Posted by: tucsonjefe | September 24, 2006

Slow cooked Christians

I smoked some sweet corn yesterday.  It was awesome, though it took hours.  Even better is a good brisket in the smoker.  I’m a smoked meat kind of guy.  I love real barbecue.  That means it has to be slow cooked with some real wood smoke.  The heat never gets too much past 200 degrees, so it takes all day to cook.  The best meats for this treatment are the toughest and cheapest cuts.  Barbecuing was developed to take the toughness out of the work muscles of range-raised cattle, animals designed to live off sparse pasture and tolerate long drives to market.  These critters had long horns, thick hide, and some scars.  Interestingly, the meat from muscles that work hard is the most flavorful, but also the toughest.  A good slow cooking will dissolve the tissues that cause the toughness, but will enhance and deepen the flavor.  It takes the worst cut and makes it a feast fit for a king.  I love to hear the oohs and aahs as folks experience the first taste of a good smoked brisket or pork loin. 

Church works sort of the same way.  I have noticed that often the people who look the best when they arrive do not always make the best church folk.  They are like the pictures in a cheap menu – retouched photos that don’t look like what you actually get when you order.  I think the best material often comes with a few scars.  Life may have left them a little tough.  They may even have horns you have to dodge for a while.  They take a little longer to prepare and the process is a little more involved, but they make for fine, flavorful results.  The problem is in keeping them around to go through the process.  I know when I am smoking, there is always the temptation to get impatient, grab the meat off the grill and stick it in the microwave to finish it off.  It just isn’t the same.  It pays to stay with the process.  Unfortunately, in the church process, the meat has a choice, too.  The individual has to be willing to stay the course.  A lot of them don’t.  They get tired of the smoke, uncomfortable with the heat, and mad at the cook for poking with the fork and pouring on the seasoning.  They go to McChurch and become McChristians.  Drive through convenience with none of the savor.  I love the long-haul folks.  Tender and sweet and full-flavored, worth the wait.

Scripture Reading:       Rom 5:3-5  There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us,  (4)  and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.  (5)  In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary–we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

Somebody Said: “The test of every religious, political, or educational system is the man that it forms.” – Henri Amiel 

I am daily amazed at what the Lord does with such unlikely material, me included.  We are still committed to the notion that regular people can do remarkable things, because we serve a remarkable God.  Give us the cuts that seem too tough and lets see what the Lord can make with a little time, a little seasoning, and a little heat.

vls

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Responses

  1. I want to thank you for such a delightful way of describing the remarkable power of Our Lord. It put a smile in my heart.


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