The third statement, which analyzes the second, is this:
(3) an analysis of at least one concept from the personal faith statement regarding what it suggests about God, humanity, and their interrelationships;
In my statement of faith, I dealt with each of the three persons of the trinity in reverse order compared to most similar statements. I did this for two main reasons.
The first reason was that I felt that in my own statement, I should organize the persons of the trinity in a way that is most meaningful for me, and as written it reflects my experience and my theological reflection on that experience. I encountered God first through the Holy Spirit, through the sense of God’s presence in my life and in the people and world around me, through the sense that I am being uplifted and sustained by something beyond myself. Before I began to really understand who God was, and before I even could read a Bible for myself, I had this experience of God’s presence, which I identify as the Holy Spirit.
I next understood and experienced God as Jesus Christ, both as reflected in the liturgy, sacraments and preaching of the Churches where I have been a member and in the witness of scripture to his life, death and resurrection. In these I felt that I had a personal encounter with God and came to understand better who God is and what God intended for me.
Only then did I begin to reflect more deeply on who God was, both as the Trinity and as God the Father or Mother, the Creator, the ground of being and the author of life. The whole of the Trinitarian view of God began to take shape, and continues to do so, bit by bit, and is in no way complete, nor do I think it every will be. It is a mystery to be sought after and lived into but never definitively understood in its entirety.
The second reason for this decision on ordering persons of the Trinity is that I believe that the Holy Spirit is the only fully reliable witness to God, to who God is and what God does and how God call us. In Scripture, it is the Holy Spirit which attests to the truth of it, and which convicts us in our sin and regenerates us in our repentance. It is through the Holy Spirit that we experience God in our lives, that we feel God’s presence with us. It is the Holy Spirit moving within us which animates us to serve God, and it is the Holy Spirit which transforms us and makes us born again into new life.
Without the testimony of the Holy Spirit, we cannot know God, and Scripture is a piece of ancient literature only, God is merely a concept, and the world is a function of chance and impersonal forces alone; but through the testimony of the Holy Spirit we come to know the Word of God and the truth of God’s love and action in history as well as in the present day, and are given the gifts of faith and love and of hope for the future. I thought that, because of this theology of the Holy Spirit, my statement should begin there.