Divine multiplicity

Once I started reading up on the third Person of the Trinity, I discovered how many theologians were ahead of me. The feminine pronoun is not as important to all of them as it is to me, but the idea of divine multiplicity is—the idea that one God can answer to more than one name and assume more than one form. Even if Christians will not go higher than three, the case is made: unity expresses itself in diversity. The One who comes to us in more than one way is free to surprise us in all kinds of ways. This is especially meaningful to people like me, who mean to hang on to our singular Christian identity with one hand and our love of many neighbors with the other. Within the community of the Trinity, the one and the many do not cancel each other out. They lean toward one another in eternally circling, mutually inclusive love. That is the image in which the rest of us are made.

I will never figure this out, but that is good news, not bad. To walk the way of sacred unknowing is to remember that our best ways of thinking and speaking about God are provisional. They are always in process—reflecting our limited perspectives, responding to our particular lives and times, relating us to our ancestors in the faith even as they flow out toward the God who remains free to act in ways that confound us. If our ways of thinking and speaking of God are not at least that fluid, then they are not really theologies but theolatries—things we worship instead of God, because we cannot get God to hold still long enough to pin God down.

– from “Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others” by Barbara Brown Taylor – HarperOne