Tag Archives: food

changing minds

Having kids makes for a unique outlook on life. In fact, I think they help us appreciate things so much more. Recently I’ve begun to realize just how stubborn we grown-ups can be thanks to my own kids and food. In my family we basically have a rotation of about four meals consisting of fast food (it comes with the job), pasta, tacos and something that could be cooked out on the grill. Depending on the season I will even venture out with some new recipe I found on Pinterest (yes, I do Pinterest) to see what will hit or miss…and most of the time it is a miss. “I don’t like it.” “But you haven’t even tried it…” “I don’t like it.” It’s almost like it’s a pre-programmed response to anything that is offered that doesn’t fit the pasta, taco, burger, pizza paradigm. They are so adverse to trying new things. And this is crazy to me because as short of a life span as they’ve lived, there is still so much that is new to try. Luckily my older kids sometimes help apply the pressure to try something.

So as my brain works, I think about what this means as we grow older. We multiply that same scenario/scope of operation by our age and all of a sudden the, “I don’t like it” response becomes even more powerful and dangerous. Now we have experienced more that this life has to offer. We have encountered more than just new foods. We have come across new people, new cultures, new philosophies, new political ideas and then when all of a sudden something new comes our way yet again and all of a sudden we can simply say, “I don’t like it”. We stubbornly continue to be the same person we’ve always been. And yet, this year, one of our Advent passages speaks directly to this. The passage opens up with John the Baptist addressing the crowds coming to see him at the Jordan. This is how he greets them, “John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?┬áBear fruits worthy of repentance.” – Luke 3:7-8 [Calling people snakes is a great way to win over a crowd by the way]

So let’s piece this together a bit. John greets all of these folks coming to him by referencing the idea of snakes fleeing from flames as them turning from God’s wrath and he says to them to “bear fruit worthy of repentance”. The Greek word for repentance here is Metanoia, which simply translates “changed mind”. Fruit that reflects a changed mind. John then goes on to define it for the crowd; give to those who need, don’t rob each other, don’t abuse your power, etc. In other words, view each other and your circumstances with an ever-repentant, ever-changing mind as to your normal way of thinking. Minds that are inflexible and set in their ways can’t be used of God. God is unpredictable. His very name giving in Exodus 3 says this [I will be what I will be]. Those who follow God must become like Him. Therefore for us to simply encounter someone, something, some scenario and declare “I don’t like it”, before we’ve allowed God to work through us and in us towards said circumstance is the opposite of repentance. And thus we become a brood of vipers. Maybe this Advent season we try to avoid being casts as snakes as we attempt to casts the situations around us with a different mind. And perhaps through repentance worthy fruit the Church may once again be all that God has called Her to be.

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halloween revisited

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So I’ve been at Nashville first a little over three months now. I’ve seen homecoming, The Harvest Celebration and even gotten to lead my first fall youth retreat. But last week I got to experience something that I am sure is going to grow to be a favorite of mine as far as all church events go; The Community Fall Fest. There’s food, candy, decorated car trunks, balloon animals, inflatables, music and costumes…so many cool costumes. I love seeing all of the kids, and “adult kids” (present company included), coming to the church in their costumes for a night of fun and festivities. In fact, it seems that more and more each year people are really getting into the Halloween spirit. And yet, sometimes we in the church struggle with what to do when this holiday full of spooks and ghosts and ghouls rolls around each year.

I guess we could start by taking a look at our own history. After all, Halloween began as part of Allhallowtide, a Christian feast holiday. According to HistoryChannel.com, “In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints; All Saints Day…The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween.” Halloween was originally part of a Religious feast intended to honor those who have gone before us. And yet so often we see all of the hullabaloo of Halloween today feeling like something different from it’s Christian roots and as becoming something else entirely. Even as I am writing this I am thinking about all of those who feel like Halloween is a dark holiday to be avoided at all costs…and I respect your opinion, but think with me for a moment. Try putting yourself in the place of one of the kids who got be at our Fall Festival last week or who looks forward to Trick-or-Treating tomorrow night. You’re telling me that for a day I get to dress up like someone else, go around to my neighbor’s houses and they give me candy? It’s almost kind of magical. And who doesn’t love another excuse to eat candy?

I have always looked at scripture a little differently and I hope you will amuse me here. To me, one of the saddest verses in all of scripture is found in I Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” So often we think of this as the natural maturation process, but what if it is talking about the loss of the natural wonder and love that comes with childhood? I think all too often we are ready to grow up and we miss the joy and simplicity of living that can be seen through the eyes of a child. Maybe if we began to see this holiday again through the eyes of a child and all the joy I saw last night we might be able to see it a little differently. Maybe the treat is found through the trick of seeing Halloween as a child. And maybe holidays like Halloween can be enjoyed in a new light as we seek to reclaim the world yet again through childlike wonder and joy.


trick or treat

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One of my favorite events in the life of our church here in Odessa took place last night. For one night each year we roll out the red, or should I say orange, carpet in a big way. Our annual Fall Festival is awesome! We have about 50 or so volunteers rally to host over 500 people each year. There’s food trucks, inflatables, face-painting, carnival games, pop-corn, music and costumes…so many cool costumes. I love seeing all of the kids, and “adult kids”, coming to our church in their costumes for a night of fun and festivities. In fact, it seems that more and more each year people are really getting into the Halloween spirit. And yet, sometimes we in the church struggle with what to do with this holiday full of spooks and ghosts and ghouls.

I guess we could start by taking a look at our own history, after all, Halloween began as part of Allhallowtide, a Christian feast holiday. According to HistoryChannel.com, “In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints; All Saints Day…The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween.” Halloween was originally part of a Religious feast intended to honor those who have gone before us. And yet so often we see all of the hullabaloo of Halloween today feeling like something different from it’s Christian roots and often become something else entirely. Even as I am writing this I am thinking about all of those who feel like Halloween is a dark holiday to be avoided at all costs…and I respect your opinion, but think with me for a moment. Try putting yourself in the place of one of the kids who got be at our Fall Festival last night or who looks forward to Trick-or-Treating this coming week. You’re telling me that for a day I get to dress up like someone else, go around to my neighbor’s houses and they give me candy? It’s almost kind of magical. And who doesn’t love another excuse to eat candy?

I have always looked at scripture a little differently and I hope you will amuse me here. To me, one of the saddest verses in all of scripture is found in I Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” So often we think of this as the natural maturation process, but what if it is talking about the loss of the natural wonder and love that comes with childhood? I think all to often we are ready to grow up and we miss the joy and simplicity of living that can be seen through the eyes of a child. Maybe if we began to see this holiday again through the eyes of a child and all the joy I saw last night we might be able to see it a little differently. Maybe the treat is found through the trick of seeing Halloween as a child. And maybe holidays like Halloween can be enjoyed in a new light as we seek to reclaim the world yet again through childlike wonder and joy.

 

 


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