What really matters
I was drizzling ketchup on my french fries today at Steak 'n' Shake and was reminded, as I am whenever I do that, of a conversation I had some years ago with our then-Scoutmaster in another Steak 'n' Shake. He remarked that his daughter would take great exception to what I had just done, even more so if anyone presumed to put ketchup on her
fries. For her, as for many people, ketchup must be poured in a pool on a clean part of the plate, in order that each french fry may be properly dredged with the right amount of ketchup, by hand. There is no other way; compromise, live-and-let-live, when-in-Rome, non disputandem de gustibus
are out of the question.
If you think that's attaching too much importance to minor stuff (small potatoes, indeed), I am also reminded of my daughter telling about her summer on staff at Philmont, where everybody
on staff -- nay, everybody in the backcountry -- had an opinion about how bacon should be cooked. The partisans of Crispy vs. Chewy made Packers vs. Cowboys or Republicans vs. Democrats look apathetic in their loyalties.
Ice or No Ice. Mustard or mayo. Ford or Chevy. Which way the toilet paper unrolls. People have strong opinions about many things which turn out to be of no particular importance. Yet, on matters of faith and morals, they will shrug and say, What does it matter? Isn't it all the same?
I'm not saying that I attach a lot of importance to the superficial differences between religious folk. Robes vs. suits, hymns vs. choruses, even Protestant vs. Catholic, don't stir me much. But the old question, What think ye of Christ?
matters enormously. Who is your God? In what do you hope? And what are you willing to do -- or do without -- in order to serve that God? These are not indifferent matters.
The task of the Church is to help people identify what really matters, especially in comparison to all the stuff that really doesn't. The preaching of the Gospel is intended to bring people face to face with the claims of Jesus Christ, in order that they might surrender their lives to him and follow him, no matter the cost, until the day they meet him face to face in eternity.