Trinitarian theology widespread
He replied: “It starts with a recognition of impoverished theology. Eugene Peterson was scheduled to appear at a conference on spiritual formation. I phoned him to ask what he would speak on. ‘Our Trinitarian theology in the evangelical church is thin,’ he said. Until it gets thicker, we’re not going to make much progress in this whole area of spiritual formation. God is in eternal community, a radically other-centered relationship where the Father is always saying, Isn’t my Son something?! The Son’s always saying, Look at the Father. And the Spirit is always saying, Look at Jesus. Until we start pondering the mystery of the Trinity, we won’t have a clue that we’re a million miles from it in terms of community. People need to be overwhelmed by the Trinitarian community.”
Crabb was then asked, “How do you put that in practical terms?”
His reply: “Are you familiar with the word perichoresis? It’s a word fourth-century
monks came up with to help laymen think about the Trinity: peri meaning
“around” and choretic coming from ‘choreography.’ It’s ‘dancing around.’ When (Eugene) Peterson teaches the Trinity, he says to visualize the Trinity having a square dance. Can you hear the rhythm of the Spirit and enter the dance? I think it means God is having a good time. When we understand community like that, we will realize we’re missing something here. ”
This interview was done in 2004. I am encouraged that God is allowing us to be a part of this rediscovery of His Triune nature and that it is something He is doing among many parts of the Body of Christ. I hope this encourages you!
He told a story about how when he was a young seminary student, he and his friends used to go square dancing. Now, he wasn’t a particularly good or confident dancer, so he’d usually start on the sidelines. He’d watch folks as they danced, seeing partners swap, join hands, circle up. But as the dance got faster and faster—as it does—the individuals became almost indistinguishable, a blur of movement and motion. And, he said, at some point a hand would reach out and he’d get yanked in—all of a sudden part of the dancing. He was dancing not because he was particularly good at it, but because he was with those who knew how to dance.
Life with God is like that, he said. God is love and God loves us. Father, Son, and Spirit have existed eternally in a community of love, created the universe at the beginning of time out of that love, and invite us to live our lives in that love.
It was a welcome and needed reminder that love and relationality are what define us.