Tag Archives: Trinity

Nomad Interview


Back in the Spring I met up with Tim Nash to explore the whole emerging and fresh expressions of church initiative in the UK, and to explore more deeply my book the Becoming of G-d.  They have made a great podcast out of the discussions and included a book review, so do check this out here.


Jesus, Trinity, Mission & Inclusion in John 4:1-42

Last Wednesday, Jon Oliver, (author and training Ordinand for Pioneer Ministry on placement with Moot) led our Quest Evening, designed to explore biblical texts and open them up as Stanley Hauerwas says to ‘an interpretative community’.  Well we looked at John 4:1-42 and the Samaritan Woman at the well.

This text is always challenging and beautiful.  It expresses the mission of God to blur boundaries of the sacred in the secular, challenging cultural taboos, and gives us a palpable foretaste of the Kingdom of God.

I love it that God seeks out the excluded and the lost, those that are hated within their own cultures.  Why it gives me a hope that someone like me can be acceptable to God with all my faults, insecurities and complexities.  But this time there was more.  The Woman, was exposed to the reality of the Trinity. Christ is present as the Redeemer. Then in verse 23, But the hour is coming and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him.  God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.  Beautifully Jesus finishes off the Samaritans question about the Messiah as coming with the words ‘I am he, the one who is speaking to you’.

So in this encounter, the Woman experiences Jesus as the Redeemer, empowered by the Holy Spirit, in the worship of the Father.  It doesn’t get more Trinitarian than that, with a woman he was not supposed to speak to, and with a people the Jews despises as unclean.  So what does Jesus do – he goes into mission mode, loving them into understanding, and then stays with them for two days – something a Jew was banned from doing.  I love it.  This is the radicalness of Christ and the New Testament.  A radical love that seeks to restore all things into restored relationships.  This is the context of real mission, and it inspires me to keep going when I feel so inadequate and crap so much of the time, in a dysfunctional church and a broken world.  It is the hope of this Jesus that keeps me alive, in this Missio Dei of the Holy Trinity, and the love of the God Human Jesus, that my life has meaning and purpose.  Without this God, I don’t know where I would be….

John Maine & Trinitarian Prayer & Meditation

I have been listening to some of the words of John Maine on Christian Prayer and Meditation, and found these wise words on prayer and the Trinity.

We know from the doctrine of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, that the fullness of God is to be found in our own hearts.  We know that the full life of the Trinity is lived in our hearts.  This means that Jesus Christ dwells in our hearts.  His human consciousness is to be found within each one of us.  And the journey of prayer is simply to find the way to open up our human consciousness to his human consciousness.

We believe that Jesus has sent his Spirit to dwell in our hearts.  In other words the Spirit of God dwells in our hearts.  In the Christian tradition meditating is simply the opening to the Spirit of love, the Spirit of God.

Silence is the essential human prayerful response to the mystery of God.  To the infinity of God.  It is though the mystery of God as a wonderful multifaceted diamond.  When we talk about God, or when we think about God, it is though we are responding to one or other of God’s facets.  But when we are silent, in God’s presence, we respond to the mystery which we call God as a whole, and that omni-dimensionally.  

The wonder of it, is that it is the whole of us that responds to the entirety of the mystery of God.  It is not just our intellect, not just our emotions, not just the religious side of us, or the secular side of us.  Everything that we are, responds to everything that God is.  In absolute harmony and in absolute love.  This is what the experience of Christian prayer is.  Our union with God who is one, how is this possible?  It is possible through the incarnate reality that is Jesus.  God is fully revealed in Jesus, fully present in Jesus.  The love of Jesus has made us one with him, by becoming open in silence to God’s reality.  We become open in wonder, to the reality of God.  We learn to be silent by being content to say our prayer word in humble fidelity.

To tread the spiritual path, we must learn to be silent.  What is required of us, is a journey into profound silence.  Meditation is the way of silence. Silence is important for the Human Spirit to thrive, to give us room to breathe.  Learning to be.  The wonder of it is that in that experience you are completely free.  You need not to be afraid of silence.  We are so unused to silence.  

The Universe is fundamentally relational

I was reading the dissertation of a friend yesterday, and was struck how much science and religion now meet in the area of the relational.  In modernity, everything was solid and seperate, but now in postmodernity and with the outbreak of quantum mechanics, everything has become much more relational.  As my friend Steve Dancause said:

I think that we are witnessing a fundamental shift in what society values as ‘real’, with a heavy emphasis on relationality as the answer.  The philosophers used to say that ‘the real is rational’.  Now they say that ‘the real is relational’.  In fact, Deleuze has pointed out that ‘even the rational is relational’.  Modern science has shown us that particles exist not as absolute entities but as entities defined solely by their relationships to other particles.  People deeply want genuine connection and relationship to ground them and to give them life.  The shift to relational ontologies and epistemologies is interesting because the Church already has such a relational paradigm in the Trinity.  It is ultimately the Trinity that grounds us and gives us life, and the biblical narrative is a narrative that invites us into the divine community of the Trinity.

This is spot on, I could not agree more.  Steve Dancause has made the link between the Holy Trinity, Trinitarian Ecclesiology and the trend towards the relational at a depth I have not thought through before.

His dissertation and interview with me is to be on emergingchurch.info very soon.

Emerging Church Conversation

I have been reflecting a while, why the emerging church sees its international ‘connectivity’ as a ‘conversation’.  It is an approach to relatedness that has much criticism.  However today, I can see how this concept again relates to a Trinitarian informed connectiveness.  Some will know from my two books, that I have hypothesised that there is a deep Trinitarian ecclesiology that lies at the heart of much of what is called the Emerging Church.

This idea about Trinitarian identity and connectivity through conversation came through reading some work by Jane Williams entitled ‘The Fellowship of the Three, Understanding the Trinity Today’.

Christians know, in their heart of hearts, that the doctrine of the Trinity has something to say about how they should live together.  We know that that is our weakest point.  Best not to think too much about it.  But if we really believe that this is the God in whose image we are made, and that our ultimate goal is to participate in this divine life, then it cannot be optional to our life together now.

Some parts of our Christian lives seem more naturally to lend themselves to experiencing the Trinity.  For example, there are times, however few and far between, when our personal prayer does suddenly seem to be taken over by the Holy Spirit praying in us and, for just a moment, we can become aware that we are joining in the conversation that happens constantly all around us, the conversation between Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Most of the time, we cannot hear it or feel it, but it is there.
(Jane Williams, The Fellowship of the Three: exploring the Trinity, (Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2008), 18.

Well it strikes me that there is a deep connection between these ideas of conversation as the togetherness of the Trinity, and the togetherness of the Emerging Church.  It implicitly implies equality, participation, attention to listening, respect, inclusion and love.

So I don’t think this is at all a co-incidence.  For more details on this Trinitarian Ecclesiology see information on my two books:

Emerging & Fresh Expressions of Church (2007)  London: Moot Community Publishing.
The becoming of G-d (2008) Oxford: YTC Press.