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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bacon Cheeseburgers and the Cross

I came across a great quotation this week "Every rabbi, according to the Talmud, should be able to argue that a bacon cheeseburger should be kosher." (Shai Cherry, Torah Through Time, 2007. He admits he updated the quotation from ben Sanhedrin.) And this is where my thoughts this week are curiouser and curiouser...
As I talk with people about faith these days, (or religion or the Bible or conservative Christians or liberal Christians--whatever the entry into the conversation) there resides an assumption that we are going to somehow "arrive" somewhere. That is, that God has a plan, the plan has a destination, and we're all part of that plan. I guess that's OK as it is, but why the destination? What if the plan is a plan of eternity (which doesn't end, at least according to some meanings of "eternity")?
What happens is that we often posit a disconnect between where we are and where we hope to be, and in that supply the connection in ways that make sense to us. Now, at one level this is the only way the disconnect can even be noticed--because it's working against or with things that "make sense" to us. However, does the connecting together of the "disconnect" involve something that needs to "make sense" as well? I'd argue that it does not.
So, if I may borrow from my last post's discussion (in order to reply somewhat to a very perceptive comment), the gathering of people stands as truth, even if it only ostensibly meets the needs of the people gathered. And the people, not able to comprehend the mystery which is God, gather out of their needs so that God may use them as God desires. Of course, what we observe is the gathering, and any deeper truth that resides in that gathering remains a mystery enveloped by God's own mystery. That deeper truth (whatever it may or may not be) does not have to be obvious to the people gathered...they're just gathered...
Which gets us back to our bacon cheeseburger. As Freud once noted, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar" when it comes to interpretation. Regardless of what the bacon cheeseburger means, or whether we can eat it or not, depending upon our adherence to kosher or our cardiologist's advice, what sits on the plate is a bacon cheesebuger. The same thing seems to be true of our experience and understanding of God, especially the God of Jesus Christ on the cross. We can debate its meaning and purpose for our lives, it can become a stumbling block to our faith, or the very power of God--regardless...what stands in our history is the cross...
Perhaps Christians can learn from our Jewish brothers and sisters, and be prepared, not to argue for the "kosherness" of a bacon cheeseburger, but for the love of the God of the cross for us...just a thought...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting post. Thought provoking, but I like that!
Your comments about 'arriving' somewhere got me thinking that planning for the future is good as in, for example, retirement funds, kids college funds, where one would like to be living and what they'd like to be doing in 10 or 20years.
However, I think that sometimes we tend to be so focused on 'getting somewhere', that we lose sight of the fact of where we are now. That makes it more difficult to truly appreciate the moment...
I think when Christ took time out from the crowds to pray, to rest, to just BE, he was setting an example that we should pay closer attention to.
As a busy family, it is not easy to find a balance to just 'BE', but I feel it is important to take those moments, even--or especially-- spontaneously. In those moments, such as a water fight with your kids, or a walk in the country as a family discovering a wild flower or a pretty rock on the path, we can take to heart the appreciation of the gifts God has given us each day. We can take notice of those gifts! And be thankful!
'Just Be'moments are a gift in my life.
Just some of my thoughts for you to ponder.