The Deep in the Burbs Research Project is off to a good start. The team has met twice and is gelling nicely. We’ve been wrestling with the nature and purpose of Spiritual Formation. This week we turn our attention to the Trinity. What is it? Does it matter? How does it relate to spiritual formation?

I have created a series of videos to introduce the conversation. This is the first video in that series. This video provides the basic overview of, what some theologians call, the Social Trinity. (view part 2)

The social Trinity begins with the three persons of the Trinity (as described in the Christian Scriptures) and seeks to understand how the relationship1 between the persons is the very essence2 of life itself. The fancy-schmansy word for this is relational ontology.3 The social Trinity is also known, by some, as the Economic Trinity.  The term economic comes from the Greek word oikos–meaning house. It does not refer to money, as we understand economy, but, rather, refers to the activity of God within the “house” of the created universe. The social–or Economic– Trinity stands in contrast to the traditional view of God as three persons within Godself. This traditional view is known as the Immanent Trinity (immanent means “operating or existing within”) and emphasizes the oneness of God as God relates to the world from outside of creation.

  1. thus the term “social” []
  2. the Greek word for essence can also be translated substance. The discussion of the substance of God–and of all things–is called ontology. Thus, the social Trinity speaks of a relational ontology as opposed to a substance ontology []
  3. Zizioulas is a Greek Orthodox theologian that speaks about this. read a review of his book. Or, view the relational ontology tag for all the related posts. []
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