Monday, November 05, 2007
I don’t know if this idea is due to the new industry I find myself in, but I’ve stumbled across a parallel between the world of food and the religious culture I was formed in. Our restaurant is nothing special, yet many of our clients are treating it like it’s the newest trend in dining. All we are doing is making food fresh, in our store, and treating people like friends. For those of you who don’t realize, much of the food you eat at a common restaurant franchise or fast food establishment comes in frozen on a truck, shipped in from a warehouse or central kitchen somewhere. There’s even a popular bakery café chain who boasts of fresh baked bread (I’m sure you’re familiar with it) receives their dough frozen and only bakes it in their store. The reason for this is efficiency. When the bottom line is profit, a company doesn’t really need to pay attention to other elements like taste, quality, ethics, or community improvement. If the product is selling, who cares how it is made? If all you want is a quick meal, does it matter if it took 3 days to get to your town by semi truck? For some reason, I had this same kind of thinking toward the message that Jesus brought for us. I believed that the only thing that really mattered was if you believed that message or not. Here, the bottom line was not profit. Instead it was souls saved. Consequently, I missed the importance of other components of the message, namely, the part about living the Life to the full. It’s a great feeling when customers tell me they love what we are doing with our restaurant and can’t wait to tell their friends about us. What have we done to elicit this response? My guess is this; we are attempting to rescue food from the fast, efficient world in which it has been relegated, and in which it doesn’t belong. As we do so, it seems some people understand what we’re up to. This brings me to my point. Is the same true for the Bread of Life? Has Jesus and His Message been copied, duplicated and franchised into a tasteless, unhealthy yet efficient product? And have its consumers become so familiar with this type of product that it has no idea there can be anything else? I’m convinced that leaders of the Church of The Future will do well to rescue the Story from its limitations of its culture. How that is done is up to you to decide.