Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Looking for the Great Feast

Joel Spencer over at the Double Edged Sword, wrote a post called, A Great Feast. In this post he compares church as we know it to eating cold chicken nuggets. So many of us have been raised on these nuggets, we have know idea that they are really nasty. He says,

Let me sum it up like this - let’s say that you’ve spent your whole life eating cold chicken McNuggets every night. You like them, you think that they taste pretty good and everyone around you rants and raves about how great the McNuggets are. You even have meeting after meeting to listen to people talk about these great McNuggets! After all, they do give you some fuel and sustenance. But the problem is, unbeknownst to you, they’re full of preservatives and processed meat and are only making you fat and unhealthy. Then the day comes when you look outside of your window and see a great table set up in the parking lot just outside the doors. It is absolutely covered with the most amazing food that you’ve ever seen. You decide to go outside and check it out. After walking the length of the table a couple of times, someone walks up to you and says that everything on this table was prepared just for you. You’re in awe as you’ve never even known such a fantastic spread even existed. You walk up beside the table and look down onto a huge plate of home-made fried chicken that sits before you. As it’s still steaming, you reach down to grab a piece. As you begin to eat of it, your senses come alive, the smell, the taste… it’s incredible! After hours of eating to your heart’s, and stomach’s, content, you turn around and see the building that you exited from standing before you. You know full well that within its walls are nothing more than cold chicken McNuggets, likely left over from last night. You now have a choice.

One morning my wife and I were talking about his post. She told me how she has realized that she has been eating cold chicken nuggets, she believes that there is a great feast outside, she can smell it. She went outside to look and it was not there. She can still smell it, she knows it is around, she just cannot find it.

I think there are a lot of you out there that are in this same boat. There is a special feast, just for you, but you are having a little trouble figuring out exactly where it is. So what do you do? Do you head back to the cold chicken nuggets? Do you wander away from everything you know in hopes of finding the feast?

Have you found the feast? Are you looking for your feast? Have you been through this?

I would love to hear your stories. I know it would greatly encourage my wife and others on this same journey.

8 comments:

Barb said...

I am sorry this is so long. I went with the analogy and this is what came out. If it takes up too much room please just delete it and I can just post it on my blog with a link back to yours. I’m so grateful to you for posting the analogy and your questions. I wish we could have coffee and really talk about this journey.

My story is a bit different from the analogy. I did not smell the food at the table outside or was I tempted to go out and find it. I had no idea that there was a table at all. I was perfectly happy eating and serving others the chicken nuggets that my IC totally believed were the only food to eat in Christendom. But something started happening to Husband. He started to remember what the Book said about what is healthy and what is not. Every once in a while he would go to our leader and explain that what they were adding into the chicken nuggets was not really good for us or for our friends. He was told that he really had no understanding of the health benefits of these nuggets and that Apostles of the day had actually come up with a new recipe that would guarantee that we would grow to be healthy spiritual giants. Husband would say things to me from time to time and I would shush him up. “Can’t you see how happy these people are when they eat this food?” “Why must you pick at such little things?”

But one day they started adding in an additive called “Titles for the Apostles”. Now this is not a really huge thing in one sense but Husband dug his heels in deep. He knew this was not a good additive for the Body. I, thinking that he was way over reacting, decided to read the Book for myself. I did and I was shocked. This was not a good additive. The Author of the Book specifically said so Himself. “Don’t use titles like the Pharisees do.” Period. I was shocked. I looked in the rest of the Book, reading it through 3 times in the next month. I begin to question all the additives that were added into my nuggets. I began to realize that what I was being fed, eating and giving to others was not just unhealthy but actually toxic.
We met and pleaded with our leaders to let us read the Book to them but they dismissed us (friends for 20 years) with contempt that we could not really understand what the Book said or what the “New Apostles” were saying for this hour. We had a choice to make. We could not stay silent. Others in this Body saw us as leaders and silence would denote our agreement with the menu. After a final meeting with us, the church was called together at the Leader’s request and was told that we had been deceived into thinking that the chicken nuggets that they had so lovingly prepared and fed to their congregation had been called into question by us. The church was therefore to have nothing to do with us as we had been severely deceived by our own pride in thinking that we could read the Book for ourselves and disagree with them.

We have been shunned by all the chicken nugget eaters.

I have heard stories of a table set with real food that is outside the walls of the church. I read about it on various blogs and websites. But I have not seen it as of yet.

My family is actually eating very well at a very small table set for just us. Mostly we partake of a new food called “Grace.” I worry that maybe we are missing out of something that was in those nuggets that were good for us to eat. Was it all bad? And what about my kids? They are still just growing. Will they get all the nutrients that they need for growing bodies in this simple meal of “Grace?” We have a few friends who occasionally join us. But the table spread so bountifully that you speak of has not made itself know to me yet. I long for the day when I can gather with many and eat together. I’m not sure though. Could these just be stories for another person? What if it never materializes?

We have decided though to try to stick this out. We are not going to manufacture a table and invite people just so that we feel better. We want the real table. The one set and supplied by the Author of the Book. We want to be there with others that He has called to the table. We want Him to plan and cater our next one.

You and your wife are welcome to read my journey and I will be the first to tell you of any table that I see and partake of that is like that of which the author speaks. It makes me hungry just thinking about it.

Lew A said...

Barb,

What an excellent comment. I would not even think of deleting it. But I would definitely encourage you to put it on your own blog.

I have added your blog to my reader and will be keeping an eye on you. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us.

God's Glory,
Lew

Joel Spencer said...

For me, it was the discovering that my dissatisfaction with the "McNuggets" throughout my life was OK. Journeying off into unknown territory for food can lead us to this great feast or it can leave us to die in the desert. I choose to believe that my Father sees my desire to hunt for the feast and will lead me to His bountiful tables.

His desire is for me to hunger and thirst for it - it is He that placed this longing within us for more. We must forge ahead and "follow the scent" that you mentioned. It may be miles, it may be just around the next corner, but we must go.

With you in the spirit on this journey...

Mike Ogden said...

The feast is on my porch tomorrow, with good food, fellow believers and not a church official in sight to spoil the assembly!

Cindy said...

Just found this blog and have to say that I really enjoyed this analogy. Barb, what a great post! Your account parallels my own in many ways. In my life, it was a challenging question from a friend which made me start questioning why I was content with the chicken nuggets that I'd been fed all my life in the church. Like you, I began to read the Book to find the answers and when I became convinced that the answers I found were true and I needed to make some dietary changes, I also discovered that these changes didn't find acceptance within the fellowship we were part of, so we decided to leave rather than be a cause for division. Since then, it's been an on-going process of exploring the recipes in the Book and finding out the marvelous variety & satisfaction to be found in the Feast He's provided in His Word. Jer 15:16--"Your words were found, and I ate them; and Your words were to me a joy and the rejoicing of my heart, for I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts." Job 23:12--"I have not gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed and treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food." It's more than finding the recipes and knowing about them; it's actually preparing them and eating them which is so satisfying, being a Doer of the Word and not a hearer only. In my own walk of faith and obedience, it was discovering that the OT was not just a book of Jewish history and outdated for NT believers in Yeshua. It is still alive, still active, still vital to our walk of faith, still the foundation upon which all of our understanding of NT scriptures is to be based, and still applicable in practice in our lives as believers in Yeshua, washed by His blood, called to be His disciples, walking as He walked, keeping His commandments because we love Him. This is where I've found the feast. And it just keeps getting better and better as I learn more and more how to walk in obedience to His Will, as revealed in ALL of His Word, just as Yeshua did. Take care and may the grace of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah be with you!
Love in our Messiah,
Cindy in Wisconsin

Margaret said...

wow, what an amazing post. It makes everything soooo...simple, easy to understand. And its posted by seemingly amazing people. You guys are really living the Christian Faith in an awesome way. I admire that greatly.

Margaret said...

I just read Barb's comment and wow did it hit me. Someday, you WILL be rewarded by Christ.

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