Walking our Faith: God and Brussels sprouts
Walking our Faith
A few weeks ago, I met a friend at Aurum restaurant on Ridge Street in Breckenridge in time to enjoy their well-known happy hour. During happy hour, everything on the snacks menu is half-price, and being a connoisseur of cheeseburgers, I love Aurum’s French onion cheeseburger. Accompanying it with a half-price glass of red wine makes it all the better.
I like to sit at the long community table because it’s casual and friendly, and I get to sit next to complete strangers and ask about what they’re eating. The night I was there, a group of four friends sitting next to us ordered Aurum’s popular crispy Brussels sprouts with apple cider bacon vinaigrette.
A few days later, the irony of this particular appetizer and its popularity was not lost on me. I remember a time when the thought of Brussels sprouts would make me cringe as it was associated it with the smell of boiled cabbage because, of course, that was the most popular way to serve them in my youth.
Brussels sprouts have enjoyed a surge in popularity because we’ve learned how to properly cook them. I roast them in the oven with a sprinkling of olive oil to bring out their natural nutty sweetness. Aurum’s sweet/sour/salty glaze is the perfect counterpoint, and I applaud Aurum for adding this to their happy hour menu and making this vegetable a star.
It also occurred to me that God and Brussels sprouts might have something in common.
Over the centuries, throughout the world, across cultures and the development of humankind, we have attempted to understand God by creating religious beliefs that reflect our understanding of the divine mystery according to our own development.
Our view of God and, in particular, the way in which we choose to worship God or recognize God in our own communities reflects how we see ourselves. And so, we have God of the soaring cathedral and formal service on one end of the spectrum, and on the other, we have God of the rock band and disco lights and preachers in thousand-dollar sneakers.
Like the much-maligned Brussels sprout, I believe this is because we we attempt to dress up our religious beliefs to suit our current cultural tastes, to make God more palatable to a “modern” audience. Of course, there are good intentions behind these efforts in an increasingly secular society where church attendance is down, Bible reading outside of Sunday services is almost nonexistent, and there seems to be a growing trend in some developed countries to not believe in God at all.
When we think of God, we may believe to make God more relevant is to dress God up to reflect current societal interests. And so, we have a prosperity God, a political God, an intellectual God and a culturally conservative God, who is often at odds with our liberal God.
Instead, I would like us to think about the vegetable instead of the sauce. We have made brussels sprouts delicious, but that hasn’t changed the underlying goodness and nutritional value of the vegetable. Brussels sprouts have always been good for us, just as Mom said.
I feel the same way about God. God has always been good for us, and no matter how we dress him up to make him more attractive to current trends in society, we’re really missing the point. God is always the same. He is the Alpha, the Omega. God was, is, and ever will be, love, goodness and good for us.
Perhaps what we need to look for is not how to make a relationship with God more culturally or politically relevant, but instead to realize a personal relationship with God is as important to our existence and is as essential to our personal and societal health as the nutritional value of the food we eat.
Like all good habits, it only requires a few minutes a day to start. A moment of silent prayer before I turn over the ignition of my car. Opening the Bible app on my phone and reading the verse of the day. Perhaps making a point of rereading it a couple more times during the day to memorize it. And when I climb into bed and settle my head on the pillow, thinking of three ways God blessed me during the day and saying, “Thanks, God.”
When I someday understand a daily relationship with God — through prayer, through reading the Bible — is as essential to my health and well-being as eating and breathing, I will see my life and community transformed in beautiful and meaningful ways. I hope you’ll join me.
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Walking our Faith” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson is the author of 10 novels and nonfiction books on faith. She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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