...are the ones that make the biggest difference



--We're closing on our house on Friday. They moved the closing date up on us, so the last 2 days have been a mad scramble to get all the insurance taken care of. Even though I was a claims adjuster for a major auto & home insurance agency for a little over a year, I still have no idea why rates vary so much from company to company. One company came back at $735, most right around $500 and the one we went with was at $403 (with the auto policy, which ended up being over $300 less than what we were paying before). I do wonder what the differences in these various businesses are that they can operate on such different income streams and yet still turn a profit. And for the one that came in at $735 - hello? Ever hear of competitive rates?!

--I taught on the Trinity in the youth group last Sunday, which was interesting. I knew it was going to be a dry conversation/lecture, so I made up a game involving bean bags and blindfolds that actually worked out pretty well. Still, I don't know how to take it. The concepts were nothing that the kids had ever really been exposed to before, and very few could even tell me who was in the Trinity, much less what the Trinity was. There wasn't much discussion because the kids didn't seem to know enough to ask any questions or weren't thinking deep enough to generate any. I tried to explain why understanding the doctrine of the Trinity is important, but honestly, I had a hard time putting that into clear arguments for myself. Most arguments seem to tend towards the idea that bad thinking about God will lead to bad activity, which is probably true at some level. But does it really matter to the person in the pew? For the person working a 9 to 5 and trying to put food on the table for his kids - will misunderstanding the doctrine of the Trinity really have a negative impact on his life?

--War, what is it good for? For obvious reasons, war has been popping up on blog conversations all over the place and I'm currently engaged in a minor debate with someone at Radical Congruency over Just War Doctrine. He is both pro-war and anti-JWD, which is something I have never encountered in someone before. Most of the hawkish Christians I've met are very ardent supporters of JWD. His main beef (it appears) is that JWD does not legitimize the use of force to protect innocents in another country. I think he is correct - based solely on humanitarian motives, the war in Iraq was probably not just per the JWD. That is, I think, only one of several problems with JWD, not the least of which is that it doesn't seem to work. I've asked various people at different times to present to me an example from history wherein a sovereign considered war, but ultimately rejected it because it did not meet JWD standards. I'm not wholly a utilitarian and I don't think the efficacy alone of an idea is the standard by which it should be accepted or rejected, but for a doctrine that is meant to have a real impact on real decisions in the real world, it has to factor in somewhere. Can anyone provide me such an example?

--In 2 weeks, I will begin a 3 week series on sex & relationships for the youth group. We have a couple sets of parents who are, perhaps, a bit over-protective and have apparently sat in on this kind of thing before. I'm not sure if they are expecting me to do condom demonstrations or what, but that won't fly with me. An unknown adult will only kill the conversation and discourage honesty from the kids. Prayers for my preparation and for understanding parents are much appreciated.


Anonymous said...

What is JWD?

And prayers for understanding parents, who want their children to gain insight...definitely! mcs

Benedict Seraphim said...

Simply put: if we don't believe in the Trinity, we don't believe in the Christian God. And if we want to believe in the Christian God, we should understand as best we can who that God is.

Otherwise, cash value, the youth will succumb to "philosophers God" arguments in college which will assert that God is such-and-such, when in reality Christianity does not believe that at all (i.e., that God is the greatest being that can be thought, that God is perfectly simple, good, etc.). So when profs disprove the philosophers God Christian students may be unwittingly "tricked" into thinking their own God has been disproved.

Short answer: they need to understand the Trinity so as to know the God who loves them and to safeguard their faith.

Anonymous said...

The thing about the Trinity that hits me the hardest is that it is a picture of eternal community and dependece. We are made in the image of that. The way the Persons relate to each other is a picture of what we should see in our lives as humans in marital, familial, parental and ecclesial settings as we are conformed to the image of God that was lost at the fall. In the Trinity we see the eternal truth of the 2 greatest commandments. The essence of life is being in communion.

So for teens you could relate it to how they see their parents, teachers, boyfriends, girlfriends. How they are beginning to see their place in the world.

Anonymous said...


Congrats on the house, and good luck with the studies--I hope they go well.



Nathan said...

Clifton -

I agree that non-belief in the Trinity is non-belief in the God Incarnated in Christ, but what is the threat of misunderstanding that? You raise a good point about the kids who will be challenged in college - a problem I faced working through a religious studies degree in a state school - and have made it a central goal of my ministry to prepare kids for that kind of challenge. Looking at it from that point of view could help.

Anon -

I hadn't thought about it in terms of reflecting human relationships. With my sex & dating talks coming up, that might be a good way to tie things in so it makes more sense to them. Thanks!

Ted -

Thanks! I hope to run into you some more in the blogosphere.

Karl Thienes said...


You might find Bishop Ware's "The Orthodox Church" Part II interesting regarding the importance of a proper Trinitarian theology of *everything* For example:

"Just as each man is made according to the image of the Trinitarian God, so the Church as a whole is an icon of God the Trinity, reproducing on earth the mystery of unity in diversity. In the Trinity the three are one God, yet each is fully personal; in the Church a multitude of human persons are united in one, yet each preserves his personal diversity unimpaired."