As I may have mentioned already, thanks to the support of my parish, my rector, and most importantly, my wife, I begin study for a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) degree at The University of the South in Sewanee, TN, two weeks from today. I’ll take two classes a summer for the next four summers and finish off the program with a Project Paper in the 150 page range. I’m excited and nervous all at the same time. The prereading list, as the date looms, has me nervous this morning. The two classes I’m taking this summer are ANGL625: Types of Anglican Theology and CHHT630: An Introduction to Ancient Eastern Christianity. I’ve read 1 of the 2 required books for Anglican Theology (the 2nd is only 89 pages long). I’m currently on page 217 of 504 in the one required text for Eastern Christianity and smack in the middle of the Nestorian Controversy.
I’ll save you the gory details and say this as we prepare for Trinity Sunday: Though a theological construct aimed at helping humanity put words around the vast otherness of God, the Trinity really is THAT important. So important that debate over the minute of each Person has caused split and schism from almost the very beginning. Too many preachers, afraid of looking foolish, shy away from trying to help their people understand the systematic theology that underlies Trinitarian Theology, but the Church is not helped by an ignorant laity. In fact, the vast majority of Church squabbles prior to 1517 were based on one leader’s heretical interpretation of the Trinity gaining traction with the membership.
To be fair, the lessons for Trinity Sunday, Year B don’t give you much to work with in preaching the Trinity, but please, dear reader, don’t ignore its centrality to understanding of God completely. If nothing else, invite your people to spend a few minutes with the Council of Chalcedon where the battle between unity and duality came to a head. A place to start, if you’d like to dive into the depths of the Nestorian battle is the “Definition of the Union of the Divine and Human Natures in the Person of Christ,” Act V of the Council, which can be found in the Book of Common Prayer on page 864.
Yes, the Trinity really is THAT important.