Playing chicken

I’m not generally a big fan of fast food. I understand the appeal, but I don’t find it that appealing. I appreciate flavours that have had time to develop, to marinate their way through my food, to marry themselves into something new and wonderful.

But I get it.

There was a time when I ate more fast food, when something quick, easy, inexpensive, which hit the high notes of salty and sweet and went down in a mouthful fit the bill for me.

There was also a time when I didn’t appreciate, or understand, or even consider the idea that my childhood fantasy of marriage – the boy, the girl, Prince Charming and the Disney princess of choice – was not the only model available or viable.

It took time for my ideas to change, to develop, to marinate and marry with those of some of the best friends that I encountered in my early adult life. It took falling into lifelong friendship with a gay man who was undoubtedly made by God for love and a faithful relationship; falling into friendship with a woman who stood patiently by me while I too slowly worked out who she was, who I was, and how we were related to one another as women together, friends, colleagues, regardless of sex and sexuality.

It took time; more than I’d like. I’ll admit that.

But the wait was worth it, for me (and I apologize to everyone else for my tardiness and thank you for your patience), to be introduced and welcomed into a variety of families of love and faith which I value at least as much as the next family-values aficionado. Family values, to me, means valuing families, whether or not they look just like my own (and God help them if they do).

Now, when I read fast theology, fast-food bites of slogans like “traditional family,” “biblical marriage,” it makes me very uncomfortable; I get indigestion of the soul. I know well enough that “tradition” is not enough; that love, generosity, reaching beyond boundaries, acceptance are essential to my own family’s life together.) And biblical marriage – which marriage? Abraham’s? Jacob’s? Ruth’s? Mary and Joseph’s? David’s? – oh my goodness, have we heard some stories about David’s marital escapades these last few Sundays that would make your hair curl!

These slogans, these short cuts are not short. They are not fast. They do not satisfy, because they do not take the time to explain the developments, the dancing, the delightful diversity which populates the history of God’s own people.

Jesus said that it was easy enough to love those who love us. The challenge with which he left us is to love our enemies, and to pray for those who persecute us.

So I appeal to you, wherever you stand on fast food chicken, to take the time to stop and pray for those you consider to be your enemies, those who would persecute you. Ask for God’s grace to bring the mystery of peace to bear in difficult times; for God’s love to conquer any lingering hatred. Take the time to stop and pray, to savour the Spirit of God as she leads you into the love of God and the peace that passes understanding.

To paraphrase another quick and easy slogan: Consider making love, not fast and furious fries.

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing (Upper Room Books, 2020). She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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