a unitarian I simpl skip the parts in liturgy and hymns which take on a trinitarian view point.

 

I'm glad you've found what works for you :)

 

I think I've had the opposite journey - I started out a strict unitarian who knew the history and all that, but I've drifted closer to trinitarianism as I've found more relevance for the concept in my personal life. I like the concept, it speaks to me, though not as a literal 3-in-1 thing, just as different ways of understanding the One magnificent God.

 

WHEN I LOOK UP, I SEE MYSELF LOOKING DOWN

 

Remember my prayer to the five directions?

 

The Spirit of GOD is upon you, when you in the Spirit see in Spirit Heaven is available and at hand if only more people would be willing to do their work for good and for GOD.

 

And you will know them by their fruits...

 

Who will you know? The Children of GOD and Love!

 

GOD is in the universe, a spirit

You are filled with the spirit of Good or Evil

Good for GOD and You are triune - Helping Others is the result

 

GOD Bless us ALL,

 

God bless all indeed! :)

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I love thinking about the Trinity. I feel it is our yin yang symbol. The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost is the Christian symbol for God from which the universe emanates, has its growth, realizes pure consciousness and merges in the end. I feel when the Holy Trinity is in equilibrium it transcends the limitations of time; past, present and future. But when the equilibrium is disturbed, each principle of the Holy Trinity has the opportunity to express itself. This is the emergence of being from non-being or what we refer to as creation. In creation there is still oneness, but the awareness of this oneness in all things becomes lost in the individual awareness of the parts. God, the Father is used in the pervasive sense that is the pure consciousness that is all pervading and as Christians, we say God is all knowing because he is all pervading. The Witnessing Consciousness, God the Father is everywhere, He lies quiescent in every entity; therefore, He is all seeing and all pervading. In my model God the Father is the ocean of pure consciousness and in this ocean of pure consciousness, God the Father allows the Holy Spirit, or the Holy Ghost, the second part of the Trinity as you may call it, to operate.

 

In the beginning, if there was only God, who was He talking to when he said, "Let there be light?" Pure consciousness or God was talking to the operative principle, the Holy Ghost, the second person of the Trinity. He was saying let creation manifest. The primordial waters talked about in Genesis have no shape or form so in the beginning, when "all lands were sea," the void is nothing but an ocean of pure consciousness. This void is everything; it is a time before the emergence of the conscious mind and being. In my view God the Father is an undivided and indivisible Whole, a pure consciousness that fills all time and permeates all space. This makes our purpose not to find God, but to realize God's presence and to understand that this all pervading consciousness is always with us. Life flows up from the inside where the Divine Presence is springing up from within us. When we realize this, we recognize that this all-pervading consciousness is responding to us from every person, thing or event that transpires. The Divine Presence is everywhere so I must awaken to the realization of this Presence.

 

The Son is the third part who regains the all-pervading consciousness by sacrificing the physical life for the spiritual life. In Reality the infinite is undivided. It is one, but it has the ability to be infinite and finite. This is God the Son, the Christ consciousness in the finite that brings us back to life. In the first phase of evolution, the pure consciousness manifests itself in creation. God the Son starts the second phase of evolution by intentionally becoming subject to the limits of space and time so the Son's distinction from the Father starts the second phase of evolution.

 

The Trinity is just another way to explain duality in the unity of oneness and oneness in duality.

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One of my issues with the trinity is that there are so many metaphors for God to actually be found in the bible. Unfortunately, many are stuck on the trinity to the exclusion of all the rest. For conservatives/fundamentalists it has become *the* way of understanding God.

 

True. For me personally though I do not have a problem with focusing primarily on the Trinity as the "main" Christian image of God, as long as other biblical metaphors (and other ways of looking at God) are acknowledged. (In the same way, I have no problem with the "Son" metaphor being used for Jesus as long as all the other metaphors are acknowledged as well.) It does not make sense to me to take one metaphor literally while ignoring the others (i.e. all the places in the Bible that refer to God in ways that can be interpreted as Trinitarian being taken literally, while those that call God by other names - i.e. feminine images - are interpreted only metaphorically). I don't think there's as much a danger of that in Progressive Christianity, although I could be wrong.

 

Anyway, like I said before, I like the image of the Trinity and find it meaningful, but I do not take it literally ("God IS this way and there is no other way of looking at Him because this is the only right way"), so I have no problem with describing God in other ways as well.

 

Still, I can understand where you're coming from - yours is a valid concern.

 

I love thinking about the Trinity. I feel it is our yin yang symbol.

 

This makes our purpose not to find God, but to realize God's presence and to understand that this all pervading consciousness is always with us.

 

Thanks for the reply, Soma :) I don't think I agree with everything in your post, but the above quotes jumped out at me, and they're both something I can definitely relate to/agree with :)

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[Haha can you see a theme here?

 

I wanted to bring up a couple beliefs that are central to "orthodox" Christianity and ask how you guys thought they could be incorporated into Progressive Christianity, or if you think they even should be.]

 

With that said, what do you think? Is there a way to understand the Trinity that can deepen our understanding of God? Or is it merely an outdated theological concept that has no meaning for people today?

 

:)

Dear McKenna,

So by now I hope you have read enough on the Trinity to realize "Progressive" Christianity has no doctrine sustaining it; and for progressives adopting anything orthodox is incomprehensible.

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The Trinity a triune organization, a group of crosses, cursed as the innocent is convicted by lies.

 

The Curse the Cross and the Lie...

 

Are you a Slave to Religion?

 

A lie from beginning to end, open the covers read and think and know the truth.

 

Satan; The miricale birth; The death on the cross...

 

The build up to the end, life after crucifixion...

 

A Double minded people...

 

Two paths and the path that you choose,

One leads to heaven and eternal life

One leads to death and follows the lie into oblivion

 

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Dear Minsocal,

:lol:

I love your parodies.

Now if you had only provided an answer to McKenna's question the following posts: #'s 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, were unable to, your statement could be more than 'irrelevant', too.

 

I added 11 because it had presented the Trinity in the form of an impersonal eastern mystical symbol no more substantial than 'yin yang'. This may or not be what McKenna had difficulty with, but while she connected she expressed that there was certainly something she could not accept about 11.

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Dear McKenna,

So by now I hope you have read enough on the Trinity to realize "Progressive" Christianity has no doctrine sustaining it[/b]; and for progressives adopting anything orthodox is incomprehensible.

 

You assumed to speak for all of Progressive Christianity. An oxymoron. You seem to have a severe problem with necessary and sufficient conditions. As I noted elsewhwere, you would not hear from me unless you continue to impose your "doctrine" as absolute. This thread is not about doctrine.

Edited by minsocal
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You assumed to speak for all of Progressive Christianity. An oxymoron. You seem to have a severe problem with necessary and sufficient conditions. As I noted elsewhwere, you would not hear from me unless you continue to impose your "doctrine" as absolute. This thread is not about doctrine.

"I wanted to bring up a couple beliefs that are central to "orthodox" Christianity and ask how you guys thought they could be incorporated into Progressive Christianity, or if you think they even should be." -McKenna

 

Dear McKenna,

You started this thread in hopes it could be a source for understanding 'if' the doctrinal orthodox belief of the Trinity has a place in the progressive belief system.

In my initial post I stated the 'orthodox' position (the starting point), simply followed by 'if' what is typically the progressive position of inerrant Scripture and the Trinity is true the orthodox belief cannot be incorporated (the destination).

 

To date, the comments have accomodated me by their disavowing the Trinity by way of their context; therefore believing, in this case, the Trinity cannot be incorporated into what the bloggers understand the system of progressive christianity to be. Even though it has not been stated in such a fashion, no one has even intimated that the orthodox Trinity can be adopted.

By my finding 'progressive' christianity as having none of its own doctrinal beliefs to sustain the Trinity and for progressives to adopt anything orthodox is incomprehensible, it is somehow being deciphered as a criticism of progressive doctrine with the imposition of another. It is no more a critical imposition than when it is written the orthodox position is of believing in an infinite-personal triune Godhead and adopting anything 'progressive' is incomprehensible.

 

The real complaint is not whether it is true or not, but that a 'conservative' has said it.

 

I hope that may prove to be profitable.

 

God's Grace to you,

 

Dk

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"I wanted to bring up a couple beliefs that are central to "orthodox" Christianity and ask how you guys thought they could be incorporated into Progressive Christianity, or if you think they even should be." -McKenna

 

Dear McKenna,

You started this thread in hopes it could be a source for understanding 'if' the doctrinal orthodox belief of the Trinity has a place in the progressive belief system.

In my initial post I stated the 'orthodox' position (the starting point), simply followed by 'if' what is typically the progressive position of inerrant Scripture and the Trinity is true the orthodox belief cannot be incorporated (the destination).

 

To date, the comments have accomodated me by their disavowing the Trinity by way of their context; therefore believing, in this case, the Trinity cannot be incorporated into what the bloggers understand the system of progressive christianity to be. Even though it has not been stated in such a fashion, no one has even intimated that the orthodox Trinity can be adopted.

By my finding 'progressive' christianity as having none of its own doctrinal beliefs to sustain the Trinity and for progressives to adopt anything orthodox is incomprehensible, it is somehow being deciphered as a criticism of progressive doctrine with the imposition of another. It is no more a critical imposition than when it is written the orthodox position is of believing in an infinite-personal triune Godhead and adopting anything 'progressive' is incomprehensible.

 

The real complaint is not whether it is true or not, but that a 'conservative' has said it.

 

I hope that may prove to be profitable.

 

God's Grace to you,

 

Dk

 

I see where you're coming from. I don't, however, think the idea of the Trinity needs to be thrown out entirely by Progressive Christians, unless they want to (which clearly some do). I think it can be understood in a metaphorical sense, at least that's how I interpret it.

 

But you're right, I don't think a literal belief in a triune God really works for very many Progressive Christians, although I am sure there are some out there. (Like I said on this or another thread - we're a motley bunch :))

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My reading of the literature indicates that the doctrine of the Trinty cannot be supported by Bibical references - it is a social construct.

 

The problem, in a nutshell, as far as I understand such things, was that there was a problem of deciding if Jesus was God or human. If Jesus was God then it meant his life and death could not be an example to humanity - we are not gods so His atoning death meant little if anything. If Jesus was man then he was little more than some martyr - and there was enough to go around. So it was decided that Jesus was both God and man. But then someone pointed out something called the Holy Spirit. Oh well - that can get shoveled into the mix - and there we have it - the Trinity.

 

Sorry to be so flippant but the whole Trinity thing reeks of beaucratic manipulation.

 

I rather, Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It seems to me the whole trinity thing is just a mental contruct of human minds. Perhaps one will go beyond mind and catch a glimpse that God is One and there are no parts in reality to explain. Just something to consider.

 

Love,

Joseph

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The diversity of thought on this concept is really fascinating!

 

I come from a family of ministers (mostly presby), and I've never quite understood their rigid preoccupation with this concept as a religious belief; however, I have to admit that rather like the concept of the Trinity.

 

For me it is valid in both concrete and metaphorical terms.

 

Concrete:

 

Father (God the Father or God the Creator), Son (Jesus or the Christ), and Holy Spirit (God or Jesus the eternal all-pervasive or "where one or more are gathered..." or God/Jesus spiritual presence with us)

 

These are variations that I was taught growing up in the Presbyterian Church USA. I rather like the concept of the Trinity. For me, it has never been in the category of 'religious belief' per se. It adds a layer to help me understand the nature of Jesus' and our relationship to God. It provides a richer context than just some God out there and some human down here.

 

Metaphorical:

 

This is where it gets even more interesting for me. I really think there is something fundamental about this concept. There are a few ways that I play with this concept.

 

1.) Cause, Effect, and the relationship between the two.

 

2.) Soul Pattern, Manifestation of Soul in physical form, Communal Nature of Soul.

 

3.) Creator, Creation, and the common essence of the two. The Holy Spirit aspect in this metaphor is that the essence of the Creator is in all of its Creation.

 

4.) A variation of #2 and #3 is Source, Life, and the Universal Energy.

 

Now, just because I've found meaningful metaphors in the Trinity doesn't mean that I reject the Father, Son, Holy Spirit tradition. It serves as the model for all the metaphors. It is a powerful and historical manifestation of this universal truth. Jesus fully realized this pattern in his own life. I believe he has called us to do the same. Amen!

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