Suffering Succotash… April 4, 2013

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succotashShe didn’t wear a hair net.

The health department had not yet enforced that particular rule, so Madeline would occasionally serve me my macaroni and cheese with a long red hair included within. It was one of the perils of being a ten-year-old, eating in the school cafeteria.

A second equally frightening concept was succotash. Somehow or another, somebody decided that succotash–the mysterious blend of corn and lima beans–was the vegetable of convenience to put on the plates of unsuspecting children.

Let us start out by saying that NO ONE likes succotash. I did meet one person  who told me he ate it and enjoyed it–right before the white truck arrived to take him back to the mental hospital.

Even though tons and tons of succotash were continually returned on plates and scraped into the trash can weekly, the school system refused to consider the possibility of finding a better vegetable to entice the young patrons. It was just assumed that vegetables were going to be hated anyway, so you might as well give them a cheap one that they could disregard, so you could stay on budget while piously maintaining that you tried to offer nutrition.

Yes, every child, in his or her lifetime, has gone through the indignity of suffering succotash.

Likewise, in the realm of the spirit, we are instructed by religion–fed in our churches an emotional and intellectual diet of doctrinal succotash. We are told that being a Christian is grounded in a certain amount of suffering. Otherwise we are not fulfilling the life of Christ. It doesn’t even take five minutes of gospel-hopping to discover that Jesus believed in abundant life, that he came to bring full joy, insisted that his burdens were light, told us we were the salt of the earth, said to rejoice and be exceedingly glad, and when faced with tribulation, to be of good cheer.

But if you base the entire message of Christianity on a twenty-one-hour period–from the Garden of Gethsemane to the death on the cross–as an illustration of devotion and lifestyle, you probably have missed the significance of thirty-three years of joy, victory, marveling, compassion and blessedness.

Why do we choose to offer succotash in the church under the guise of suffering, when no one is interested and every week, ends up scraping it off their plates, uneaten, into the trash can? Jesus never said that the door to heaven is through suffering. Actually, the door to heaven–or if you will, happiness–is through personal responsibility.

The world gives tribulation. My response is to be of good cheer. Why? Because Jesus has overcome the world.

It’s really that simple.

While the world debates gun control, abortion, states’ rights and racial issues, I refuse to join in and comply with the misery, but instead, take stock of myself and decide what I am going to personally do about guns, abortion, states’ rights and racial issues. Once I discover my approach, I can rejoice and be exceedingly glad. If I’m worried about world events, I probably will work myself into a tizzy.

Children don’t like succotash. When you continue to serve them succotash, you not only are wasting time and money, but you’re turning them into anti-vegetable people.

Human beings don’t like suffering. When you continue to preach suffering and insist it is the only available path, you’re turning them into anti-spiritual people.

Fortunately for me, I grew up and discovered that succotash was not the only vegetable. Also fortunately for me, I read the Bible, and in so doing, discovered that Jesus promoted joy–and not suffering.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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