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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, December 15, 2009

Caramel Apples and the Christ-Child in a Manger

I love the taste of caramel apples. I cannot stand to eat them. I remember as a child losing a tooth in a caramel apple once, getting all sticky from them, sometimes dropping the caramel, even having the apple fall off the stick. About 30 years ago I swore off caramel apples...but I still like the taste.

I was reminded of this as someone gave me a caramel apple-flavored candy recently. I REALLY like that taste combination! I had a shot of "caramel apple," a home-made North Dakota concoction that tasted just like a caramel apple...you couldn't even taste the Everclear...I like the taste even then...But they are so hard to eat in their traditional caramel-dipped, apple-on-a-stick form...too bad.

I wonder if this isn't how we feel about God sometimes? We like God and everything, but God is just so hard to understand and handle, so hard to appreciate, that we don't even bother with God for most things. We like it when people take our God and make it palatable by giving us sentimental "bookstores" that pander to the taste without the effort or work to understand the "peace," "joy," "hope," or "love" that are stenciled on porcelained figurines. Just like I like the caramel apple taste, but won't eat the caramel apple, a lot of people seem to like God, but won't try to take God in all of God's power and shame on the cross...

But then along comes Christmas, and we domesticate God once again, this time trapped in a baby, bawling in a manger, with a mother asking why didn't anyone bring us a crib? Christmas loses itself in the cheap commercialization of "Reason for the Season" signs, and huge stars and Christmas trees perched high atop businesses who just want to "witness." It's just candy, just a liqueur posing as the real thing...and it has no more to do with God than the chemically-contrived tastes mimicing apples dipped in caramel have to do with the real thing.

Just before I sat done to write this I resolved to make a caramel apple this Christmas...I will even make my own caramel (it's not too hard, I've done it before...I even add some cayenne pepper to it for a little "zing.") My hope is as well that I can do the same for God...and take in all that God is, no matter how much the struggle, so that the taste remains with me forever. Merry Christmas.

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