Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Salmonella...doesn't it sound like an exotic flower? One that only grows in the rain forests of Southeast Asia? With blooms bigger than your hand, and a bush that grows taller than a man? Doesn't the sound of that name conjure all kinds of beautiful pictures in your mind?

Too bad that's not true. Too bad such a lovely word is tied to such an ugly that makes people really, really sick. Sometimes, even killing them.

Don't worry. I don't have, nor have I ever had, salmonella (though this is strictly due to God's grace, considering my penchant for raw cookie dough...). But in light of the recent concern over peanut butter which might have been contaminated with it, I've been a-thinkin'...

Me? Thinking? You're scared now, aren't you? {wink}

As I understand it (and I have made no great search into the matter, so I could be completely off my rocker here), Nabisco and a number of other companies have issued recalls on a number of their products which were produced by a company whose facility might have accidentally (one would hope!) mixed in a little salmonella with the PB. And here's where the thinking started...

The recall is affecting numerous businesses and many, many families and individuals, all because a tiny bit of this organism got mixed in a bit of PB. Most of the products recalled were probably not affected. It's even possible that none of a given company's products were affected...yet each company is tainted by this tiny bit of disease.

Jump to the illustration: We Americans are FAMOUS world-over for our individualism. In the USA, it's about the I, not the We. We believe in the individual to such an extent that somewhere, fundamentally, we have come to believe that what I do doesn't/shouldn't affect you.

But ya know, that just simply isn't true. What you do WILL affect others, maybe me. Perhaps people you don't even know or haven't met yet.

Take a basic example: If I decide to stop following all traffic laws, that's gonna affect somebody. I will probably have an accident that involves someone other than me. If I miss my own accident, I might cause others to have an accident. What I do bleeds over into the lives of others.

And no where is this more true than in the Church. Why? Because we are ONE BODY. One. We are united in Christ. What I do affects you. What you do affects me. Ever try to talk to someone about Jesus, only to have the door (literally or figuratively) slammed in your face because someone else claiming the name of Jesus got there before you...and it wasn't pretty? I have. Ever have people say to you, "You Christians are so X." Um...maybe I'm not, but somebody associated with the body of Christ was.

I don't know that this is a comfortable truth for American believers to accept. Weeding out our culture from our calling in Christ can be tricky for anyone. But I do believe that on this one, we have generally accepted our culture OVER what God declares as truth. And that, that's a dangerous place to be.

So please know: I recognize that what I do today--how I live, speak, drive, tip, dress, carry myself, sigh even--affects you. So I purpose--firstly for the glory of God, secondly for the health of the Body--to consider this as I tootle my way through life. As it turns out, it matters if even a little bit of salmonella gets in the PB.

Just my thoughts,

"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." --John 17:20-23, NIV

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. --Ephesians 4:3-6, NIV

P.S. For the worriers whose world I just disrupted (sorry about that!), here is the Food and Drug Administration's page on this current outbreak:

(c) 2009


Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

How true my friend! Great thoughts always :)

Beth said...

great post!

Rachel said...

So, I was wondering if this was going to be funny since you had such a great lunch time. But no funnies here.

But once again, your blog is so true. One of those lessons that is hard to teach without having it slammed in your face.

Funny thing - we learned out own little salmonella lesson here. I have weekend cereal and school cereal. I know - I am a wacko. But some cereal is just much better for you and stays with you. Well, I did not say anything about the PB to the kids because I did not think they would eat it. It was weekend cereal. The day being Monday - you know - but of course it was my kids, I should have known. But then I told S not to give any to C and why. She went white. She asked if she was going to get sick. She had eaten for breakfast when she was not supposed to. (the cereal was almost gone by this point, so no real worries. We were all healthy still) But good lesson. You never know when your sneakiness will catch up to you.

Anonymous said...

I am glad that this was only an illustration, whew i was hoping you had not actually gotten sick. But I really appreciate your words. It is so true and living in this eastern environment I realize that even more so here this is part of their life. That is probably where we have gotten into more "troubles" with the culture then any where else. Thanks for the reminder from a Biblical perspective. -- FOSister