Food and Faith

I never liked Sloppy Joe day at school.  The sloppiness of joe would cause the bread that it was splattered upon to become too soggy to pick up and eat.  Actually eating one was like putting a whole lot of nasty in my mouth and feeling obligated to finish the job by swallowing without really chewing.  Like vomiting in reverse.

Chili day was always perplexing to me.  Nowhere else but in a school cafeteria would chili be served with half of a peanut butter sandwich.  Why a peanut butter sandwich and why only half?  “Here, kid–eat this bowl of barely recognizable swill.  And to go with it, here’s something that makes no sense that you actually might be able to stomach, but you only get half.”

Friday’s were much better.  I approached going to the cafeteria on Fridays with gleeful abandon knowing that I would get to eat something that I half-way enjoyed–a hamburger.  Alright, it was more relief that I didn’t have to try to eat anything gross than gleeful abandon and it was really some type of hamburger that did not contain anything closely related to real meat.  But that didn’t matter.  It was still something that half-way excited me, which is more emotion than I can muster for most foods now.

I still have my favorites.  Chicken-n-dumplings would be good for every meal followed by an overwhelming bowl of Rocky Road ice cream.  I fully expect this to be the menu every day in Heaven.  My wife’s aunt believes that she’s going to have a mansion built for her right beside a chocolate river when she reaches her eternal reward.  My mother-in-law expects to be greeted by all of her dead animals (except for Dolly) when she makes it inside the gate.  It is a widely held belief among certain family members that Dolly, a cocker spaniel with a wicked temper, busted Hell wide open when she assumed room temperature.  Comparatively speaking, my chicken-n-dumpling/rocky road theory doesn’t sound too crazy, does it?

Even though I like those two foods, I don’t really get wild-eyed in my excitement for either.  There is one thing, though, that truly brings out the culinary beast that is lurking deep inside of me.  One thing that causes me to transform from a mild-mannered, nerdish kind of guy into a hybrid of Paula Deen and the Incredible Hulk.  “HULK EAT, YA’LL!”

And that one thing is….

Seeing the “Hot Now” sign lit up at a Kristy Kreme Doughnut location.  Just hearing those words has caused drool to begin forming at both sides of my mouth.  Pavlov’s dogs had a bell, I have the “Hot Now” sign.  I have no problem admitting this and you shouldn’t either.  I know that gluttony is a sin, but you have to eat at least more than four at one time for this to qualify, right?  Maybe not, but that’s what I’ll go with for now.

Kristy and I were drawn to the Krispy Kreme on Broadway by that sign a few weeks ago.  But instead of sinking our teeth into delightfully fresh doughnuts, we experienced stunning disappointment. 

Inexplicably, I allowed my lovely wife talk me in to taking her and the kids to a livestock auction in Halls.  If you have never been to an auction of this nature, do yourself a favor and keep it that way.  It was crowded, loud, smelly, and a little fascinating.  Fascination can only overcome so much. 

After the auction was cut short and everyone in attendance was asked leave by people whom I assume were the owners, we did the sensible thing and left.  One of them threatened to turn the electricity off if we all weren’t gone in 15 minutes.  I was amazed at the number of people that didn’t leave.  If there is anything rednecks love more than Skoal and Dale Earnhardt, it’s a good riot.

We drove to a restaurant on Broadway to eat a late supper and that is when we saw the “Hot Now” sign on at the Krispy Kreme across the street.  I looked at Kristy and she looked at me, our eyebrows went up at the same time, and I knew that we were in agreement about our next stop.  The sign became unlit before we finished our meal, but that did not matter.  We were going.

On our way there, Kristy said that we should get a dozen for us and a dozen for her sister who volunteers on Saturday nights with a local Rescue Squad.  I told her that her idea was fine with me.  She could have suggested that we buy a dozen for us and buy another dozen to mail to Kim Jong-il; as long as I got to have some, it really didn’t matter to me.

I pulled into their parking lot and headed to the drive-thru with my mind enraptured with the thought of feasting on doughnuts.  I made it to the speaker and rolled down my window, but before I could place my order the voice on the other end delivered mind-blowing information.

They were out of glazed donuts!

I stared in silent disbelief at the speaker for a few eternal seconds.  Then I looked at Kristy, totally at a loss for what to do.  It was unfathomable and I was incredulous.  I told the bearer of bad news that we would be leaving and drove off, mouth agape. 

How could Krispy Kreme be out of the one thing that they are known for?  When I go to Taco Bell, I expect them to have tacos.  When I go to a bookstore, I expect to them to have books? When I go to a flea-market, I expect them to have a lot of crap that I don’t need.  And when I go to Krispy Kreme, I expect them to have glazed donuts.

Later that night, I began thinking about our trip to Krispy Kreme and the disappointment that ensued.  I came to the conclusion that Krispy Kreme not having glazed donuts is not as bad as Christians not having faith, love, power, courage, and all of the other attributes that should be present.

If you were to read the book of Acts without ever having the experience of being around believers are attending any church services, what would you expect believers and churches to be like?  You would probably expect Christians to be dynamic, full of power, and teeming with excitement.  You would probably expect church services to be a demonstration of the Holy Spirit’s presence.

You probably would not expect to find what you would  probably find; Christians more concerned with style than substance who exhibit little enthusiasm and no power and church services that are dull and lifeless.

There are plenty of theories on how things got this way.  From Christians neglecting the Holy Spirit, to us not praying with fervency for what matters most, to the consumer mindset that has infiltrated so many churches, to a lack of holiness among the Body of Christ, to a whole list of items that could depress us to the point of breaking down.

More important than how this happened is what we need to do about it. 

We need to confess to God our sins.  We need to plead for Him to fill us with the Holy Spirit.  We need to walk by faith and not be sight.  We need to be more concerned with following Christ than we are with our own comfort.  We need need more people interested in serving than in being served. 

We need to be shaken.

I once heard someone say that the Body of Christ is walking with a limp; I’m afraid that we are not walking at all.

Krispy Kreme not having what they are known for was disappointing.  Christians and churches not having what we should be known for is a shame. 

More than that, it is sin.

I pray for forgiveness and for a new awakening among the people of God.  I pray for God to make Himself heard through the noise and chaos that has invaded our lives.  I pray that we are made uncomfortable with how things are so that we will seek diligently for how things ought to be.

And I pray that it happens soon.

(Have you ever experienced something like our Krispy Kreme debacle?  What do you think about the state of the church?)

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