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Re: [HoB/D] Curates --> Trinity Sunday

  • To: bishopsdeputies@hobd.org
  • Subject: Re: [HoB/D] Curates --> Trinity Sunday
  • From: Louie Crew <>
  • Date: Fri, 28 May 2010 12:41:33 -0400

Why assume that Trinity Sunday requires one to promote certainty?  Why not
celebrate it as "Uncertainty Sunday"?

Alfred Lord Tennyson, a staid Victorian himself, declared: "There lives more
faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds."

Trinity Sunday is an excellent opportunity to explore honest doubt.    One
might also try to say what would constitute "dishonest doubt."  For example,
Albert Camus called himself an agnostic because he would not risk the chutzpah 
to consider himself an atheist.   For him, honest doubt requires vital
engagement with the questions of faith.  Theists and atheists alike often
want certainty mainly so they can shelve the answers properly, disengage,
and get on with other affairs.

Trinity Sunday is a good opportunity to ask a local physicist to talk about
how "the uncertainty principle" of quantum mechanics might enrich one's
experience of the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not

Being able to live comfortably with ambiguity and being able to sustain a
delicate ambivalence -- these are some of the richest experiences possible
to human beings, especially to human beings of faith.   We should not
bludgeon our ambivalence to certainty just just to please Emperor

In 1958, just starting graduate school and desperate for an alternative to
the Southern Baptists, I attended a series of sermons in which a local
Presbyterian minister explored, one denomination per sermon, the theology of
his mainline competition.    He was bright and informative, but when he came
to the Episcopalians, his sermon was shorter than the others, and he had to
work hard to mask a slight snarl.   "They waffle when you ask them to
explain what they believe about any controversial doctrine.   Their pet
answer is, 'It's a mystery.'   The most Episcopalian of hymns is 'God moves
in a mysterious way his wonders to perform.'"

Hallelujah!   Once I got to an Episcopal Church, I never returned to a
Presbyterian one again.  Presbyterians are the announcers on NPR who,
when you have just listened to a sonata or a concerto, interrupt to tell
you, with unquestionable documentation, what the composer ate on the day she
composed it.

My own reflections on the lections for Trinity Sunday are at

Louie, L1