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You, Me, and the Heavenly Three?
Popular Christian psychologist Larry Crabb has a new book out, Fully Alive, with the subtitle "A Biblical Vision of Gender That Frees Men and Women to Live Beyond Stereotypes." Though I haven't read the book, I did read his recent Christianity Today interview about it, and I can tell that this new book (his 41st) contains more of what has earned Crabb the respect and popularity of a large audience. He speaks with sensitivity, creativity, and a manifest desire to help people flourish—in this case, setting believers free from gender stereotypes that diminish them.
But I am disappointed that Crabb has chosen to make a direct link between his teaching on gender and the doctrine of the Trinity. He describes masculinity as moving toward others, or "a relational style of seeing a situation that needs to be dealt with." He describes femininity as "an invitational way of relating to other people." Both ways of relating, he says, are built into humanity precisely because we are in God's image. He asks, "How do women reflect something about God, and how do men reflect something about God?" His answer: The moving-and-inviting dynamic is part of "how God gets along within himself," that is, part of the Trinity. The two elements of the relational dynamic are as follows:
One, God the Father moves toward and into the Son, and gives all that he is to the Son (Heb. 1). Two, the Son invites and receives all that the Father gives him. Then the Son moves this right back to the Father. So I see a Trinitarian dynamic of moving into and inviting.
To reflect the image of the triune God, then, is to express this relational masculinity and femininity, thus "dancing with ...1