I'm back in the world of blogging today. And it also happens to be TMS silver birthday. He old. We celebrated appropriately with a cheeky bit of booze from Waitrose, a bit of Swedish/Danish Crime drama and then some banjo playing. I think he was pleased.
I should also be writing a paper on the 20th Century Catholic Theologian, Karl Rahner and his theological method and especially how he understands Grace and The Trinity. He was part of a great Catholic intellectual, ecclesial and spiritual renewal in the Catholic church which saw a return to the Scriptures, to the early Church Fathers and to the liturgical practices of the early church. One of his greatest concerns was that although Christians seemed to confess the reality of the Triune God in their creeds and in their formal worship, many were essentially 'mere monotheists' when it came to their daily prayer lives and in their personal conceptions of God:
Christians are, in their practical life, almost mere monotheists. We must be willing to admit that, should the doctrine of the Trinity have to be dropped as false, the major part of religious literature could well remain virtually unchanged…One has the feeling that for the catechism of head and heart, the Christian’s idea of the incarnation would not have to change at all if there was no Trinity.
This certainly resonates with me. I often find that in Church contexts when I raise the idea of the importance of the Trinity in our daily lives as Christians people look at me confused, perplexed and sometimes even irritated. There have even been accusations of being "too theological". Yet, if it really is '"All about Jesus" and his grace, in the Christian faith, Rahner argues that the Trinity must be at the centre of everything that we understand about it. It is the central mystery of our faith and our salvation literally depends on it. As Rahner puts it, “grace is not some created sanctifying “quality” produced in a mere casual way by one God.” For Rahner, Grace is the self communication of Godself and God as God truly is: The economic Trinity is the immanent Trinity.
That is the God that is revealed in Christ (in whom the fullness of God was pleased to dwell) is the same God who has existed for eternity. It is not just mere information about God or a practical demonstration of God's love. We receive God.
What does the doctrine of the Trinity actually do to our lives? How does it shape our Christian discipleship, our understanding of Grace, of Christ. Does it?
Despite having studied theology for over 5 years it would seem that I still think of God as this big guy in the sky who kind of morphs into Jesus and the Holy Spirit, depending on my mood. And now and again I make sure we tick the 'Trinity hymn' box on a Sunday morning worship session...