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Posts Tagged ‘salt’

Salt is a seasoning that makes things taste better through its chemical interactions with the food. And yet, in this age of health anxiety, we have started to withhold salt from our diet even though exercise could be just as effective. Have we removed salt from conversations too?

Colossians 4:6
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

When was the last time I sat around with some people and just talked? I mean talked about ideas and possibilities, spirituality or sorrow, hope or despair. When has the conversation started heading one way and my comments moved it another, giving it a new flavor, a new point of view . . . with grace.

Now, I don’t mean those times when proselytizing starts or the 4 Spiritual Laws pamphlets come out of the handbag or a litany of “Praise the Lords” drop in after every remark like a Greek chorus or HipHop melody.

I’m interested in knowing if the truth of me, Spirit-filled and intertwined with the Christ within, has acted as a true flavoring, bringing out the best in others while giving grace and acceptance to any hardened hearts around me.

So much is out there that teaches us how to control a conversation, close the deal, get to “yes,” influence, convince or convert people, win friends, or filibuster until people can’t stand it anymore.

When my daughter, new to this country at 15, went to high school with little or no English, she bemoaned how hard it was to make friends. We chalked it up to ESL (English as a Second Language) and assumed things would get better as her language skills improved. And to some degree that was true and yet, it never became easy for her. Truthfully, I am amazed teenagers have any friends at all considering that most of their conversations tend to be about themselves and rarely about the other, unless they are drilling down into the behavior, looks, attitude or boyfriend of a mutual “other” (i.e. gossiping).

I shared with her a handy book I found called How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends by Don Gabor. I encouraged her to try the author’s technique but she found it unmanageable. And why? Because the essence of his technique was to ask lots of questions about the other person and listen to the answers. It’s letting go of feeling it necessary to reciprocate data for data, fact for fact, personal story for personal story. This is the grace part of conversation.

Perhaps it’s time for me to reread this book myself. Or maybe, like here, scripture has been saying it all along: Grace and salt, kindness and joy, love and humor, forgiveness and knowledge, patience and wisdom.

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I should write a book: “My Favorite Bible Metaphors.” There are a zillion ways that Jesus used to communicate with the people about faith and the Kingdom of God from seeds to light to fish to sheep to salt to cooking. These word pictures were then passed down through stories. They still work today.

Galatians 5:7, 9
You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? . . . “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”

One of my good friends bakes bread several times a week to provide this staple for her family. Her father baked it for their family when she was growing up and it’s a tradition she has continued. Whenever I think of yeast-rising bread, I think of her.

I did my own stint at bread making some years ago. At first, the hand method (which is preferable) and eventually to a bread machine. The smell would envelop our house. I actually gave up the practice because my husband and I were devouring a loaf a day and our waists followed suit. But it might be time, with teens in the house, to return to this simple practice of adding yeast, working dough, watching it rise, and then shaping into a tasty loaf. There’s something a little “zen” about it.

Bread of all kinds is staple for all cultures. Everyone understands the yeast/dough image. It only takes a small amount of yeast to transform bread from flour, salt and water. Yeast affects all the dough. It too transforms itself to have the effect.

As a metaphor, it is a simple message. In Galatians, Paul refers to the “yeast” of a misleading but charismatic preacher who was drawing the original Christ believers back toward Jewish law, particularly circumcision.

It only takes one person to change a group. It only takes one to deadlock a jury. It only takes one to break consensus. It only takes one to undermine a team. It only takes one to start a war. But it also works the other way, it can be the one who motivates a group to higher challenges, or one to bring a family back together, or one to inspire a nation, or one to raise the flag of peace, or one to be the watchman crying out a warning.

Many years ago, I was on a women’s retreat and we were all assigned to a certain discussion group that would meet and discuss the teaching sessions. (For those in the know, this format is used in a variety of parachurch organizations like Cursillo, Walk to Emmaus, Tres Dias, and so forth.) The first day I was sure I was assigned to the wrong group. Each woman came with so much baggage, even the assigned facilitators were a mess. The first couple of discussion sessions were painfully dull or fraught with misunderstandings and confusion. I cried. Can’t anyone see I’m miserable? Can’t I change to that happy group over there? Can’t I be with the fun group on the far side of the room, or the clever group behind us? Finally, God “smacked me up side the head!” And I literally heard a voice from within say, “It’s you! You! You are not being the yeast or the salt.” I had come to that retreat experience with some expectations, not realizing that I wasn’t entering the story. I was sitting back and waiting for story to come to me. When I finally engaged fully and lovingly, everything changed. By the end of that weekend, our group became the most impacted, the most cohesive, warm, and authentic. There was much healing.

Lord, give me courage to be yeast in the right circumstances. And when it’s yeast coming against me, help me jump out of the bowl. 🙂

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John 3:17 (Amplified edition)
For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.

How many of us have forgotten that the Son didn’t come just “to save” us as individuals but for the sake of the world. Just like the world in the time of Noah, we have been on a crash course for ruin. And everything has suffered: the animals, the landscape, the oceans, the weather, the children … everything. So God sent his “only Son” to make a supreme sacrifice so that the law of sowing and reaping could be nullified for anyone who believed in Him. This process is not just so you and I can go to “heaven” when we give our bodies back to the Earth. This “deal” was made for the whole world. This was a supernatural transaction.

Those of us who have believed are in the recovery business…. recovering that which has been lost.
We are in the lighting business… shining in the dark places.
We are in the food business… bringing savor (salt) to the tasteless.
We are in the hydro business… bringing streams of water to the dry places.
We are in the messenger business… bringing the good news that the Kingdom of God is near.

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