Sharon – The Hamburger Discourse

Plain old McDonalds

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Hamburger Discourse

Hamburger DiscourseSharon – The Hamburger Discourse

“It don’t get much better than this, ” Robert exclaimed, as he ate his first burger.

They were sitting at a concrete picnic table at city park.
“You sound like a beer commercial, Reverend, but no, it doesn’t. You know Bob, it truly does amaze me that the Lord took so long to get around to inventing the hamburger.”

“He had to wait for Texas, first.”

“Texas?”

“Yeah. The hamburger as we know it today, was first enjoyed in a little town called Athens, Texas. I ate a hamburger there once, you know, in their honor.”

“Was it good?”

“Big Mac. Same as New York, L. A.”

They both laughed. John chewed a little, “Do you suppose that’s the way the Gospel got out.”

“What you mean?”

“I mean Paul, the tent maker. He goes, and begins his missionary journey. He expounds this wonderful new concept he’s found somewhere out on the Damascus Road. Well, all by himself, Paul isn’t much. In fact, he finally gets himself killed. Then, a few centuries later, ‘McDonald’s’ picks up the message, and they package it, and sell it to everyone, and no one really has the original at all. It’s nothing like the form that Paul preached about. It’s a pre-packaged, pre-shrunk, one size fits all Christianity. Then, about sixteen-hundred years later, we came along and gave the world the ‘new improved Christianity.’ Do you think that’s the way it happened.”

“I think it evolved. You see, John, the faith is alive! Even in my short lifetime, I’ve seen major changes in the faith. Oh, we hold to the old truths, sure, but there is more. In the early days of the Reformation, there was a real danger of the Catholic Church bullying the smaller denominations out of existence. They had real political power back then. But now, no. Sometimes, I even listen to what they’re saying.”

“Like what?”

“Well,” Robert looked around jokingly, as if to see if no one was listening, “like the communion of the Saints. Do you know what that is?”

“No, I really don’t.”

“Well, it’s the belief that we are all a community of believers, both alive, and in the other world. You notice how I didn’t say ‘dead.’ In God’s eyes, you don’t change when you die, you just get closer. And, this community of believers communicates with each other, and prays with each other, and loves one another. No barrier, no real separation.”

“They can hear you.”

“I think they hear you when you talk directly to them. Oh, they don’t hear every single thing that every single person says. Kind of like one of those ‘on-line’ services where you can include, or exclude messages. You don’t want sexual material, you just cross it off. Folks got to have their privacy.”

“And what about Mary?”

“Boy! Why don’t you ask me something easy?”

“C’mon, you started it.”

“Poor little ol’ Mary always gets beat up when Catholics, and non Catholics get together. First thing out of the hat. Well, here goes. Yeah! Just like any other saint in Heaven, I think she can hear us. Now, the difference comes in when you start asking her to do magic tricks and such. Scripture tells us that there is one mediator between God, and man, and that’s the man Jesus!”

“But, if she is there, and is His mother, wouldn’t he listen to her?”

“Well, yes, but how much do you think her advice would weigh up against His decisions?”

“She’s his mother.”

“You always do what your mother says?”

“Jesus is the perfect son.”

“Jesus is also God!”

“Do you think these people really see her?”
“I knew you been over there at that church a sniffin’ incense. I don’t know if people see her.”

“OK, OK, do you think it’s possible for a person to see her?”

“Look, let’s look at it this way. How many Baptists see Mary? Hummmmm? Only Catholics, and then only under very questionable circumstances. I’ve never seen Mary, have you?”

“No, but I’ve seen someone like her, Bob. You know, I’m really having some problems with the faith right now. This stop has really put some stuff on me.”

“You notice how you are not saying that you’re having problems with your faith, but with the faith. You still believe, don’t you, Johnny?”

“Yes, of course. Bob, do you think that I can loose my salvation?”

“No! Absolutely not! No one can snatch God’s chosen ones from his hand. Now, he may slap us on occasion, but he never throws us out, or allows us to be plucked from his hand.”

“Can we walk away, Bob?”

This was turning into a very heavy hamburger for Robert, but he knew that this was why he was here in the first place. It was his job to steer this young preacher onto the proper path.

“I’ve seen preacher’s try to walk away. I ain’t never seen ’em succeed, though. Once you are a preacher, you’re always a preacher. I remember a preacher friend of mine, years ago. He started in a little auxiliary church off of my daddy’s back home. He had a little flock, about ten, and he preached in a one room house we had out in the boonies. He got mad at some at some gossip goin’ ’round, and he up and quit one day. He just walked away.”

“A couple of years later, I’d done forgot all about him, I heard he had cancer. A cancer in his leg. Well, they took the leg off. Then he got cancer in the other leg, and they had to take that one off, too. Then he got cancer in the lung, the liver, everywhere. They couldn’t take them off, so he ended up at the V. A. hospital. He laid there all alone, he wife wouldn’t even go and see him. The nurses told me he died preaching a real ‘bell- ringing’ sermon to the walls of that empty room at the V. A.”

“I wondered about that. How could God do that to one of his servants. But then, he did that to Peter, Paul, and who knows how many others. He told us at the last supper, his father was like a gardener. He prunes some branches, and some branches he cuts off. the way I see it, if a branch never bears any fruit, well, God’ll just cut it off, but if a branch has ever bore any fruit what so ever, then he’ll prune, and prune, ’till the branch bears more. He pruned that preacher literally. But, I was always encouraged by his last moments. Preaching to the wall. You know what that means, Johnny? That means he finished his last sermon right in front of Jesus himself! No better end for a preacher.”

“Stories like that always make me wonder, Bob. Like that crippled guy the first night of this revival. So happy, but no life at all. Wheelchair. And I know I’m supposed to understand all these things, but sometimes, frankly, I don’t.”

“Evil.”

“What?”

“Evil in the world, Johnny. When Satan caused the fall, he didn’t just mess us up, he messed up everything. God created a good world. He was pleased with it. Satan didn’t want to just get us, he wanted to discredit everything the Lord had done. Take the Garden of Eden for instance. Now I don’t know if you believe
in a physical garden or not, but I think you’ll agree that the weather there must’ve been good.”

John agreed.

“Well, I think that the early earth had a more pleasant climate. Now, I know a lot of scientists would shout me down, but I’m an old preacher so indulge me a little. Anyway, after the fall, even the weather went nuts! Storms, floods, all such things. The Lord Jesus himself told us that in the last days these calamities will multiply, until it’s almost unbearable, and then He’ll come. See, it’s been a growing, and a growing, ever since the fall, whatever that fall may have been. Once, a perfect world, then, a not so perfect one.”

“Some folks may tell you the ‘fall’ was man showing up at all.”

“They may be closer to the truth than we know.
They both got out another burger. Robert went on, “Do you believe in evolution?”

John laughed, “I am a minister of the Baptist faith. You think I believe in evolution?”

“I don’t know, that’s why I asked.”

“No, I’m a creationist. I believe that God did create the world as it is now.”

Robert never looked up from his hamburger, “I believe in evolution.”

“What?”

“Uh huh. I believe in evolution.”

“Well, tell me this Reverend Hunter. How do you get up there, and preach from the Bible when you believe in evolution?”

Robert looked straight at John, “I don’t. I sing.”

 

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