Insight / Rethinking Christianity

Explaining the Trinity

When I was a child and first began to question concepts about God, one of the first concepts I began to question was the Trinity.

English: Four-leaf clover: White Clover (Trifo...

English: Four-leaf clover: White Clover (Trifolium repens) with four leaves. ‪Norsk (bokmål)‬: Firkløver: Hvitkløver (Trifolium repens) med fire blader. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recall sitting in a back yard swing with my great grandmother and asking her what the trinity was. I don’t recall what denomination she was. In fact, I am not aware of her ever going to church on Sunday. Perhaps she was the one who induced a belief that “church” was a state of the heart and not a building, long before I ever made that decision on my own.

When I asked about the Trinity, she leaned over and picked a three leaf clover from the ground and placed it in her hand in front of me.
She said, “This clover has three leaves, but it only has one stem.”

She left it in front of me for a few seconds while I looked at it and thought about what she said. Then she pulled one leaf off. “That leaf is gone, but the stem remains.” She did this twice more until only the stem was in her hand.
“Those leaves were a part of this stem, but this stem is not a part of those leaves.”

She rearranged the leaves back around the stem and said, “When there are three leaves attached to this stem it becomes a clover.”

Then she reached down and plucked a sole leaf from another clover and placed it next to those in her hand so that it looked like a four-leaf clover. She said, “God is like the stem and the three leaves are God, God in Jesus and God in the Holy Spirit. The fourth leaf is God in us, and when it is there with the others then the clover becomes perfect.”

Over the years my belief in the concept of the Trinity as a God-Head has changed. From the beginning I had believed that Jesus was a different entity than God, although accepting him to have a dual nature I did consider him to be a clover leaf attached to the stem, independent, yet a part of the whole. My belief for the concept of the Trinity is to now consider it to represent a manifestation of unified spirits. But when I consider the explanation that my great grandmother gave me all those years ago the one truth that I realize is that four-leaf clovers are rarely found, and as spiritual people we should strive more to connect our spiritual leaves to the holy stem.

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