Since food is relational and spiritual it is not unreasonable that churches should use food for ministry. This goes way beyond food banks for the poor, and pizza to lure in youth on Wednesday nights. While I will not get into all the particulars about how food can be used for relational and spiritual development, I do have this do say: Do not abuse the gift. You all know what I am referring to... the potluck.
Have you ever noticed that all potlucks smell the same? It doesn't matter what state you are in, the denomination, or the time of year, all potlucks have that same smell. There are other things in life that are an amalgamation of random variety that share this feature with the potluck. All garbages smell strangely similar. Unkempt public restrooms all share a common stench, even though the overwhelming fragrance proceeds from refuse composed of a unique plurality of edibles.
The lesson for potlucks is clear, the common stench is a warning of disfavor. How could disfavor extend to food you ask? This is unclear even to me, but the existence of a definite potluck smell is undeniable. â€œWell,â€ you might say, â€œdon't all fast food places smell the same?â€ You are right, of course, but for different reasons. All hamburger places smell the same because they all make the same food. A KFC does not smell like a McDonalds, however, and a Taco Bell smells different than both. That is what we should expect from food. When you get home you know what to expect for dinner based on the aroma. Every food has this earmark, or fingerprint if you will, that declares its distinctiveness before the food can be seen or tasted. In this way every food is given an identity and personality. Potlucks strip all food of its identifying aroma, of its dignity really, by exuding an oder that is neither pleasant nor distinctive. As it is with the garbage, so with the potluck. Can we really expect these efforts to be blessed?
Food, one of the greatest gifts to mankind, a symbol of our unity, our glory, our distinctiveness, yea even our very souls, has been taken by the church and profaned in the potluck. Repent, I plead, and turn from your casseroles and gelatinous creations. Make foods in keeping with good taste and flavor. If food is relational what are we saying to our friends and neighbors when we invite them to church and offer them overdone Mostacholi Ã la bland with a side of 15 layer Jell-o dessert? Are there no cooks in the House, are we without culinary prowess? Do we think that, since everyone eats, anything will suffice? Maybe, since everyone breathes, we should poison our air too... but, as we have noted, the potluck has this covered as well. Perhaps I am looking at this all wrong. Maybe churches believe potlucks are a way of suffering for the Name. While we suffer, yes, no glory will be gained for our efforts. No. I say it again No! Food is a gift. Let us not reprobate, violate, or desecrate it any longer. What have we done? Where is our soul? Will we ever recover from this fall?