The human race is going through some tough times right now, around in the world, but especially in my home nation, the United States. I’ve been praying – and thinking – and praying, and here’s the best I can come up with: the world at large could learn from the Trinity.
It is possible to be very different people and yet all be equally awesome.
I wish I could show everyone what the Trinity looks like to me, what it means to be three very different persons, yet one God – with no one of the three considering themselves God in solo, no matter how much this truth might annoy theologians who are desperately looking for One Person to worship – and then be properly honored for doing so.
These truths matter. The doctrine of the Trinity is not just something to hit people over the head with. It’s love, a real set of relationships to get lost in and learn from.
In comparison to the Trinity, honestly, getting along with people who just look or think or talk differently from me. That’s child’s play. It isn’t always easy, but it’s measurably less complex.
In the imperialist model of the Trinity – and of life in general, the Father and/or the elite are the cream of the crop. The rest of us simply exist to bring glory and honor to these people, who then deign to share with us from their bounty.
I see this playing out in so many ways in today’s world – and racism is one of many symptoms, along with income disparity. We have this ruling elite and we love them, because we not so secretly wish that we could be them or at least catch some of the crumbs that fall from their table. Occasionally, the elite gets so far out of line that we rebel – and set up new elites, because we Never Freaking Learn.
It’s all a lie, of course. The people at the top of inherited wealth and better opportunities aren’t born better than other human beings. Even if they are smarter or luckier, that doesn’t entitle them to better opportunities for themselves and their children.
The real God, the God I know, gets this. Yes, Jesus said you are greater than Him. I’ve known you long enough, dad, that I know you say the same about him – for dying on a cross, for laying down his life in a hundred ways. He does all of these things in imitation of you, because who wouldn’t want to be you? But you know, he didn’t have to do that. Like far too many people, he could have taken the gift of God and been like cool, and run away to hide it under a bushel somewhere lest anyone find out how awesome this Really Is.
We all say the same thing about each other. It’s called humility. You are the transcendent God, and Jesus is God is with us. Which one is “greater” depends on your perspective. With a single breath, you deconstruct the whole hierarchical game for the ridiculousness that it really is.
If only we could grasp this, we could move on, I think. We could stop trying to grab onto or prop up the idolatry that is our current world system, where we feel like we have to choose between all these false dichotomies, like order and anarchy, meaning the *current* order or no order at all.
Instead, we could brainstorm. We could start from scratch. We could call in experts. I see no path forward that doesn’t involve overhauling systems like accumulated wealth, healthcare, and the justice system. The mental steps toward doing what is right, aren’t that hard. It only gets impossibly difficult in application.
How I do this, mentally, is to pretend for a second that we have NO healthcare system. Let’s rebuild it (mentally) from scratch. What are our real goals? (Healthy people? For *everyone* to have fair access to basic healthcare? For skilled doctors and nurses to be compensated fairly for their skills and time, given all they have done to acquire those skills?) It would be a long list. But once we have the list, what can we do that would accomplish those goals?
Then, what are the hidden goals that people are lying about, that we know to be wrong? Goals like getting as much money as you can, being *better* than other people: ie. driving the nicest cars, getting into the nicest clubs, being #1. Eventually, this house of cards will fall, because there Can Only Be One – and that’s why no one person, no one group, stays One for long. Dystopian novels – and the lessons of history – tell us that skimming off the top never ends well for the skimmers or for the fabric of the society they’re not-so-quietly robbing.
I then mark stuff like that for destruction. People like that may be saved, but stuff like that should not be allowed. Because it causes so much trouble. Because it’s wrong. Because it undermines crucial structures we all need to survive.
In this case, racism is a symptom of a deeper disease. We can all be nicer to each other – but that can only take us so far. We’re still stuck with powerful, highly-motivated systems of unjust wealth and power, with a deeply vested interest in keeping “different” (not my immediate family and friends) people different, putting them in prison, shutting them up, dehumanizing them. Because otherwise it’s one step closer to revealing the deception. I’m not the only one who sees this, right?
There’s a better way than constantly trying to be the one on top – or trying to fight your way toward to always being one of the elite. It’s the way you taught me.
Competition is great. Being beat by someone you really love when you were both doing your best is better still. That’s how you know that you are not alone. (Also, it’s how you learn to do better next time.)
The idea of a world where no one – or only “God” – ever turns out to be better than me at something? Now that really would be hell. For you, dad, if not for me. In this broken, fallen world, I can see that it really is lonely at the top, a loneliness of our own making. No one should ever be alone. People should not be racing to acquire this kind of loneliness for any reason other than to savor victory – to share it with friends, to share it with the universe. You are not alone, dad – and that’s why. You get this. I love you, and I see you, always.
People who think God has to win all the time obviously believe in some other version of God than the Christian one. Which is fine. But let’s not pretend it’s Christian, with all that Christianity implies. Let’s be real.
Why can’t we all love each other? And try to love each other better?
Those are the kinds of fights worth winning and losing, not the kind where everyone loses no matter who wins.
Here on this planet, it’s like the Hunger Games. There are no victors, only survivors. How do you save people who seem literally determined to destroy themselves?
We’ve talked about this many times. I think we need a new plan. We need a new heaven and a new earth. If you don’t do something soon, I may have to put my prayer to you on repeat play. Think how annoying that would be.
Kidding. As you know, dad, I pretty much have had this on repeat play for a while now. I’m here to help, always, but let’s not pretend we’re even touching on the root causes of anything. Save the human race. Die trying. Those are my options.