Alrighty folks.  This one came from this week’s Exegete.

Appropriate music to listen in the background: True Blood Sountrack, London Calling, or the Tallis Scholars.

Appropriate accent to affect in head while reading: Generic Southern.

This, on St. Paul’s commentary to the church at Corinth, concerning whether or not to eat meat sacrificed to other gods… (1 Corinthians 8:1-13)

Once upon a time there was a Voodoo Chicken.  It was known as Voodoo Chicken because it was used in a vaudun ritual, but you know, it was also marinated afterwards in the most mouthwatering fashion.  And you know, a dinner party is a dinner party.  You can’t fault your host for their odd taste in religious piety when they serve mouthwateringly good roasted chicken.  Some of us like to say a little, unobtrusive blessing over our food, but to each their own, right?  And since we all know (in our separate religions) that ours is the only right one, there’s no harm in letting other people attempt to invoke a god that doesn’t actually exist, so live and let live. And pass the chicken.

This is all well and good when you’re surrounded by people who are firm in their faith, whatever that faith may be.  The Vauduns know that eating the Voodoo Chicken will bring them closer to fine, and the Christians know that the Vauduns really know how to roast a chicken or twelve, and that their own understanding of God requires neither chicken nor lack of chicken for Divine Union.

However, it all goes to hell in a hand basket but quick when you’ve got newbies in your midst.  Newbies get a little rabid, you know, and they’re really clear about wanting to get things Perfectly Correct and Appropriate.  It really hits the fan when your newbie is their oldie.  Then you’ve got someone looking at your enjoyment of the damn chicken (whose not actually damned, just damned inconvenient) and their knee jerk reaction is that you’re getting a little closer to fine, when it’s really just the seasonings.  Now, these newbies know it’s not Divine Union, because our God doesn’t go in for Chicken.  This is about the time that the confusion and resentment sets in.  Perhaps there’s even some serious doubt about the bigger things of life – they are newbies, remember.

So, you know. Practice discretion.  Not because there’s anything wrong with the Om Nommy goodness of the Vaudun’s chicken dinners, but because in the long run, is your gastronomical satisfaction really worth causing that much angst amongst the newbies? Give the Voodoo Chicken a pass while they’re in the room, for heaven’s sake.   You can always have some next week.