It’s All About the Mission
Note: OK, we’re back to the Trinity! In this short series, we’ve had 4 different posts (here, here, here and here) that explore the relationship between a trinitarian understanding of God and the relationship between the genders.
Let’s be clear about something: the Trinity doesn’t exist without a purpose. That is, God, Jesus and Holy Spirit aren’t eternally bound together in intimate fellowship just for the sake of themselves. After all,
We’re not talking about some never-ending cosmic tea party here.
Instead, the God of the Bible very much has a purpose, and that purpose is reconciling all things: reconciling people to God, reconciling people to people, reconciling people to their environment and more. The trinitarian God craves a reconciled relationship with all creation.
So the Trinity is on a mission. I appreciate how Darrell Johnson puts it in Experiencing the Trinity, as he uses the disciple-making mandate of the Great Commission to bind together the Trinity and mission:
“We should not be surprised that the New Testament writers speak in this way. Jesus said ‘Go, make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’ By Jesus’ own definition the Christian life is a relationship with one whose name is three-fold. To be a disciple is to be immersed into, and with, the three-foldness of the living God.”
Friends, as we model male/female relationships on the missional reality of the Trinity, we must do so with an understanding that reconciliation happens UNTO the mission of God. In other words, reconciliation isn’t the goal. Neither is the elimination of male privilege.
Instead, the goal is the expansion of the mission of God.
And so as much as I want it to be so, the leveling of the gender playing field is not the end. It’s more the means to a greater end, the end being God’s Kingdom coming, on earth as in heaven. So today I want to offer three thoughts on how eliminating privilege and reconciling the genders expands the mission of God:
1. They reveal the nature of God. Equal Kingdom partnerships between women and men point the way to the triune God. In fact, they show what God is all about. What better way, then, to demonstrate the Trinity than men and women living out relationships marked by equality and interdependence, particularly in a world captured by an epidemic of gender inequity?
2. They testify to the power of God. By and large, our world affirms Billy Crystal’s mantra from When Harry Met Sally that “men and women can’t be friends, because the sex part always gets in the way.” Really? What if in the Kingdom we tapped into the power of God in such a way that men and women really could become friends? Not only friends, but good friends even? Heck, maybe, just maybe, by God’s power, men and women could be equal ministry partners! Imagine the testimony that would be to a world so desperately in need of God’s power.
3. When men and women are partnering well together, we can get more done. For centuries, the church has effectively been doing ministry with half the team sitting on the bench. Imagine what we could get done if we released the full arsenal of God’s ministerial resources! In 2 Peter 3:9, the apostle Peter reminds us that our God is “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
As a gender-reconciled church, I suggest it’s time we get to work.