I've been in these conversations with friends for a couple years now kind of questioning some things here and there after traveling through some traumatic events. I know the copious amount of grace I've been shown and feeling like God has perfectly timed opportunities and split the seas for me to flee emotional abuse even though it's against what the bible says... I've got questions, and I feel like I'm finally at a place where I can ask them, and be wrong, and be right, and change my mind, and it's all okay.
My daughter is four and learning to read. Over the last year or so each letter has been introduced and we practice what words start with those letters. It's been a jaw dropping experience to see her brain working and her excitement as it was starting to click. I’d laugh to myself trying to teach to her how ‘C’ can make a ‘K’ sound, like in her first name "Collins" ... but her middle name “Kay” starts with a K, not a C - you see how this is confusing? Now she's starting to put together things she's learned about letters and sounding out words to read. I'll sit with her as she's trying to piece together words, sounding out the first two letters together, the last two letters together and then putting them altogether to figure out a word. But then you throw in the 'ch' sound or 'ie' and she has to ask for help... and then just because it's that way in one word doesn't mean is the same in another word. The English language is not for the weak. But I love to sit with her as she's figuring it out and am exploding in excitement with her as she's putting all of this together and giggling to myself when she's so far off because of the English rules that just don't make sense and some I can't explain yet because she has to learn the basics before she can begin to grasp their, there, and they’re… which lets be honest, a lot of adults still don’t understand…but, I digress…
I feel like this is how our PB&J God is looking at us, his children. He's seeing us figure some things out, whether that’s science, parts of the bible, or even what were supposed to be doing on this earth, and is throwing his arms up saying 'YES, you're getting it!' and then other times he's just giggling at us thinking "dude, you're so, so, SO far off, and this one you're just never going to understand." Then other times with His head cocked to the side, and eyebrows concerned for His children that have just gotten it so wrong and turned him into liver and onions... when He's simply a Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwich. Then there are those that have thrown away the sandwich, because they're tired of it, they expect more or want to experience a Thanksgiving feast.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Monte Cristo Sandwich, it's this incredibly gluttonous meal, made with turkey, cheese, ham, triple-decker, battered and deep fried glory. This is all the glitz and glam and rules and regulations and JUNK we've turned God into. I'm in a season of deconstructing that sandwich. I want to get rid of all of this extra crap that is just not needed. It’s over-kill, and literally doing damage to the body. I'm listening to this podcast called ‘The Liturgists.’ It's a guy named Science Mike and Michael Gungor and the journey they've taken, completely deconstructing this gluttonous fattening faith they've always known and loved and have pulled apart every piece until they were left with absolutely nothing. At all. They came to realize it was all crap. Then they started simply. They decided they don't have all of the answers but they do have a lot of questions. They have an understanding of facts, and science and what they could prove, what was just mystical that they couldn't prove but were just believing because they just believe it and cannot convince anyone of. They took it all apart, deconstructed this Monte Cristo God and realized He’s simple. Bread, peanut butter, and jelly. And this is the extent. Simple and perfect.
I have atheist friends who act more Christ-like than some of my most theologically studied friends. One of them is the MOST loving person I've ever observed and constantly building people up, with love spewing from his pores, and frequently doing charity work in our city. Another hosted a fundraising event for my family years ago after our house was hit by a tornado. He is very vocal about his angst with the Christian religion and how were all so far off from actually being like Christ, who we claim to follow…and he's not wrong. So many Christians are concerned with if people are acting right and wrong and following the 'rules' than we are about just loving people- and that doesn't mean loving people in spite of their sin, but just loving them because they are co-humans. Just love the people.
The PB&J God we experience now is different than the Thanksgiving Feast we’ll experience in heaven. Eternity is described as a wedding and with a feast, and drinking and dancing, but we’re not there yet. We have these understandable grand expectations of our Almighty God to be the ultimate feast. But we're not there yet. We haven't reached completion and we don’t feel fulfilled by our PB&J God that we experience now. We won’t get to feast until we meet God. That's when we'll finally understand all the things we couldn't comprehend yet or can’t scientifically explain. That's when we'll reach completion and finally be fulfilled and experience the feast. I don't think we have capacity to understand now just like my daughter doesn’t have capacity to understand where commas go in a sentence and not to throw them around like confetti as I tend to do. "I can no more understand the totality of God, than the pancake I made for breakfast understands the complexity of me." A God this feeble mind could comprehend isn’t worthy of my worship. People end up throwing away the Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich because they can’t explain it all, or are wanting to be full when what they’re craving is the thanksgiving feast that they haven’t experienced yet, and won’t until earth is as it is heaven.
All of this to say I’m ok with being wrong. I’m ok with asking questions. I’m ok with not having all the answers and the inability to debate someone into believing as I do. I’m just trusting in the simplicity that we’re here to just love each other. I want to stop complicating the simplest of ingredients when it all comes down to our PB&J God as we get to experience Him now and just know that one day we'll get to sit at the table of the feast and finally comprehend the totality of God, but not today. I’m going to ask questions, but most importantly I’m totally okay with not having all of the answers.