A Reflection on Diverse Community and Mere Christianity
By Jason Moore
Ever ask yourself if the Waffle House serves salad? In all my years on the road traveling with four other guys in a rock n’ roll band and countless Waffle House stops, this question had, oddly, never come up. These are the types of questions that only arise when we’re living in a diverse community. Thanks to Elizabeth Zadig and a 16-hour road trip to Chicago, our “community” composed of a rector, a retired rocker, and their amazing wives discovered the answer.
The conversation began as we brought my father’s conversion van, “The Chariot,” in for a gas and food landing somewhere in Kentucky. Discussing our options and preferences, Elizabeth’s one request was deceptively simple: “anywhere that has a salad.” Well, since Al and I spied the Waffle House sign, and wanted to “do this road trip right,” we declared confidently, “Of course the Waffle House has salad!” Continuing our talk about sure salad prospects, we judged by the stares from the local patrons of the establishment, that it was clear to all, we weren’t exactly “normal;” however, after searching through the menu a bit, sure enough, tucked in a corner of the laminated classic, rested a lonely, healthy option, where it’s been all along I suppose. In case you go looking for it yourself, note that the plain salad is not in the salad section of the menu. Indeed, it doesn’t belong with the real salads like the bacon- chicken- and-cheese or chicken-apple-and-pecan salads; rather, it appears by itself next to the T-bone steak dinner option. So, after a fairly clueless explanation of the finer qualities of the plain salad given by our bewildered waitress at Elizabeth’s request, we placed and received our orders. Then, much to our surprise, after removing the American cheese topping, she pronounced the salad excellent!
Thus, I think we have much to learn from that Waffle House salad. In fact, as believers, we are called to be simple salads because we live in a world that is really good at making waffles so tasty that we forget, or even worse, we don’t even care that they are killing us. The only option for you, me, and our world is right there next to the T-bone steak with no banner or title of its own. It’s not found in the religion section with some God thrown in as the apple and pecan either. It’s the unpopular, simple, and pure way of Christ.
At our next stop in Chicago, we joined 1400 or so fired-up believers from all over in worship and praise. The welcome given to the South Carolina Diocese at the assembly overwhelmed us. While all the praise and worship was phenomenal, my favorite was the African American choir from Resurrected Life in Chicago. Watching my wife, Lori, and Elizabeth soul-sister dance beside Al and Bishop Lawrence who struggled to clap on the 2 and 4 became yet another joy experienced in diverse community!
The highlight of the teaching came on the final night when Archbishop Kwashi from The Church of Nigeria, in a way more powerful than I can ever describe, called on us to repent, to cast out anything in our lives not worthy of our high calling, and to step into anything/place where God is calling–a message that continues to both challenge and encourage me.
Though I enjoyed every breakout session attended, the one offered by United Adoration on songwriting and worship appealed most to me as a musician. The unique mission of United Adoration is to gather musicians and songwriters of all ages and skill levels into community for the purpose of healing. Then, from that place of healing, new songs for the sacramental church flow forth as broken bread and poured-out wine.
As I reflect on our fabulous whirlwind trip, I’m amazed at how good our Lord is! Through this monumental gathering of confessing Anglicans, God has increased my awareness of His work—in me, our rector, our church, our denomination, our nation, and our world. At the same time, I have realized, as Archbishop Kwashi said, part of God’s work is calling His people to repent. Having fallen far short of our high calling, we are desperate for revival, whether we know it or not.
Therefore, fellow believers, let us start living a lifestyle of mere Christianity—the lives of repentance and obedience. Let us choose the way of the simple and pure as that salad minus the American cheese at Waffle House.