Though current exegetical methods have swung away from a Christological reading of the Old Testament -- rejecting in particular Augustine's treatment of the text -- Byassee believes that is a mistake we must remedy. Using a recent translation of Augustine's Enarrationes in Psalmos, Byassee describes in depth Augustine's psalm hermeneutic and his approach to scripture generally, offering a defense of these views in conversation with recent work in theological exegesis.
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity shows us God is vastly more interesting. God is actually fleshed among us in Jesus, poured out on us in the Holy Spirit’s intoxication of the church. God is three divine persons in perfect harmony and beauty—and God invites us into that unimaginable intimacy. We don’t know this God, but we should.
Trinity uses scripture, the Early Church tradition, and some modern theology to argue that God is a mystery whom we can’t understand but who can shape our misunderstanding to allow for faithful living and holy love of God and neighbor.
“Jason Byassee thinks like a theologian, writes like a journalist, and communicates like a storyteller. We live in a time of trinitarian dissonance, when the central doctrine of the Christian faith is strangely neglected by most Christians. Byassee’s wonderful exploration of the Trinity offers a remedy for that by providing a meat-and-potatoes introduction to the God who is at once Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. An excellent spiritual guide for both mature Christians and those brand new to the Christian faith.” —Rev. Dr. Andrew C. Thompson, Assistant Professor of Historical Theology &Wesleyan Studies, Memphis Theological Seminary, Memphis, TN, and Wesley Scholar for the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church
“In trying to communicate the trinitarian relationship, Byassee succeeds in making the indescribable a little more coherent while reminding us of the all-consuming love of God. Trinity is a little book of rigorous thought and deep devotion. It is rare these days to find a work of theology that stirs the intellect, the heart, and the spirit. And I have to admit, in reading this book, I fell in love with the Holy Spirit all over again." —Enuma Okoro, Nigerian-American writer, speaker, and award-winning author of Reluctant Pilgrim, Silence, and Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals
In this clear-eyed, humorous appraisal, Jason Byassee contends that the “church around the corner” occupies a particular place in the divine economy, that it is especially capable of forming us in the virtues, perspectives, and habits that make up the Christian life. Not that he romanticizes these churches, however. Having been a rural, small membership church pastor, Byassee knows too well the particular vices and temptations to which they are subject. But he also knows the particular graces they’ve been given, graces like the “prayer ladies,” those pillars of the congregation who, “when one told you she was praying for you it meant something. When one hugged you, you remembered all week. When one cooked for you the casserole tasted like love. And when you were around them you were in the presence of Jesus.”
Anyone who serves, or belongs to, a “church around the corner” will find their ministry strengthened by this enlivening, inspiring book.
In Discerning the Body, Jason Byassee goes hunting for the church guided by a singular conviction--God has promised there will be a church until Christ's return. So it's out there, it's just slightly hard to find. Where is a batch of Jesus' disciples, gathering around his Word and Sacraments, living out his mission in the world? Byassee spends time among Catholics, evangelicals, mainliners, and a few non-Christians looking for signs of Christ's body. He also looks in less likely places: among athletes, in institutions, in popular culture, in the craft of writing.
It is very hard to expect to be surprised. Doesn't the expectation ruin the surprise? Yet it's Jesus who surprises us in the church. Every time we find him, we have to expect to be surprised to find him anew in some counterintuitive guise. This book is about the author's learning to expect to be astounded anew by Christ.