Several years ago when our family lived in Bainbridge Island, Washington, I remember going to get food for my family at this new small restaurant that opened up. It was very Bohemian in appearance. The odd thing was that the meals were all some type of Asian stir fry. I was in a bit of a hurry so I looked over the menu quickly and saw the words “Chicken Stir fry”. So, I place several to-go orders for the chicken stir fry. They made the meals and gave them to me. It smelled amazing. I couldn’t wait to get home and eat with the family. All of us thought it smelled amazing. Then it happened. We opened up the containers and notice that the chicken looked a little funny but we dismissed that and dug in. Now it hit us. Not only did the chicken look a little strange, the texture was a little strange and it didn’t taste like chicken, even though apparently many things do. Yes, you may have guessed it. It was tofu! I promptly called the restaurant and explained to them that there was a mistake. Now the big shock came; it wasn’t a mistake. They were a vegan restaurant that served faux meats!? Talk about an oxymoron moment. Being a sincere carnivore and connoisseur of almost all things meaty, this was a slap in the face. I have nothing against people wanting to be vegan. In fact, I applaud you for your conviction not to eat meat but when you have a conviction not to eat meat but you try to make not meat items look and taste like meat that confuses me.
In my simple brain my thoughts are if you don’t want chicken then don’t try and fake it. Just because you call it chicken doesn’t mean it’s chicken. For those who don’t know that you are trying to fake it, it will not only give them a bad experience, but they will know that something is not right. It may even discourage them from coming back.
The same is true regarding being a church. There are certain basic foundations to being a church, the Bride of Christ. You can’t have true church if you negate or neglect certain main ingredients. “Faux chicken” at the end of the day is still “faux chicken”. “Faux church” at the end of the day is “faux church”. Sometimes we want to play the part of church but without having the main ingredients or by trying to have the appearance but without the substance. This Sunday we will take some time to look at what are the main things that make church, church. I hope I see you here. You might be surprised by what you see or hear. Happy Thanksgiving to you all and love you all.