Spiritual, political, racial/ethnic, and social pluralism are a reality. For us to thrive on this planet we must learn to get along with each other—in fact, if we are to thrive, we must find the immense good in one another, no matter how different we are from each other.
This doesn’t minimize our great differences or the trouble those differences can cause us. Instead, it maximizes a Trinitarian approach to the realities facing us as a global community. God-as-three-yet-one is a witness to the nature of reality itself—the unity and diversity of the creation, and the insight that if God can get along (God as a unity existing in diversity) than we can too. In fact, the Trinity is our warrant of wholeness. It’s why I’m still a Christian despite the foolishness and cruelty of so much of what has often passes for Christianity.
Embracing the Trinitarian nature of God has an immensely practical application for human life. We’re made, says the Bible, in the image of God. That means we are made to celebrate and even enhance our differences, but always with the recognition that we are, nevertheless, one. Jesus taught this to his disciples: “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one,” (John 20.21-23).
This means that a Christianity fit for the 21st century must value, learn from, and dialog with those not only within the church—and those beyond the Christian household—who see things differently. A Christianity that will not merely survive the 21st century, but which will thrive within it, must find a way to hold conviction while appreciating and learning from others . . . and then improvising on our inherited tradition in order to promote a way of flourishing that enhances all life on the planet.