A long time ago, at a friends’ wedding, one uncle asked me, what did I like about theology (since I told him I was in seminary)? As a Calvinist (at that time–I have already posted on it years back–see here, I answered, “Predestination and The Trinity.”
I could not go a day without mentioning the Holy Trinity, or something about God living in community. In fact, I even did an independent study with a professor on Black Theology and the Trinity. At one point, I did like where I was headed in terms of discussing trinitarian theology. However, I began to feel a deep dissatification with my methodology, which was originally of the narrative theology variety. When I left “Hauerwasianism”, I guess I turned my back on my own black trinitarian project.
I believe that that move (the leaving of the project behind) was temporary. Methodologically speaking, I have found my own voice. Narrative theology, much like narrative interpretation of Scripture, hides presuppositions, and therefore the bodies and context of the person who is narrating. Plus, as one professor pointed out to me, what theologian isn’t formed by story in one way or another.
What brought about this second post of the day on The Trinity? Erin from UNDONE theology posted on how to talk about race and the Trinity.
I find this conversation exciting, for a couple of reasons. Besides going back to my work in the past and revisiting that research, an exploration may help me better connect the two subjects for the academy and church. Talking about the Trinity which is a mystery can be considered an equivalent of talking about race, because on one hand, with the Trinity, we do talk about a person being history with a story, a set of practices, and a culture (the God-man Christ Yeshua) as well as something we can grasp (Revelation, Scripture, Tradition), but at the same time the relationship of the Triune God to the world remains something we can only touch since it is a mystery. Similarly, when discussions of race happen, on one hand, we have definite histories of oppression and hope, real human experiences of discrimination every day, as well as public policies that reflect our racialized views of humanity (affirmative action, torture); on the other hand, when it comes to race, we must realize that race and always has been a social construct, and that what blackness, whiteness, brownness, whatever, always have had changing definitions.
There have been several books that have been influential to my thoughts about the Trinity and race, including Leonardo Boff’s The Trinity and Society as well as Karen Baker-Fletcher’s Dancing With God.
In that vein, I have posted my most recent research on the Trinity and race, a paper presentation given last year in Atlanta, for the National Association for Baptist Professor of Religion (they allow students). It was originally a paper for a Black Political Theologies course, but I added some insights from Patristic theology and early Black Christian thought (the enslaved African church meetings during the time of chattel slavery in the U.S.–17th to 19th century) for the NABPR presentation.
Here is the link from Academia.edu: Social God, Social Teaching, Social Justice
- Sex in The Trinity: A series on William P. Young’s The Shack, Intro (politicaljesus.com)
- The Trinitarian Ethics of Minister Julia J. A. Foote (politicaljesus.com)
- Against Trinitarian Dogma/For Trinitarian Ethics? (politicaljesus.com)