Killings of civilians or police officers, any time, anywhere, by anyone diminish possibility for everyone, everywhere. Racism, sexism, agism, classism, and their myriad companions any time, anywhere, by anyone diminish possibility for everyone, everywhere.
The unnoticed and unremarked –ism that confounds the best human intentions and dims our best lights is reductionism:
[my dictionary says] the practice of analyzing and describing a complex phenomenon in terms of phenomena that are held to represent a simpler or more fundamental level, especially when this is said to provide a sufficient explanation.
A major consequence of “trinitarian” thinking is a less reductionistic relationship with the world and human affairs. The code words “G-O-D,” “C-H-R-I-S-T.” and “H-O-L-Y S-P-I-R-I-T” are a kind of meta-language: language about language. They originated in a age far in the past with only rudimentary, unselfconscious insight about systems and root causes, but they contained profound implications for how we think about and relate to life.
God is a name for the most comprehensive context: the All. Living and acting in any context smaller than attention to All is a reductionism that can lead to short-sightedness, shortcuts, expediencies, and missteps.
Christ is a name for the most intimate context: relationship with the here and now. Living and acting in any context that avoids intimate relationship with the here and now is a reductionism that can lead to abstraction, illusion, ignorance, and carelessness.
Holy Spirit is a name for the most animating context: the fact that the universe is a vast, complex, interrelated energy system within and among bodies of matter. Living and acting in any context that ignores our nature as conscious bodies animated by the creative energies of the universe is a reductionism that can lead to complacency, disempowerment, and despair.
When an angry peoples’ movement calls attention to life-sapping imbalances in a society that ignores the many for the short-term benefit of the few, it’s time for a more “trinitarian” approach: comprehensive attention and reflection (with respect to both the All and the here and now), futuric context and focus (so that we are comprehensive with respect to time), and intentional choices and actions (so that we live in the real world where energies are released by the act of choosing).
Being faithful spiritual-religious people—of any faith tradition, these days—seems to require that we practice being comprehensive, futuric, and intentional. We all have work to do.