Monday, November 29, 2004


Neuhaus' online column on First Things rehashes some well-trodden insights into the poverty of Trinitarian discourse and practice in the modern Church. But I still have a problem with the late emphasis on "relationality," which seems to be the only way we moderns can get our heads around the dogma. For one thing, it sounds like a convenient spin-off on object relations theory, which begs the obvious question: so what? Why is the dogma of the Trinity so necessary if its main purpose is to teach us that our individual identities are determined by our relations? The strict monotheistic Hasidic and Orthodox Jews have vibrant communities of relationality (arguably more socially "trinitarian" in practice than Christians) without the unwieldy notion of a Trinitarian God.

My question does not refer to any personal discomfort with the dogma itself. And I've had my share of readings from the renaissance of Trinitarian reflection via Zizioulas, et al. I just think we should ease off on trying to find existential relevance for every supra-rational doctrine the Church professes.