Bulls and Butterflies by Bob Wickizer

Bulls and Butterflies
Rev. Bob Wickizer
Genesis 1:1-2:3; II Corinthians 13:[5-10]11-14; Matthew 28:16-20
30 May, 1999

About a year before we left California to attend seminary in the East, we bought a new chocolate Labrador retriever puppy from a kennel in the Central Valley of California. Driving back and forth to the kennel during the training period, I noticed a bull-fighting ring set up by the Mexican agricultural workers out in one of the vast, fertile fields there. Unlike the classic bull fighting settings of Hemmingway's Spain, this makeshift arrangement included wooden bleachers, a roof to shade the spectators, and rodeo style gates to admit the bull. Although I never managed to attend an event there, I was reminded of a Spanish proverb stating that "It is not the same thing to talk of bulls as to be in the bullring."

And that's a bit like the challenge of preaching on Trinity Sunday where the seminarian's nightmare of complex theology, scripture and linguistic problems all come to roost in a permanent fog on Trinity Sunday. It is the reason why nearly every Anglican rector in the world will gratefully give up the pulpit for any seminarian or assistant rector foolish enough to accept such an assignment. But out of the fog of things Trinitarian, I hear the voice of my friend Gordon, a man full of love and with a great sense of humor. Gordon told me again and again, "Bob, you've got to make it simple." And so this is my pledge to you -- to make it simple. I don't want to talk about bulls today, but I do want to take you right into the bullring.

On our way into the bullring we are going to hear some sound bites. For example the Trinity has been disparaged by some as some kind of religious magic symbolized by "two men and a bird." For feminists who always challenge the exclusive use of masculine imagery, the Trinity is sometimes referred to as "Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier." And we have to respect the fact that for some people who have been ...


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