June 04 2013

Waffle House

When I was chokered by neck-ties and theology for a living, a man–a good man–informed me that  “doctrine is the foundation of the church, and doctrines, by nature, divide.” He was speaking most specifically to the reasons why conversations with the charismatics at the Waffle House were non-productive, and to why his friends were predominately of a certain evangelical stripe.

When I was chokered by neck-ties and theology for a living, a man–a good man–informed me that “Kennedy and King might have been well-meaning, but if you keep writing essays about the passions of liberals, you’re going to cause division here.” He was speaking most particularly to a piece I had written about the beauty of men who traded small lives for larger causes. I suppose that patriotism and civil liberties are divisive, too.

But I reckon I read the Good Book, and in it, there was a man–a genuinely Good man–and he blazed a trail here to be my big brother. He was sent from my father, so the Good Book says, and I reckon that he came to teach us a few things about living together as siblings. For his first experiment, he brought together a zealot and a tax collector. I’ve read the story about the zealot and the tax collector, and best I can tell, neither ever cut the other, which was a miracle as grand as the whole water-to-wine thing, I suppose.

He left us–the siblings–words about meekness and humility. He asked us to be poor within ourselves.  He asked us to be praying folks; he even asked us to pray for our enemies. If we’re supposed to take prayer that far, I reckon he’d ask us Baptists to pray for the charismatics, too. Perhaps he’d asks the progressives to tolerate the conservatives. He’d ask the feminists to pray for the complementarians.

And so on. And so forth.

Once, the Big Brother prayed for unity. I don’t recall him praying for Baptists or Methodists, for those who waited for true love or those who didn’t, for the reformed or those blessed with free will. I think his prayer was more along the lines of “Father let them share bacon and prayer at the Waffle House; let them bring my message of peace and redemption to the waitress so that the Good News will go forward.” Of course, all the theological chokering of my youth may have cut off the circulation to the better parts of my thinking. I might’ve missed the more divisive prayer. It might be somewhere in there.

I reckon.


One of the grand privileges I have in managing the Deeper Church network, is the privilege of directing traffic outward. Lately, I’ve read some posts by folks–good folks–who are trying to ratchet down their personal rhetoric. I appreciate their attempts to recenter, to come back to the foundation.

So, without further adieu, follow me to the following posts:

Tim Willard, “Freedom From The Inner Ring”

Nish Weiseth, “A Note for Those in the Valley”

Preston Yancey, “When I Have Made Altars of Sand in Want of Stone”

John Blase, “The Test”

Photo by hoyasmeg, Creative Commons via Flickr.


  1. No, you reckon right, you didn’t miss a divisive petition because its not in there.

    But there will be a reckoning I’m afraid, one of these days. Maybe its already begun, not via horses and sabers, but in the hearts of those shedding neckties and ninny thinking for something sweeter, something richer by far.

  2. Good words, all. Thanks for the directions. I’d share bacon and waffles with the lot of you, homemade, surrounded with prayers. What a meal that would be! :)

  3. Very sweetly done.

  4. Perfect reckoning I’d said
    and there will be a day reckoning too
    where He will hold us to the words we’ve spoken
    and misrepresented Him
    and I pray we come into alignment with His truth
    before that final day
    He loved, He asks us to do the same
    in the house, the church, the street and yes, in Waffle Houses everywhere!

  5. For sure, unity in the Body is essential and desired by Christ for us, but the hard, divisive questions have their place too. I wonder if more would be drawn backto peaceful fellowship if they didn’t feel that embracing “unity” would mean they had to stop caring about answers to hard questions.

    Do you suppose there’s a catalyst that would allow us to hold both peace and passion at once?

  6. I reckon you are dead right. Thank you for putting it out there (here?) so well and so kindly. And you know, I do pray for those with whom I disagree. I wonder. . . do they pray for me? Sometimes I wonder.


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