Posts Tagged ‘perichoresis’

In my third year of InterVarsity staff, the New York / New Jersey region required all new staff to finish their three-year training by developing a thesis of sorts. This study would then be the basis of a specialty for speaking to students on campus. Most picked typical themes for a general college audience such as multi-ethnicity, social justice, and gender roles. The work of my colleagues represented everything that made me proud to be part of InterVarsity.

Given my background in science, I thought it important to use my experience to further discussion of these issues. Dr. Sagan’s basic premise for critical thinking and how we learn was outlined in Demon Haunted World as being “wonder” and “skepticism”. This epistemolgy (how we know what is true) was deliberately meant to image “chance” and “necessity” as basic to his evolutionary understanding of science and the nature of the “Cosmos”.

Previously, I had read dozens of books across the spectrum of Christian understanding. It was a tortuous process in which I rejected view after view for various reasons. Finally, through this project, I would find a theologian who made sense of the science and faith chaos for me. But more on that in a moment… (more…)

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So let me introduce you to Perichoretic Theosis!

Early Christians wrestled to find language that would describe their experience of the triune God working in Christ through the Spirit. Quite often they would chose a word with weak meaning and fill it, or create an entirely new word.

One such word creation was “perichoresis” which quite literally means “to dance around”. Early theologians wished to convey that the Father and the Son and the Spirit not only embrace each other; but also enter into each other, permeate each other, and dwell in each other. One in being, and yet also eternally one in the intimacy of their relationship.

So what contribution does “theosis” add to the mix?

Greek Orthodox Christians use the word “theosis” to describe our spiritual pilgrimage. From the moment of baptism, the goal is to continually draw nearer to God throughout our lives participating in the life of the Spirit. This process is also sometimes referred to as “deification” in which we seek to become more holy and more “Christ-like” within Jesus Christ. In fact the word Christian means “little Christ”. A well known quote by St. Athanasius reflecting this belief is, “God became man so that we might become gods.”

Faith thinking changes all of life. My goal in writing is to discuss how this same creative intimacy is at work in our theology and daily life. God in Christ through the Spirit calls us (vocation) to join this same dance in an effort to transform our thinking and our lives. His dynamic One-ness creates fresh integrity to be in relationship with Himself, to know ourselves truly, to be at peace with our neighbors, and to understand more of the universe we inhabit beyond what we can see.

These are my reflections with the help of other theologians and guides as part of a collective journey to find signs and parables which tell of Grace and Peace in a land largely obscured by shadows. These are deeper meditations with the goal of holiness.

Please sit with me and add your own reflections along the way.

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