One Leaf or Three?
by Susanne Dietze
I’ve gotta say, I like Patrick. He’s most famous for teaching about the Trinity using a shamrock as a visual aid, asking, “Is it one leaf or three?” “It is both,” was the people’s reply. Much like God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Holy Trinity, One God.
And boy, does our culture misunderstand and misrepresent us. In her essay, “Psalm 23 And All That” (Christianity Today, Feb. 7, 2000), Frederica Matthews Green recalls reading an essay in a well-known magazine where “the author asserted that the Bible ranks hope along with faith and love (good so far) in the 23rd Psalm (uh-oh). It’s a dumb mistake, but it wasn’t hers alone; editors, proof-readers, even fact-checkers comb every word in a magazine of this stature. But everyone no doubt had a dim memory of something like this being in the bible, and so it was rubber-stamped into print.”
Matthews Green notes this type of Bible blooper isn't a one-time thing. Even the 1980's anti-hunger anthem "We Are the World" nods to the Bible and gets the imagery totally wrong. (Jesus was tempted to turn stones to bread, but He didn't do it, Mr. Willie Nelson.)
Matthews Green continues, “Often we are blocked by the other’s determined misunderstanding of what the Bible says or Christian faith teaches. (For example, secular America is nearly unanimous in agreeing that what Christians worry about most are sexual sins, because the only way to get to heaven is by doing good deeds.) In no other field of study would people lean so much on understanding they hadn’t updated since early childhood, but here unwarranted confidence abounds.”
This was the message he shared with the folks of Ireland. And because of his example, I’m challenged to be better able to articulate the Triune God – and other tenets of our faith – with those around me, to know what I believe and why I believe it, so I can pass it on.
(To learn more about Patrick's life and his example of evangelism and releasing prejudices, please read Niki Turner’s marvelous post here.)
My favorite secular St. Paddy's Day tradition involves potatoes...Do you celebrate any fun customs?
Susanne Dietze has written love stories set in the nineteenth century since she was in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she writes in the hope that her historical romances will encourage and entertain others to the glory of God. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, travel, and spending time with family and friends. Her work has finaled in the 2010 Genesis Contest, the 2009 Gotcha! Contest, and the Touched By Love Contest, 2008 and 2009. You can visit her on her personal blog, Tea and a Good Book, http://www.susannedietze.blogspot.com/.