Friday, 26 September 2008

"Oney" (pronounced "wunny")

On the way out of the door this afternoon I found myself discussing, in a rather hurried fashion as I was needing to get away, the doctrine of the Trinity with two Christian prisoners. I am no longer surprised by any conversation I get into in Prisonworld, as I'm sure you can imagine.

I was explaining my thoughts about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit being three and yet also one. Using the illustration of a good marriage I talked (speedily) about how when two people are happily married they do become one. Not just in the physical sense but emotionally too. Happily married people speak of their "other half", even their "better half" and then if one is bereaved they describe feeling that they've lost part of themselves. Furthermore, I went on (quickly), parents will say that they feel that their kids are a part of them. My point was that (in short) that we as flawed and finite creatures do have a concept of oneness with another being, limited as it is by our inevitable tendency towards sin and selfishness.

I sprinted to my conclusion (the closest I've come to sprinting since school, btw). I said, "So, if we can understand a bit of what it is to feel oneness with another being, think about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who are completely pure. Their oneness is so much more, more, more...." and while I was trying to think of the appropriate word, one of the prisoners supplied: "oney" (pronounced wunny).

Spot on. I congratulated him on hitting the nail on the head. I think he's coined an important new theological word to help us in our understanding of the Trinity. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are more oney than we can understand, even though some of us are lucky enough to have experienced the great blessing of a lesser degree of oneyness in our human relationships.


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I love the new term. This could revolutionize the theology of the trinity. Seriously, I'm glad they got into it so much.

Anonymous said...

Great! Trying to understand the Trinity is a tricky one. My professor in Systematic Theology is consistently using his own term: three-sole in stead of three-agreement (if you translate Trinity into Norwegian, the term for it (Treenighet) would translate into English in that way). They are three in one, not three that agree. :)

Maybe this is totally unintelligible, and is really just a digression. But it was just funny you should post on understanding the Trinity as I am trying to read my copy of Jensons Systematic theology Vol1 on the subject :)

BTW, I´ve been reading your blog for a while, but I am not the most active commenter though. I do enjoy your reflections very much, being a theology student that has never visited a prison. Its great to hear about experiences from pastoring in another country and in a different setting than I´m in.

Will stop by again soon.

Billie Greenwood said...

I really like the "oney" concept/vocabulary also. I love that the source was one of your prisoners. We need more theology from "the people" rather than from the academia.

BTW, your "sprinting" conversation concept is hilarious. Sometimes when I'm uncomfortable where the topic could drift when talking with the homeless guys, I can be moving my lips faster than my legs can trot, too.

Anonymous said...

I love words that are made up on the spur of the moment to fit what people are trying to say! 'Oney' is a perfect example.

AnneDroid said...

Maia, thanks for your kind comments. :) I wish I could promise to read your blog faithfully in return, but without Norwegian, the best I can do is look at the pictures!

Ruth and Jay, it's a good term, isn't it? I think I'll be sure to keep using it.

Border Explorer, re the theology from the people thing, I agree. I've learned so much since I started reading the Bible in the context of Prisonworld. And I've shed so much baggage from academia and churchianity, that I feel much the better of it! And re the talking fast thing, I know exactly what you mean, although on this occasion I was in a hurry to pick up my son's friend who was coming to our house for tea!

Anonymous said...

Hi Anne
Wunny has been buzzing around my head since the weekend. How can anyone (especially someone Scottish) ever think of the Trinity in any other way after reading that post!

Doorman-Priest said...

I'll try this in the classroom.