Peace and Unity through Loukoumades

And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel.”  So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat.

Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.

He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them.

–          Ezekiel 3:1-4

 

Ezekiel’s instructions from God was to eat a scroll.  The scroll tasted like honey.  Hmmm.  Sounds like good Greek food, but starting a ministry with something to eat got me to thinking…

 

I recently watched an interview with Ben Witherington III.  He was talking about his new book, actually a revision to an older book.  The book is The Problem with Evangelical Theology: Testing the Exegetical Foundations of Calvinism, Dispensationalism, Wesleyanism, and Pentecostalism.  The sub-title adds Pentecostalism to the original book written in 2005.  The video may be a few months old.

 

He stated that in the book, he looks at the four prominent Evangelical theologies from an exegetical view and points out the problems that he sees with those views as compared to the Biblical text.  His hope is that with open discussion, the Protestant faiths can at least agree on the basic elements of Christian faith to show some sort of unity.

 

He said what I had thought about for quite some time now.  When people outside the Christian faith see the bickering over religious issues, as opposed to faith issues, from one denomination to another, they see bickering, uncooperative, grumpy people; they don’t see God’s love.

 

I don’t know if his approach will be met with any sort of success, but I very much agree with his observation.

 

For background: As far as BW3 (for short) is concerned, I first saw him in the first Lee Strobel video, The Case for Christ.  He was engaging and funny.  Since my wife and I led the “Video College of Biblical Knowledge” Sunday school class at the time, I was always researching new authors who also made videos.  With BW3, I had a delightful new source.  I have mentioned before that when God pointed me toward blogging, the BW3 blog is the only blog I had ever read, but I had rarely made comments.

 

Then last Friday, I went to a check-up at the doctor’s office.  I am fine, but certain things aren’t back to normal – so, in a month or so, I might get the full green light.  Upon leaving the doctor’s office, my wife says, “To Canonsburg, I am hungry!”  She meant go to the Greek Orthodox church near Canonsburg, PA to the next to last day for the Greek festival there.  So don’t go today.  It’s over by the time this gets published.

 

Please don’t ask me to write down all the Greek delicacies that we ate, but the fried lumps of dough with cinnamon sprinkled on top are always worth the trip for me.  Without Loukoumades, my wife can go by herself.

 

You could differ in your form of worship, theological tenets, what hymns you sing, and choice of Biblical translation.  Just keep the Loukoumades coming.

 

For some odd reason, I thought of Ben Witherington III and his video interview as I drove home, and as my wife handed me a lump of cinnamon goodness.

 

Eating Loukoumades does nothing to settle differences between the different Christian religions out there.  While we were eating, the only discussion was about what dessert to dive into.  There was the traditional baklava.  My wife found four or five desserts to take home, but sadly no baklava.  Her last doctor visit led to a very odd diet – among many things, no nuts and no spinach.  The diet limited her selections in the main course and in dessert.  She was very careful as she looked at everything, but I knew where I was going.

 

But as I munched on Loukoumades on the way home, a solution to BW3’s problem dawned on me.

 

Forget religious differences altogether.  Gather random Christian people around a table.  Serve good food.  Learn from each other what is a ‘winner at the dinner’ with everybody.

 

Guess what!  The different religions represented around the table just agreed on something.  I’d vote for loukoumades, but I could be swayed by Mexican fried ice cream.  In the USA, hamburgers seem to be universal, but pizza is consumed all over the country too.  Whatever is agreed upon, it may not be everyone’s all-time favorite, but everybody, at least at that table, likes it.  From my old team building days, it is what is called ‘Finding a Consensus’.

 

Get the picture?  Agreeing upon a morsel of food is agreement.  And surveys have shown that, indeed, the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

 

Editorial Note:  I doubt if even this ‘solution’ will work.  If pizza was selected, there would be arguments over dough, crust, type of sauce, type of cheese, and we’d have World War III by the time the subject of toppings came up.  So, my solution has holes in it.  I’m just gleefully running around to the back door about a serious problem.  After you quit laughing, or crying, maybe we can find a real solution.  But before we lose the reason why we need a bit of unity, let me finish what popped into my head on the way home from the Greek Orthodox Church.

 

Then, after the first point of agreement, we can talk about Jesus, God’s perfect Son, who died upon the cross, was raised on the third day, and reigns at God the Father’s right hand.  Jesus paid the price for our sins, and we must only have to believe, and fully trust, in Jesus for salvation.  And oh, by the way, why did Jesus die for our sins?  Because God loves us.

 

It may be too much to ask for everyone around the table to agree much beyond this (sadly, maybe not all the last paragraph), but we’ve already had our feast.  We are not as hungry as we were when we sat at the table.  At this point, we can take the next step with small little nibbles.

 

Can we achieve unity on earth among the different denominations?  With sin in this broken world, I doubt it.  But for the next world, we’ll be too busy praising and glorifying Jesus to remember any of our petty differences from this world.

 

Soli Deo Gloria.  Glory to God Alone.

 

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