Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Doctrinal Buffets

My grandfather was a fisherman, so naturally he loved fish. While we were still living in Romania, at least four meals per week included fish, and whether it was pike, catfish, carp or sardines, grandpa always made it taste good.
It was only upon our arrival to America however, that my grandfather discovered shrimp. To say that he loved shrimp, would be an understatement. He found a restaurant that had a shrimp buffet twice a week, and whenever we were not on the road, it was inevitable that he would take us boys, myself and my two little brothers, and treat us to the shrimp buffet. It wasn't by any stretch of the imagination a high end place, the shrimp wasn't even de-veined, but what could one expect from a buffet dinner that cost under seven dollars? We didn't know any different anyhow, and we got to spend some time with grandpa, which was always a highlight.
A few years later, after I had learned a little something about this new place we now called home, after buying my first car at auction, fixing it up, and selling it for a nice profit, I decided to treat my grandfather to a real shrimp dinner, at a real restaurant.
Needless to say, he enjoyed the experience immensely, amazed at the fact that the shrimp came to the table already de-veined. He noticed that it tasted fresher, better and more appetizing, even though it wasn't all you can eat.
If the old adage, 'you get what you pay for', is true of the restaurant business, it is also true of most of the doctrines floating around the grand doctrinal buffet, sitting under the heat lamps, having been sneezed upon, prodded, reheated and passed over, until some unwitting soul thinks, 'hey, that looks good enough to eat.'
Too often, men find only after they've consumed large quantities from the doctrinal buffet, that it only satiates their hunger for a short while, an from time to time they get stomach aches, and break out into cold sweats just as an added bonus.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking buffets, in fact, especially when I'm traveling I tend to hit the trucks top buffets quite often, in large part due to the speed with which I can eat something, then be on my way. I do not walk in expecting to savor a gourmet meal, nor am I expecting something extraordinarily tasty, in fact I'm quite content simply if I don't get sick after. So why do I still go to the buffets? It's all about getting in and out as fast as possible.
Today men seem to view doctrine in much the same fashion I view buffets in general, as something to fill their soul as quickly as possible, so they can get back to the business of life. Because they pay so little attention to what they are allowing into their hearts, its only when the lack of substance is made evident, either by trials, hardships or lack of relationship with Christ, that they realize they may have consumed something that wasn't good for them, and in fact did them harm.
Empty doctrine will fill you temporarily, but it will not sustain you. No matter how much you ingest, no matter how much you consume, there will always be that perpetual emptiness that can only be filled by the truth of God's holy word.
What we must remember, is that every morsel of doctrine we ingest, must be filtered through our system, and no matter how good your system is working, or how healthy it may be, the doctrine always leaves something of itself behind. Soon, we discover that we have grown spiritually heavy, we are burdened and weighed down, and don't know how this happened.
Eat enough junk, and you will inevitably do damage to yourself, and given enough gluttonous consumption of false doctrine, perhaps irreparable damage.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.


Elm Street Chapel said...

Interesting choice of simile, Michael. One could gourge on a spiritual buffet that could/will kill, bloat, diet, starve, make sick, give gas, give perfect health, anything, you could go anywhere with it.

What it brought to my mind was my spiritual life, as I suspect was your desire. Interesting that when one is raised in a faith heavily steeped in there own proud gravy. And the 45 minute service is the time limit to eat. The background music is gothic. The decor is full of dead peoples pictures and images that the patrons are encouraged to honor and talk to. The buffet contains very little food of nutritional value, lots of heavily breaded food, greasy with tradition. The head chef refuses to prepare any other foods than the franchise approves of. The diners are fine with the meal because they don't have to do anything but show up and eat. It's the exact same food that there parents ate. Nothing new to taste, ever. Most who eat it are told that the food everywhere else will kill them. Plus if you eat elsewhere you may not be welcomed back. No it's not Denny's.

I can't tell you how many times the vision of the water gushing from the mountain top as the pure word of God has blessed me. It's the location of my diner. It is the place I discovered, or was guided to, years ago. It is always fresh, wholesome, so delicious and satisfying, words connot explain, it's heavenly. It is what God has for the hungry and thirsty, if they only knew, or only cared.
P.S. Micheal it may be a little over the top. If it doesn't make the cut I fully understand.

Anonymous said...

Michael, I know exactly what you are saying....just this morning I had a conversation with my ten year old son as I was packing his lunch for school and it relates to your blog.
Children today seem to have become extremely fussy when it comes to food. If it doesn't come in colourful packaging, laden with sugar, salt and flavour enhancers, then it will be disgarded. When I stopped working outside the home, I retrained my son to enjoy homecooked meals and snacks. He knows now, that the ingredients are chosen by me, wholesome, no susipcious chemically numbered additives, and whilst perhaps plainer and less attractive, he can watch me make them every step of the way. Some of his friends who visit will not even taste a homemade biscuit or cake, because they don't recognise it. Perhaps it just doesn't look as exciting, or it doesn't have packaging with a Shrek giveaway or something....
I thought, that is so like the church today, just as you illustrated, Michael.
I received a glossy booklet not long ago, from a church I used to attend. It had beautiful photos of beautiful people, advertising action packed was the ultimate packaging. But sadly the name of Jesus was mentioned only once in the whole booklet, with no mention whatsoever of the Gospel (sin, the Cross, the Blood, heaven, hell, repentance or any of those choice ingredients) Rather it was all sugar, flavour enhancers and packaging. But it has become a very big church! Just as artificial food becomes addictive, so does false doctrine. It is the yeast that spreads.... (hope I didn't ramble too much)

Anonymous said...

Afamine is coming in the natural and spiritual realm.
Pictue your favorite food store ,buffet resturant empty without even a twig on the shelf to eat.
I think the only food we wil have spiritually to eat is what the Lord will provide for us.
We have a few examples of this spiritual and physical famine from God's word and it is wrong to assume we will not encounter this reality soon.
When Paul and Silas were in prison as your granfather was the Lord sent His angels to minister to them of his heavenly spiritual food.
When Elijah was hungry and the buffet was closed ,the Lord provided good meal's and he didn't even have to leave a tip.
The spiritual famine has already begun, there is no real edible food in most churches ,just cardboard packaging and colorful plastice wrap which please the eyes alone.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking time to post this blog.


Unknown said...

How true you speak Mike. I thank God He had patience with a prodigal who wandered for 35 yrs in and out of the wilderness. I would come out of it for varying periods, but allowed myself to drift too much - because of dissatisfaction with what I was being fed a lot of the time.Keep at it Mike! Like you shared in your dream of meeting your grandfather after he'd passed 6 yr before, God planted you and He'll be responsible for the fruit.