Jan 6, 2010

peanut butter and the trinity

if you walk down the peanut butter aisle at your local grocery store you will find yourself transported into a great land of deliciousness. there are peanut butter flavors to tempt every palette, it's similar to the edible wallpaper at willy wonka's chocolate factory. do you want chocolate or raspberry in your peanut butter? pb loco to your rescue! feeling like a tree-hugging traditional? there are a dozen different kinds of organic chunky and creamy, sure to pair perfectly with your thrift store goodies and sandalwood oils! can't seem to kick that inner-child? skipppy and jif will spread like butta on your crustless wonder bread. with all of these choices the process of finding your favorite is as frustrating as searching for your car keys when your already running 15 minutes late (ah, personality disclosed). after years of searching for the perfect pb, i have discovered that there is a delicate and true subordination to the nutty web. smuckers organic chunky on top, followed by parkers honey crunchy and trailing with the wildly outrageous pb loco. three separate brands united with the golden thread of peanuts.

this spurs a desire to delve into the theology of the trinity. doesn't conversation about peanut butter cause you to think of jesus? come on, own it- i know i'm not alone. when one ponders the mystery of the trinity the general understanding is that the father is like splinter, the son is like donatello, and the spirit is as off-kiltered as michelangelo. did i lose you? i guess all the talk of peanut butter transported me to my childhood love of tmnt - i apologize for nothing. but really, there is a level of subordinationism to the trinity that is simultaneously unified and equal. how does this make any sense? in "the institutes of christian religion", john calvin writes:

"although the eternal nature of the father also belongs to the son and spirit (since god could never be without his own wisdom and energy) and although there could be no place for first or last in eternity, the distinction of order is not meaningless or unnecessary."

ok calvin, so there IS validity to the notion of hierarchy within the trinity??? what say you?

"the father is thought of first, then the son from him, and finally the spirit from both. everyone thinks naturally of god first, then the wisdom which springs from him and finally the energy by which he carries out his plans."

i work at caribou as a desparate way to keep from sinking into educational debt. i adore my job and see it as my ministry. the other day i was lost in conversation with a young woman that i work with. we were (as only the spirit could ignite) talking about our beliefs in god/religion(s) and she proclaimed that she does believe in god but she cannot believe in jesus or the bible. i held my tongue, though i wanted to dig further. i knew that one cannot truly believe in god if they cease to believe in his word and his son. my friend, like many other professing believers, walks the al a carte line of the character of god and chooses only that which pleases her comfortable lifestyle. one meaty helping of god, well done. hold the jesus, and no word sauce. one cannot believe in god if they are unwilling to confess jesus as god as well as the word as god (which it is, but that can be saved for another theology on blogger). here is where my good friend calvin links together the subordinate existence and unity.

"this distinctiveness in no way interferes with god's perfect unity, because the son can be proved to be one with the father and the spirit to be no different from the father and son."

and it is here that i am left undone. what a mystery god is! that the nature of god can be seen in each of the persons - each one holding his own individual existence - and yet be perfectly united. three separate and three united. i follow god because i will never be able to comprehend his mystery (well that, and because he chose me) and i love that, it's what makes the entire journey one rad adventure of flirting with the mystery of the unknown. so remember, next time your trying to find your choice peanut butter, remember that they are all different, but fundamentally they are united under the umbrella of perfect goodness.... did i just say that? forget it, pick up calvin's institutes instead.

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