Tag Archives: banqueting table

Banqueting Table, Part 3: Factory Food and Slow Cookers

Mass produced factory food, simply re-heat.

I’m not a big fan of prepared foods, like the one you see above.

But, I have to admit, usually when food comes from a factory, it’s quick and simple.

It’s also sealed with cellophane and full of sodium to keep it “fresh”. How long could you keep this “meal” before heating it? …months for sure, maybe a year. It’s a bit of a one-size-fits-all cuisine approach, right?

A frozen meal typically comes tidy, in a divided plate. So, no mess, no worries. There’s no long prep time, no plate, just a piece of plastic flatware is needed-say a “spork”–to cover any food texture. One might not even need a napkin, if one eats it…calmly. But, I think, you’d have to be on the verge of starvation, have non working taste buds, or have little experience with eating delectable food if you wish to devour this quickly. Not too many salivate over or pine for pre-fab food, like only a mother a factory could manufacture.

When people want to “serve up” the love of God, or share the gospel can’t the same thing happen?

Serving up God. yum... ?

Sometimes not only are the workers few, but maybe what workers there are don’t know enough about the richness of the God’s banqueting table. Maybe they’ve been using the spiritual microwave too much. Or maybe they aren’t patient enough to let God into their kitchen and make the meal, and show ’em how it’s done.

It takes a while, it seems he likes slow-cooker and long roasting recipes. (Ask Moses or Joseph about that one.) Sometimes the longer process of becoming a lot better in the kitchen, and letting God be the Chef de Cuisine, doesn’t seem like the smartest or most efficient move for a ministry. “What, spend long hours in the hot kitchen? Chop vegetables, mince, simmer, sauté, reduce…that could take, well, heck, years! We’re trying to help people, here!”

Well, we might give them something to eat, “really quick,” but how edible is it? Is it healthy or good for them? Will it cause stomach cramps and diarrhea? Will they only be able to serve up the same sort of thing? Will we get to the point of creating and serving the kind of spiritual food that God specializes in–the kind we created with him at his side, just like Abba used to make?

Can we reflect God properly by serving up convenient, ready-made, spiritual fast-food?

I’m doubtful.

What if we tried a sumptuous slow roast?

What if we could mentor (disciple) willing helpers (pilgrims/Jesus followers) and give them a solid, theological, narrative framework (God’s Story) from which to see their reality: God’s present Kingdom, and his Kingdom to come.

What if things marinated, and the juices got savory and settled down deep into the meat, rather than inviting others to dig into some version of pre-fab nosh because, the slow cooker style just won’t suit our time frame and ambitions?

Would we be able to offer something closer to the nature and heart of God the slow cook way?

(For our good and theirs.)

Would we be changed to be more to his likeness in the process of that?

Oh, yes, it’s far messier to prepare, serve, and eat! It takes prep time, long hours of cooking, setting the table nicely. We’ll need plenty of napkins and perhaps a wet washcloth or two. Plus, don’t forget we’re talking about REAL people. There are spills, squirts, and stains. Life is MESSY. Even good relationships are fraught with various difficulties. What about the clean up? A sticky, gooey mess for sure. And maybe dental floss will be handy to keep around. Real meat gets stuck in one’s teeth.

Oh, but there’s this: it’s really satisfying, and tastes fantastic.

Messy, and slow cooked

Add some veggies or a large salad to the slow-cooked entrée you see above, and you have an excellent, tasty, and messy meal many will really enjoy. If the company is good, they might even come back for more.

What do you think about it?

Have you ever been in a situation where it seemed like you had to choose one way or the other?

What happened?

Does the slow-cooker way seem out of reach? (Does this post need a follow up with specifics? Let me know.)

Comments, ideas, responses…

thanks for reading.

Banqueting Table, Part 2: Thoughts on Genius

I have developed a bit of an old fashion view of “genius”. Roman empire times “old fashion”. “Genius” was a term given to an outside entity of sorts that basically lived in the walls, and helped out with problems and other matters with a “spark of genius,” a kind of superior energy and creativity that had to come through a human vehicle, and come to fruition cooperatively. A person who “had a genius” had to listen to that genius. His brilliant triumphs would not be completely his doing, nor would his failures of genius. Some of the blame or credit was due to the genius. It had a way of keeping people more human I do believe, not puffed up with vanity and hubris, or unduly in despair for a bit of a lazy genius.

Somewhere along the line (I’m guess during the human-centered “reason” and experimentation of the Enlightenment Age) the term genius came to mean “a person who has brilliance”. A deep shift happened, if you noticed. Genius sourced in the person alone. “How advanced and sophisticated,” some might say. But wait. No one could imagine the stress that would put on people, especially highly creative people (think: writers, poets, artists, inventors, innovators, thinkers, etc.) who would now have to be solely responsible for producing genius worthy outcomes, and items, repeatedly.

Ever wonder why genius and madness are so closely tied? I think, that’s part of it. It’s hard to separate the creative aspect from the non creative aspect in a person. It’s hard to not take failure (or success) personally. I do believe it (“genius” or the process of the initiation of the truly great) has something to do with an intertwining, interaction, or crossover point with us and the Divine (our Creator).

A better, and less destructive way to define “genius” is to realize our success and failure is partly our doing, but partly something that comes to us and overshadows us. It’s better to realize the “gift of genius,” which would be not at all personal brilliance that start or ends in an individual, but instead an ability to be aware, receptive, and collaborative with others, and most importantly what must be higher and beyond our ourselves. A “touch of genius” could be said to be when everything involved hits just the right harmonic cord, and something revolutionary is borne, something is unearthed, or a creative act generates new life.

If you were to say, “Lisa, you’re a GENIUS!” I’d smile, and feel flattered for about 2 seconds. Then I’d realized the bigger truth going on. Very little has much to do with me. I’m not a genius, but sometimes I listen and detect better than at other times. To people who’ve heard my thoughts, ideas, or read my papers, they might hear some original thinking, or novel theories, but I really doubt I was the first source for them. At best it was a strange cooperation of experiences, education, preparation, creative exchange and communication, and a touch of something I can’t put my fingers around, and will not attempt to take credit for.

This “invention” pictured here below is a simple example of just a bit of a “touch of genius”. Check it out.

Why is it? It uses resources, readily available, to move beyond their supposed potential for a well-needed purpose. Is it every paper clips destiny? Probably not, but with a “touch of genius” perhaps, a they serve a purpose that is quite helpful and transcends the assumed norm, the typical, or the mundane.

witness a "touch of genius"

photo source

The people of our interactions deserve the same kinds of treatments and communications as these seemingly simple paper clips–At work, play, ministry, home life, social life, and all the rest. It’s the spark of genius, in cooperation with what is above and beyond us, that is needed to produce not what is hoped for or expected, but what is just out of reach, and just beyond our human imaginations. Groups and Communities can link up with “genius” too.

We can only see what’s been done, or what’s right in front of us. “Genius” doesn’t work that way. It’s a way of collaboration, even relinquishment to do the unexpected, even with simple “instruments” to create the extraordinary.

What thoughts do you have about genius?

If this is new to you, or fascinating in some way (positive or negative), please link to this article.

thanks for reading.

Banqueting Table, Part 1

ONCE UPON A TIME~

You hear a famous chef will be working his magic at the neighborhood restaurant, so one night you stop by for a sumptuous meal. Inside, you are welcomed by a maitre d’. Curiously, he’s wearing a name tag that reads, “Hello, my name is: Friendly Maitre d'”. His large teeth settle wide and inscrutable, as he motions his branchy arm for you to follow him. A large room decorated in rich browns and warm accent lights and sconces awaits you. A marvelous walnut table yawns out, bare. Below the table is an enormous drop cloth. You sit as directed, and wait.

Gazing around the room, you shiver a bit in your chair, as you notice light and airy music just a bit out of hearing comprehension. A candle might be nice, you daydream.

Out of the blanket of quite three people bustle through the swinging door. One holds a glass of water, another plastic utensils and cocktail napkin, and then the chef brings up the rear with a partitioned plate in his hands.

“Sorry for the wait,” he says. We’ve been planning this for a while, but now that you’re here, we’ve had to step it up a bit. We hope you know that we want you to feel comfortable.”

“Yes. Very, very comfortable,” say the other two together. You spy their name tags. Both read: “Hello, my name is: Casual and non judgmental host (pre-friend).”

The chef doesn’t wear a name tag at all, but his chef hat has “chef de cuisine” embroidered on it, large and flowing. He is sweaty, but cheerful, and a bit out of breath.

“You don’t want to go anywhere else. You feel welcome, and at home here. This is the banqueting table, friend! We don’t want to be pushy. Just, please, enjoy,” he says wiping his top lip, and setting down the steaming plate in front of you.

“Soon after you begin your entree, we should begin with our spontaneous conversation,” says a beaming host.

“We’ve prepared well in advanced to be natural and friendly with you,” says the other.

You look down at your banquet meal. The cocktail napkin is imprinted with, “Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!”

Appetizing Spiritual Food?

to be continued…

(responses are welcome)