Every so often I get to teach the kids at church (K-5) the intro lesson before they head off to their main classes. Okay, "every so often" means when the Trinity rolls around in our sequence of Core Concepts. Here's the 5 minute lesson I taught this time: (1/14)
Core Concept 4 is my favorite! "God eternally exists as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." What I love about this is that even though I know what it means, it reminds me that God is more than I can understand, and greater than I can grasp. (2/14)
"God eternally exists as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit" means that there is only one God, but existing as three persons. This part is easy, because we read in the Bible about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. (3/14)
Since there are three persons in God, we call God the Trinity. God is one being in three persons. Not three Gods: just one. Not one person: three persons. What does that mean, and what is it like? (4/14)
Well, I'm one being who is one person. I'm not a Trinity, just a unity. God is more than I am: he's one being in three persons. Sometimes when I'm alone, I'm lonely, because it's just me by myself. God is more than that: one being, but never lonely. (5/14)
Now try this: here's a group of 3 people [pick out three kids]. But they're not one being. They're three people who are three beings. They're a group, and they can cooperate or play together, but they're never one being. You can replace one of them and still have a group. (6/14)
So God is more 3 than just what I am, and more 1 than what this group is. God is just more! Thinking about one person kind of helps us; and thinking about a group kind of helps us; but we always know that God is more, more, more. (7/14)
Here's the great part: It means that there is more to God than we can ever fully understand, because nothing else is like God. One way to praise God is to ask, "Who is like you, O God?" and to answer, "nothing!" (8/14)
We can think of other things that are a little bit like the Trinity. Maybe you've heard some of them: One egg has a shell, an egg white, and a yolk. Or one apple has a skin, the fruit, and the core. But God doesn't come in parts like that: God is way more. (9/14)
Some people enjoy thinking up these things that are a little like the Trinity, but then they admit they're not much like the Trinity. You know what I enjoy? That last part: admitting that God is more! (10/14)
When you admit that the Trinity is more than just like me, or more than just like a group, you're praising God by giving those ideas up to him and admitting, "God, you are greater and more than anything I can imagine." (11/14)
[An adventurous teacher here could have brought along an egg and an apple and pretend to throw them up in the air to reject them. When I merely suggested it with imaginary eggs, one boy shouted me down.] (12/14)
Here's one more way the Trinity is more than you can imagine. We know God the Father sent God the Son to save us, and that God the Holy Spirit lives in us when we believe. That means God is above us, with us, and in us. The Trinity has us surrounded! (13/14)
That's some of what it means when we say this concept together, "God eternally exists as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." I can't stop thinking about how great the Trinity is. (14/14)
Bonus action shot!
Update: Archived as blog post. fredfredfred.com/2021/11/kids-l…

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More from @FredFredSanders

13 Nov
Father, Son, & Spirit are the almighty God, having the identical divine power & authority over creation. If you take a formal relational structure of power & authority & import it into the life of God, using it to distinguish between Father & Son, you are going to have problems.
The error is especially tempting if you start w/a theology of what sonship is in general in the Bible, and then claim it must apply to the unique Son. Sons are younger than dad, have moms, start out smol, obey, etc. None of these characterize the unique Son.
What does characterize that Son, showing him to be eternal Son of eternal Father, is his generation or begottenness from the Father. He is coequal, coeternal, & coessential, but he is Son: of, from, in a relation of eternal origin. That's the key point of the revelation of "Son."
Read 11 tweets
12 Nov
Question for Reformation scholars. Calvin has a celebrated passage about union with Christ in which (without saying so) he anatomizes the Apostles' Creed and explains how each thing it says of Christ is a source of saving power to us. Here's the 1559 version (II:16.19):
Well, Bullinger makes the same exact move in Decades I:8, a sermon on the creed. He ends that sermon by gathering up and focusing on salvation in Christ, taking up each phrase (Jesus, Christ, Lord, born, etc.) It tracks very close to Calvin & the creed.
My question is, who got it from whom? Here's the hard part (I think): Calvin doesn't yet do it in the 1536 Institutes. He's already got he hook where it should go, but doesn't hang the creedal sequence on it. So it may be a question of versions & revisions.
Read 5 tweets
27 Oct
This is a fantastic Douglass speech, reported from Scotland, 1846. Facing the argument that American slaves "were favoured with religious instruction," Douglass performed "a sketch of a sermon which he had often heard preached." (Bottom half of page) glc.yale.edu/free-church-sc…
His strategy is to take apart the pro-slaver's appeal to Scripture via "mimic solemnity." It's a risky strategy (reverse minstrelsy + tropes useful to infidels), but he has to force a wedge between the Bible & its mis-use. The stenographer records [laughter] over a dozen times.
I would love to have a recording of FD's delivery of lines like "Think of the feelings of that pious master. Oh! it was a trying situation for a servant of the Lord to be placed in." The whole Sam story is a roller coaster ride dependent on lively audience response.
Read 5 tweets
27 Oct
My teaching rotation has me spending the next 2 days in the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (by Himself!) w/our juniors. (If I'm on Twitter at all during this heavy teaching phase of the week, tweets'll skew in that direction. A rich text!)
My notes tell me the the first session I taught on this book in @TorreyHonors was in Feb 2000. Those students are now in their 40s.
Our program has very gradually built on that Douglass reading, and we now cover four texts from the African American tradition. I describe briefly how the 4 texts fit with each other & with our broader project here: scriptoriumdaily.com/four-great-afr…
Read 5 tweets
26 Oct
Athanasius Contra Gentes 46: Christ is not Wisdom & Word by participating in those things (as creatures do); rather, "he is the very Wisdom, very Word, and very own Power of the Father, very Light, very Truth, very Righteousness, very Virtue," etc.
All these "very" constructions are a string of auto-compounds in Greek: autosophia, autologos, autodunamis [idia tou Patros estin], autophos, autoaletheia, autodikaiosune, autoarete. It's like
Latin 'ipse,' and you could translate it "itself." Coolness rating: 100.
Origen did something very similar, even calling Christ the very kingdom, autobasileia (see his comm. on Matt 18). It's a way of talking that likely derives from neoplatonism (Plotinus wrote about autohenosis), but the string of auto-compounds is fully at home in christology.
Read 5 tweets
8 Oct
Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologiae mindmap as tree. From Rijksmuseum, 16th c print Image
It's a very ambitious print, y'all! Here's a look at the bottom left: Image
More detail: Image
Read 5 tweets

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