Chapter 4: Using Brand-Name Equipment: The Trinity

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Welcome to this summer’s Lawn Chair Catechism! We’re reading Joe Paprocki’s best-selling book, A Well-Built Faith: A Catholic’s Guide to Knowing and Sharing What We Believe. We’re taking it one chapter at a time all summer long.

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It’s not unusual for us to identify someone as a member of a certain family because of the resemblance they share with their parents and/or siblings. As baptized Catholics, we are members of God’s family. We are made in the image and likeness of God.

The question for us today is, “Do we bear a family resemblance to our Creator?” Of course, we are not talking about a physical resemblance, because God is invisible. However, if we are indeed to bear a resemblance to God, it is important for us to know something about him!

As Christians, the single most important thing that we know about God is that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—the Trinity.

Our contemporary understanding of a mystery is very different than the biblical understanding of mystery. Today, we think of a mystery as something to solve. In the Bible, a mystery is not something to be solved, but something to enter into. We may not fully understand a mystery, but we can know a mystery.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. How would you describe the concept of the Trinity to a non- Christian? To a Christian child?
  2. What does it mean for us to bear a family resemblance to our God?
  3. What does it mean that Catholics do not believe in a supreme being?
  4. What would you say to someone who claims that they can be spiritual but not religious (meaning that they feel they do not need to belong to a worshipping congregation)?
  5. What does it mean to live as a people “in communion with” one another?
  6. Explain the following statement: “Our belief in the Trinity is not an intellectual exercise—it is a relationship.”

Feel free to comment on your own thoughts from this week’s reading, your impressions and reflections, and/or your answers to these questions. You can also share your blog post by linking up below.

Next week, we’ll cover Chapter 5: The Bulldozer: Sin, Salvation, and the Cross of Jesus. For the complete reading schedule and information about this summer’s Lawn Chair Catechism, visit the Lawn Chair Catechism page.

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Copyright 2014 Sarah Reinhard

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2 Comments

  1. I love the statement in question #6…it’s very true! For me, the answer to that was actually part of the reason I started practicing Byzantine spirituality. It has been much easier for me in Eastern spirituality to embrace that concept, whereas when I was Roman Catholic, I often got distracted the intellectual rigor of many of the spiritual practices (i.e. praying the Rosary and trying to meditate on one mystery WHILE praying all the other prayers! I wholeheartedly believe the Rosary bears much relational fruit for many people, but for me, it was always a frustration! Praying the Jesus Prayer works so much better for me!).

    I think for me, icons and the Jesus prayer specifically help me to simplify and thus to focus on the WHO of our spirituality and not to get overly wrapped up in the how and why, even though those are important.

    (On a side note about icons, one of the common misconceptions is that they are theological precepts in pictures and symbols, when in reality, the PRIMARY purpose of an icon is to be a window to the person depicted, to make them actually present. That’s why I say it helps me to focus on the who, but people who mistakenly get overly focused on the “symbolism” in an icon might find it to be an intellectual exercise as well).

  2. I did enjoy the review of the Trinity, with this past week our Pastor also reviewed it as being a conversation / relationship. God Wants to be Involved, and listening for the Holy Spirit is an effort on some days, and yet pops into my life even without me looking for it. God is Good, and reminds me all the time with the Blessings I have surrounding me. Barb B

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