Driving home from church yesterday, I made a comment about something Jesus could do.
From the back of the minivan, Brielle corrected me (believe it or don't): "God."
"That's right, Jesus and God."
"No--God," she insisted.
"Jesus is God," I said.
Ashlyn weighed in. "No he's not!"
I hitched up my theological pants, drew in a deep breath, and set out to explain the Trinity to 4- and 5-year-olds. "Jesus is God's Son, but he is also part of God."
"No, he's not. Jesus is not part of God. Even though they do the same work."
"Brielle, is your pointer finger your hand?"
"And is your thumb your hand too?"
"It's kind of like that. Your fingers are all different, but they are all part of your hand. And Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit are all God. And like you said, they help each other do the same work."
"Or maybe it's more like ice and water and steam. Ice is water that is frozen. And water is water that is just water. And steam is water that is evaporating. But they're all water--just in different states."
Sometimes I wonder how in the same sentence I can remember to limit my vocabulary enough to utter something like "water is water that is water," yet drop an odd homonym like "states" at the end. This is why I never taught Kindergarten.
Brielle giggled. "Not in different states!" She said "states" in that high-to-low pitch sequence that means, "You're being silly, Daddy!" (I hear that sequence often because my daughters think I am silly often--even more often than I attempt to be.)
I laughed back. "I don't mean a state like California or Texas or Alaska, but like water in a different way of being, a different circumstance, a different condition."
"Conditioner?!" she laughed. Now her twin sisters were laughing too. "Daddy, you said 'water in a different conditioner'!"
Mercifully, my Trinity lesson had ended, and on a silly note, a note of comical ambiguity. Maybe a pun is one more Godhead metaphor.
And maybe silliness is an underused path to God.