I was sitting in a bar the other day doing some reading…as you do (I was on a cruise and it was shockingly one of the quietest places on the ship during the day.) I was reading about a girl named Penny in Don Miller’s book Blue Like Jazz. He was retelling Penny’s discovering and uncovering of Christianity for what it might actually be. Rather than how it had been “sold” to her before through televangelist and brim stone and fire street-corner-preachers. She had a colorful past and was still livivng in that world a bit but as I read this statement of hers, it struck me:
“I always thought the Bible was more of a salad thing, you know, but it isn’t. It is a chocolate thing.”
She went on to say this about her journey through reading the book of Matthew with a friend…
“I found Jesus very disturbing, very straightforward. He wasn’t diplomatic, and yet I felt like if I met Him, He would really like me. Don, I can’t explain how freeing that was, to realize that if I met Jesus, He would like me. I never felt like that about some of the Christians on the radio. I always thought if I met those people they would yell at me. But it wasn’t like that with Jesus. There were people He loved and people He got really mad at, and I kept identifying with the people He loved…”
I love this. Penny discovered the real Jesus as she read the Word and realized maybe He was way more exciting like chocolate. Rather than boring like salad.
It got me to thinking and asking myself these questions: How many times do we approach Jesus and the Bible as a bland iceberg lettuce salad? Or scarier yet, how many times have we portrayed Jesus and the Bible to others as a boring “do it because it’s what’s good for you” salad rather than the little bit naughty and rebellious but oh-so-amazing chocolate it actually is – as Penny discovered for herself.
Salad is what you eat out of discipline when you really want a Big Mac meal super sized!
But chocolate! Oh chocolate! Chocolate is what you eat on your cheat days that only leaves you wanting every other type of chocolate on planet earth! Anyone else?
Christianity and the Bible are a lot of things. But one thing it is not, it is not like salad. It’s not for the good girl.
It’s not compliant and passive its rebellious and counter culture.
The foundation mark of Christianity is love, but love is not a passive doormat. Love is fierce, all consuming passion that if able to be contained is not love at all. Love isn’t simply a feeling that is felt its an action that is seen. That’s why Christianity is rebellious. It fights to be selfless in a world of “you-get-yours”. It defends the unjust when the cost is high and would rock the boat less if they just stayed quiet.
Jesus, who is love, was hardly a doormat. Doormats don’t go into church and flip over tables. The Bible rebels against the status-quo calling its readers to be different. To stand out. To say yes to love when it would make sense to say no. To be rebellious and extravagant in generosity when society would applaud you for building a name and fortune for yourself by the time you are 35. Religion is about using Jesus and the Word like salad – to nourish yourself and have a good follow-the-rules Christian diet. But relationship is like chocolate. It leaves a sweet taste in your mouth that leaves you telling all your friends about it.
It’s not boring. It’s adventurous.
I use to think that adventurous people had the best lives because they always have the best stories. I’m not sure that’s true anymore.I think in reality the people who get labeled “adventurous” just have a lot of moments in which they chose to live life. And most of those “adventures” memories could only be labeled as such after the event because in the moment they were more along the lines of terrifying, frustrating, or “what the heck is happening”.
I think the rag tag 12 that Jesus chose to pal around town with must have lived the most adventurous life ever. But I hardly think the word boring came to mind much as they retold their two years with Jesus….almost dying on a boat in a storm, then Jesus came walking on water. Scrambling for food for the 5,000 when all they have is a kids meal from Long John Silvers. Watching a dead man walk out of his grave.
Boring? Hardly. Adventurous…yes. Let’s not sell this Christian thing as easy. It’s not magic. It’s not a one decision and your done deal. It’s a daily decision thing but it is certainly not boring. It’s like those mystery chocolates wrapped in the special paper to show you that you have to be a little adventurous to unwrap it because you aren’t 100% sure what you’re about to get.
It’s not bland. It’s new, fresh and exciting
Once you have had one iceberg lettuce salad you have basically had them all. They don’t really get much better outside of drowning those lettuce leaves in ranch dressing. But with chocolate the experiences are endless! Not only do you have Cadbury, Hershey’s, Frerrero Rocher, and Lindt but you have chocolate pie, cake, ice cream, and Nutella pizza! You could spend the rest of your life trying new chocolate delicacies and never exhaust them.
Jesus and the Bible are the same way. You could spend every day for the next 100 years and never exhaust the newness you can find about the depths of Jesus and His character or the truth hidden deep within the Word.
So my conclusion is this…
Salads are for calorie counting. Chocolate is for Christians. I don’t want to be one of those Christians walking around acting like I’m on a spiritual diet scrapping for any fun and adventure in my life. Instead I want people to see, without me telling them, how sweet it is to indulge in something that can never exhaust our taste buds.
How will you take Jesus and the Bible – with a side of good-girl-salad or rebellious, adventurous and exciting chocolate?