I've recently begun reading Timothy Keller's book King's Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus. His opening chapter presents one of the loveliest, most cogent descriptions of perichoresis I've ever read. As one of my favorite seminary professors used to say: "That'll preach."
Perichoresis is one of those big theological words that tends to make people scratch their heads. It's a Greek term that refers to the mutual love/indwelling of the Triune God, and is sometimes described in terms of a dance. One of the things I love about Keller's chapter is that he discusses the meaning of this concept in a beautifully winning way without ever actually using the five-dollar word. (I know, I just used it...but I'm using it to make a point about how he's not using it. Does that make sense?)
One of the reasons I struggled with the decision to go or not go on into higher (beyond masters) theological studies was precisely this: I think theology is best when it's written so that real people can understand it, learn from it, grow from it. When I was writing theological papers, I worked hard to make them as free from academic jargon as I could. I don't think writing in this fashion means you lack understanding: rather you work hard to have a deep enough understanding that you can write about it in real language. Not dumbed down language, but everyday language. In other words, I wanted to write theology as a communicator, poet, story-teller, teacher -- not primarily as an academic writing for other academics. I still want to do that.
So I'm thoroughly enjoying Keller, because he's actually doing it.
Here's a bit from the chapter:
"The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are each centering on the others, adoring and serving them. And because the Father, Son, and Spirit are giving glorifying love to one another, God is infinitely, profoundly happy. Think about this: If you find somebody you adore, someone for whom you would do anything, and you discover that this person feels the same way about you, does that feel good? It's sublime! That's what God has been enjoying for all eternity. The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are pouring love and joy and adoration into the other, each one serving the other. They are infinitely seeking one another's glory, and so God is infinitely happy. And if it's true that this world has been created by this triune God, then ultimate reality is a dance....
If this is ultimate reality, if this is what the God who made the universe is like, then this truth bristles and explodes with life-shaping, glorious implications for us. If this world was made by a triune God, relationships of love are what life is really all about."
There's lots more. But at least this gives you a taste!