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The Cross & Cleaver: Go Beyond Yourself

I used to passionately believe in the saying that: “You cannot cut cabbage thick, season it well, and call it a steak.” I used to be a purist. Steak was beef, chops were pork or lamb, and cabbage was … well … cabbage. Mine was a very black-and-white, right-or-wrong, binary worldview.

Such thinking I applied to food, fashion (pocket square cannot be made of the same material as your tie – if you care) and, of course, religion.

Politics, food, and religion, as I see it, are the most binary thinking realms of our existence. Most of us are probably familiar with variations on “YOU CANNOT … believe it, think it, cook it, or eat it, and BE this or that!” We heard such words, perhaps we uttered them, or both.

The word “Christian” strikes home for me, for obvious reasons. According to some, unless I believe in the certain understanding of God and Jesus, unless I read the Bible certain way … I am not a Christian. Frankly, I am not sure how much I care what somebody else thinks about my faith. Or most of my cooking for that matter. There are, of course, certain basic rules and requirements. For cooking or religion alike. Yet within those rules, to quote from one of our hymns: “There is room for all, in the shadow of God’s wings.”

What do you think?

Imagine you are having a BBQ, having friends over. Suddenly a new neighbour (who does not know you from proverbial Adam) shouts at you across the fence that since there is no beef, or any meat, on that grill, you are not actually having a BBQ. Myself, while resisting the temptation to suggest an alternate location for the skewer in my hand, I would hopefully muster the grace to invite the said neighbour over. To commune with me in tasting my food, to ask me questions about my food, or understanding myself as a Christian. To get to know me, and for me to get to know my neighbour. I am sure you get the drift and analogy 😉.

Many people are uncomfortable with such ideas as “meatless ham”, “progressive Christianity”, “vegan shrimps”, “pansexual”, “plant-based chicken wings”,” transgender” or “… substitute” or anything else that takes us outside of our comfort zone etc. etc.

Yet – our brothers and sisters, our neigbours, other human beings subscribe to that which makes us uncomfortable. They are nourished by it, and it enables them to be whole. Can we be so arrogant and self-righteous as to deny them that? You don’t have to eat it! But … do you have to diss it?

To enter the realm of “the other,” to dialogue with a person we disagree with, takes courage and humility. So here is an invitation and a challenge for you.

  1. Look up an idea you disagree with, for whatever reason. Be it dietary, political, or religious. Read an article or two. Avoid looking up that which will confirm you already think.
  1. Have a cabbage roast for dinner one day:
  • Preheat oven to 450° F.
  • Cut mid-sized cabbage into 8 wedges, cutting along the core.
  • Place on the baking pan on their round ends.
  • Drizzle generously with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlick powder, and your favourite BBQ rub/seasoning.
  • Pop in the oven for approx. 15 minutes watching for tasty charring but not inedible burning.
  • Serve with garlick mashed potatoes and salad of thickly sliced tomatoes dressed with olive oil and vinegar of your choosing.

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