Being Persons

OK, I know I promised I would have a break from Trinitarianism, but I have been reading the dissertation of a colleague from the States about the Egalitarian nature of God. In it, the writer makes the important point that being a fully human ‘person’ is greater than being an ‘individual’. In our culture at the moment, the stress is on being individual consumers rather than being individual human persons. So our culture has increasingly dumbed down on the depth of being a person.

Personhood is therefore explicit in the Christian faith, when it draws on a Trinitarian ecclesiology, that has something to say about a God who is three persons of one substance, (Please note that this is not three substances and one person which is the mistake that many of us Westerners make). So we can take inspiration from the Trinitarian God, to seek our personhood, or what it means to be a human person – or more accurately – how we are becoming persons.

In contemporary business, we used to have personnel departments with personnel managers. I find it interesting in this light, that these departments have become human resources departments and human resource managers. The difference is sublte, but points to an increasing depersonalisation of roles in every area of life, that seeks to make us individuals and not persons.

Christianity then has a lot to say about what it means to be a person. Indeed, a person in connection with other persons, which then takes inspiration from a God of three persons that find their identity in being one holy community. If anything, Christianity is about putting back this ‘egalitarian-ness’ back into culture which is increasingly becoming little more than a market. If we draw on the Trinity, we have much to say on being persons and justice…


POSTED 10.07.08 BY: paulabbott | Comments (4)

4 Responses to “Being Persons”

  1. On July 10th, 2008 at 8:40 pm Pastor Chad said:

    Thanks for this reminder. I know we often get tired of the same old arguments, but our community is really modelled on the Trinity. Since we are always working on bettering our Christian communities, we constantly have to be reminded about what the Trinity really is.

    Thanks again.

  2. On July 10th, 2008 at 11:08 pm Ian & link-to-blog said:


    I really like what yo say in response to my blog entry on your blog, check it out if you have not read it from the link

  3. On July 11th, 2008 at 8:22 am Richard Sudworth said:

    Hi Ian…interesting stuff and you know we share a similar passion for re-appropriating the significance of the Trinity. I wonder though whether we are in danger of putting a human lens over the Trinity in a way that is untenable. I’m not sure there is an exact equivalent between human personhood and the persons of the Trinity. The Son “only does what he sees the Father doing” might (and has) excused all manner of patriarchy and slavery, for example. There is a dynamic self-emptying within the Trinity that we are to follow…but is it really equivalent?nn1

  4. On July 12th, 2008 at 9:33 am Ian said:

    Hi Richard

    I think from my reading of the Gospel of John, that the “as I am in the Father the Father is in me, so they are in you” mantra does have implications about personhood. I agree with you about the danger of patriarchy, and androphication, but I think the whole becoming of God is a guide for human becoming. Your rightly name Kenosis – and by the way I have been pushing your book around the States, and quoted your twice in presentations.

    Your final question about equivalent needs some thought. I am not promoting that we become God, but more of God being a guide into all knowing, and fullness. I have been reading a great dissertation on the egalitarian nature of God, which I hope to convince to be published with YTC Press after the hols. I need to go away and think about your question about ‘equivalent’…. more about human becoming…

    Not a full answer I know, but it is saturday morning and I am recovering from a hangover!! You seen my book yet…. I think there will be bits you like and some you don’t…. I have been challenged by Barry Taylors book Entertainment Theology….