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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Monday, October 13, 2003

Systematics Journal Entry #4

This week, we are considering the Trinity-- for both class sessions, actually. A topic this large, and this vital to Christian thought, understandably requires an extended discussion, and further reading than some other areas.

For the first class session, we read Migliore and LaCugna’s take on trinitarian theology. I found I thoroughly enjoyed both authors. Initially, these two had more in common than I had originally expected. Both were focused on an effort, in Migliore’s words, to “retrieve and re-present the Christian doctrine of the Trinity in a contemporary idiom and in all its revolutionary significance.” (p. 60) Additionally, both authors pounded home the importance of envisioning God through the lens of communal understanding. Migliore’s vision of God as “not the supreme will-to-power over others but the supreme will-to-community in which power and life are shared” dovetails well with LaCugna’s preference for the ontology of “priority of communion of persons over being-in-itself.” (p. 91).

However, from these agreements, the two texts diverge in their approach. Migliore follows with a presentation on how this understanding affects and directs an understanding of election/predestination that I found fascinating; the first time, actually, that I’ve ever heard the topic presented in a manner which didn’t leave me irritated at giving credence to an image of God that was arbitrarily choosing sides. LaCugna, on the other hand, uses the developed themes of God’s personhood and communion to argue against understandings of “complimentarity:” a sort of “separate but equal” doctrine by which some theologians seem to describe not only the Trinity, but then derivatively use to justify a belief in women being naturally subordinate to men. She argues her more egalitarian position persuasively, I think, addressing several of the most common justifications for that position clearly and concisely.


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