Friday, January 15, 2010
Answers to a friend's questions
A friend asked me some questions on Facebook, and I want to answer them here, so that Facebook doesn't try and claim some weird rights to them, and because I realized that I haven't really blogged on the trinity for some strange reason (but thought I had)....
Here it is:
I've been meaning to ask you two questions. Your FB post today lends a third:
If you don't mind,"what does it take to be a Unitarian Universalist minister?","What does it mean to be a UU minister?", and now,"What do you know about the Holy Spirit?".
I hope the evicted fellow you were attempting to help is doing well,
1. What's it take:
- A calling
- A decision to answer the call
- Successful completion of an M.Div degree: ~3-5 years in seminary (I'm just finishing at sksm.edu)
- A one year internship in a parish ministry or community ministry setting
- A three month chaplaincy internship
- One needs to pass a preliminary and final review board composed of peers (ministers and lay people in the UU movement)
- And one needs to read this ever-looming pile of books: https://secure2.uua.org/leaders/leadership/ministerialcredentialing/16224.shtml
- Finally, it requires a congregation that sees fit to ordain/bless the minister's ministry
2. To me being a UU minister means that one upholds the 7 unitarian universalist principles, works as a prophetic agent for social justice in multiple arenas, tends to pastoral care needs in a congregation or community, and probably several other things, including sending handwritten "glad you came to visit us" cards to new visitors. :)
3. What do I know about the Holy Spirit? "Knowing" is the realm of epistemology and metaphysics, and in my studies, knowing has turned out to be conflated with believing far too often. As a dyed-in-the-wool universal agnostic who recognizes the ubiquity of metaphor, I come from a school of thought where we must operate within a consensual reality based on reason, extended by faith, whenever truth is impossible to ascertain....
To answer the actual question: from a Unitarian standpoint, I'd say the trinity is a human-made construction of meaning, applied to divinity. As a "Transcendental Trinitarian Unitarian Universalist,"I recognize a model of divinity in which there is a divine whole, undivided into sections. In addition, I also recognize the trinity as a model for understanding the nature of divinity, dividing it into three parts, cognitive handles that may help us grasp the divine in all its complexity and beauty:
Divinity Beyond: Commonly known as "God"--that which is beyond conception, beyond understanding, or even imagination. At one time, we didn't understand the Sun, or the seasons, molecules, or the inside of the human body/mind. As we learn more
Divinity Within: Commonly known as "the Son", but exists within everyone--it involves going deep to find that still small voice of conscience and drive within oneself; and
Divinity Between or Among: Commonly known as the Holy Spirit, which is a connection or glue that holds us together in beloved community--interpersonal communication with a quality more like a caress or kiss than an invasive/phallic communicative endeavor (to put one's words/ideas/psyche into another) or an enveloping/yonic endeavor (to inconsiderately frame another's words/ideas/psyche into one's own structure). I also touch on the Holy Spirit a little in the previous post on John 2.
Those three parts of this trinity can be kind of exemplified by a paper clip turned into a triangle. It's a scalene triangle--the sides aren't all the same length. We're not really sure which side/angle represents the within, beyond, or between. And the edges are curved, meaning there's a little bit of gray-space or overlap between each of the two where they meet. I could elaborate I suppose but I won't. I'm going to bed instead.
4. The evicted fellow is doing pretty crappy actually. He's fully living on the streets now (sleeping on the sidewalk) and took off mid-way through yesterday's Bible Study, leaving his coat and umbrella behind. I had intended to hook him up with some resources, but won't see him again until NEXT Thursday. Unfortunately, he is one of multitudes of people on the streets with mental illness who are unable to participate or navigate within the system--a system which would be nonplussing/stymieing for anyone, really.
lyrics: world wake up today
colors: black, brown, white
mood: long day
agape to all,