THE TRINITY AND LENT

THE TRINITY AND LENT

Relational Theology
Lent is often portrayed as a time of giving up something, a time of self-denial. Thus, it becomes a human effort to prepare oneself for the coming of Easter. It attempts to reflect on Jesus’ time in the desert as a time of preparation for His ultimate self-giving. But is this consistent with the life of God who comes as Triune lover of the world? Does the Father prepare for the Son’s entrance into the world by limitation, or does His act express and extend the fullness of God that flows from Him as the source of His giving? I would propose the heart of God is one that creates, restores, and renews—these are acts of gifting called grace. This shapes the life of God and prepares for the divine…
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THE TRINITY AND CREATIVITY – Marty Folsom, PhD

THE TRINITY AND CREATIVITY – Marty Folsom, PhD

Relational Theology
Each week I have my students in Theology 1 write four statements to see the interworking of the Father, Son, Spirit, and the Church. What this does is to see that every doctrine needs to be seen in 4-D to get the depth and interactivity of the Living God with His created creatures to really understand theology. I find some of these synthesis statements, as I call them, to be works of great art and insight. This week’s theme was God the Creator. My student Kathy Berry created this lovely set of statements and told me I could share them with you. 1) The Father is the Master Artisan who envisions the rich diversity and complexity of His creation, permeating every element with love, purpose, and communion. 2) The Son…
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The Humanity of God – Dr Marty Folsom

The Humanity of God – Dr Marty Folsom

Relational Theology
It is easy to think of God as beyond the sphere of daily human life. But we must see God as deeply caring for our human existence. In his essay on the Humanity of God, Karl Barth unpacks why this is so important. Here are some thoughts on the value of seeing that God has absolutely embraced humanity, just as we are! First of all, the God who is the Creator of the Universe has chosen to be human so that we know that the Otherness of God is met in the Person of Jesus who is God for us humans. God likes us well enough to meet us as His own. The distinction of God from us is not the separation of God away from us. The humanity of…
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Intertwined in the Life of the Trinity – Dr. Marty Folsom

Intertwined in the Life of the Trinity – Dr. Marty Folsom

Relational Theology
It is a challenge to find words to make sense of what we mean by sharing God’s life. We talk of union, communion, perichoresis, theosis, participation, mutuality, and a host of other terms. What does that all mean? When I was finishing my Ph.D. in New Zealand, I wrote a song that still captures some thoughts I find helpful. I will comment between verses. INTERTWINED (1992) Intertwined, acting in time, Father, Son and Spirit. You are Triunity, The Person of God, Giving Your life to me I think of the idea of intertwining as a relationship that is unbounded, but can act in each other’s space to make connection. This is significant. God is outside time, yet comes to us in time to connect—we know the God who is for…
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THE TRINITY AND GREY’S ANATOMY – Dr Marty Folsom

THE TRINITY AND GREY’S ANATOMY – Dr Marty Folsom

Relational Theology
I have been watching Grey’s Anatomy, the medical series filmed to explore the history of developing medical interns at a Seattle hospital. I keep wondering what it would look like to have trinitarian theologians develop a teaching hospital that would develop leaders who were committed to the life of God in the world, communities, and the church. The purpose of a hospital is to save lives, meaning the physical bodies of human persons. A hospital is committed to hospitality, creating a place of caring for persons who suffer in some way. A trinitarian hospital could focus on the health of bodies at several levels, the bodies of groups in relationship—the church is a prime example. God so loved the world that he gave His Son. There could be an international…
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THE TRINITY AND REALITY – Dr Marty Folsom

THE TRINITY AND REALITY – Dr Marty Folsom

Relational Theology
One of the objectives of the gospel is to open our understanding of the world beyond our illusions and ignorance. This might be called making contact with reality. It is clear from the history of science, that we often misread reality. We had to learn about the stars to see them as “like our sun” but far away. We had to learn that the sun looks like it goes around the earth, but the opposite is reality. It looks like the earth is flat as we look out the window, but a new point-of-view gives a more faithful understanding of reality. We could pursue this line of discovery about nearly all that we now understand. There is much we do not even begin to understand. Reality is a term for…
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The Trinity and Suicide – Dr Marty Folsom

The Trinity and Suicide – Dr Marty Folsom

Relational Theology
It has been just over a year since I lost a daughter to suicide. Has it mattered that I am a trinitarian theologian in the days that have followed? I have learned that suicide is not a simple human act of a human who has come to the end of their rope. It is also involve a person who is on medication that gets off schedule and has a mental breakdown (as is noted on the bottle). Such was the case with Anlya. I have looked with new eyes to see that there are a spectrum of stories as to why this tragic end becomes an actual moment in time with no hope of turning beck. I have seen that the Triune God cares for the full spectrum of tragedies.…
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The Trinity and a Passion for Intimacy – Dr Marty Folson

The Trinity and a Passion for Intimacy – Dr Marty Folson

Relational Theology
As I reflect on the practice of theology, I find it is often lived in the head or in abstract language. I am discovering for my own life that it is best to engage the Gospel of the Triune God as a quest for restored intimacy. When I use the word intimacy, I mean a relationship that is close, connected, without fear of judgment, mutually open to being honest, and seeking to express love in action even more than words. To say that the mission of Jesus was intended to move a broken relation between God and humanity to a restored loving connection is to say the incarnation was a quest for intimacy. The Holy Spirit was sent to live inside us, to bring the reality of the love of…
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A DIALOG WITH BEN MYERS’ “TWEETING THE TRINITY” #19, #20, #21  Marty Folsom, PhD

A DIALOG WITH BEN MYERS’ “TWEETING THE TRINITY” #19, #20, #21 Marty Folsom, PhD

Relational Theology
This continues a dialog with Ben Myer’s blog post statements 19-21 on how to avoid heresy with the Trinity. UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES OF THE DOCTRINE#19. The canonical principle. OT and NT are a diverse but coherent witness to one God This is true. But we cannot assume that a person is able to go to both testaments and see the nature of the oneness and the threeness without some context for understanding. In the same way, one would not expect someone to be able to see that the sun and the stars are the same thing. One is not intuitively aware that the experience of stars is just one set of lights seen in the night (unknowingly made invisible in the day by the brighter star) and the other light, the…
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A DIALOG WITH BEN MYERS’ “TWEETING THE TRINITY” #16, #17, #18  Marty Folsom, PhD

A DIALOG WITH BEN MYERS’ “TWEETING THE TRINITY” #16, #17, #18 Marty Folsom, PhD

Relational Theology
III. TRINITARIAN THEOLOGY, ANCIENT AND MODERN #16. Ancients: the word "Father" must be stripped of all connotations except mere relation. Moderns: those ancients thought God was male! The debate over the name “Father” is a long standing issue. To say that Father is “Mere” relations is a bit slim, it can also be seen as a proper name for one specific, particular, unrepeatable person.  Jesus came to show us the Father, and that needed some work! It appears that the disciples did not really get who Jesus’ Father was and most theology books tend to be silent on who the Father is as a distinct person who Jesus came to reveal. But that Father sent Jesus to bring us to a reconciled relationship with as the goal of the Incarnation. This…
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