Race and The Holy Trinity?

Life has me on two tracks right now; preparing for our Fall efforts to address race & culture and more immediately preparing for our series about the Holy Spirit.  Yesterday, after reading T.F. Torrance, it occurred to me that our inability to understand and discuss race looks similar to our difficulty in understanding the Holy Trinity.  In both cases the existence of united difference is what boggles the mind.  Now there's a whole world of ontological difference between one god/three persons and humanity as united diversity, but it's interesting to think that appreciating the Trinity might be a theological window for thinking about race*.  God as love is simpler and the commands to love our neighbor as ourselves more direct, but I wonder how to go about unpacking "God is love" in a trinitarian fashion that would yield fruit as we consider race.  I like it more than a simple appeal to the mountain all nations come to to worship God in Revelation because it seems more intertwined, more enmeshed, more shall we say.... perichoretic?
If you have any insights, pass 'em along!

*race as ethnicity/culture/nations, not American biological "race"


  1. Great questions, Erin.

    I have been thinking and re-thinking race and the doctrine of the Trinity as well. No black/womanist theologian I have read has worked with the Trinity and race, except maybe Karen Baker Fletcher, but her book was geared more towards a discussion of suffering and violence than anything.

    I'll see what I can do

  2. Rod, which Baker-Fletcher book are you referring to? In my experience with womanist theology, I haven't come across much discussion on the Trinity. If you want something radical and offensive, you might check out Althaus-Reid's The Queer God. She discusses the Trinity and sexuality in quite explicit ways. Here's a nice quote from her:

    “That is to say, the Trinitarian formula expresses the material reality of the intimate reunion where God is not expected to coincide with Godself. In a time when theology has become preoccupied with issues of diversity and plurality in its discourse, as opposed to the more essentialist assumptions about the so called ‘nature’ of humanity…One can briefly mention here the Feminist theological project in its original enquiry into Christ’s masculinity, the quest for the Black Christ, the Gay Christ and more recently the reflections done by theologians seeking the face of a post-colonial Christ. However, although the theological subject has been and still is queried and rightly destabilised from a prefixed Christian horizon, there have been few if any theological attempts to destabilise God, that is the other partner of the theological dialogical process” (The Queer God, 54).

    I reviewed that book here: http://tinyurl.com/3s4dwty

    It doesn't directly address the question of race and the Trinity but it does try and understand the trinity from a gendered and sexual (i.e. material) vantage.

  3. @JR,

    The book is entitled,

    Dancing with God: The Trinity in Womanist thought, I believe.

  4. Thanks. I'll have to add that to my list.

  5. Erin and Jr,

    Here is my response via blog post, and posting of a paper I did last year.


  6. Thanks for resources! -just got back from a long wknd of wedding, but I had a chance to read your paper; are you a Baptist?
    Likewise, thanks Jeremy. You've opened up some new reading for me.
    I'll try and post up some further thoughts after I gather myself for the week.

  7. Greetings

    On the subject of the Trinity,
    I recommend this video:
    The Human Jesus

    Take a couple of hours to watch it; and prayerfully it will aid you to reconsider "The Trinity"

    Yours In Messiah
    Adam Pastor


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