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  • "A Musing Pastor"

The Old Has Gone. The New Has Come.

Recipes? We don't need no stinking recipes!

The other day, I needed to make something and apple butter was my choice. Scouring my computer, I finally found the saved recipe for yummy apple butter. Do we have cinnamon? Check! Nutmeg? Check! Salt? Check! Ground Clove? Check! Sugar? Wow three cups of sugar? Yes, check! Crockpot? Check! Apples? Whoops, nope. So, I went to the store, bought two bags of apples, and came home to start the project.

Apple butter is a special treat that one savors when eaten. You know how your taste buds react when hot cloves hit your tongue or when cinnamon dries your mouth and you choke uncontrollably. I especially like the strong taste of salt when I eat my apple butter. The large chunks of half-cooked apple are okay but not nearly as enjoyable as the pungent nutmeg.

You must think I have lost my mind. I have. Fact is, when you follow the recipe and add all the ingredients listed above together and cook for about 8 hours, the finished product is much more delectable. We call it the 'melting pot' approach. All the ingredients mix together to produce something bigger, broader, and more complex that all the individual ingredients.

I remember the undergraduate class I sat in about 14 years ago and heard the prof talk about our new emerging American culture. She spoke of a 'salad bowl' approach. She spoke of immigrants coming to America and becoming citizens of their new country but maintaining their heritage. Um, okay. That sounded like a favorable outcome. She went on to explain that old ways of enculturation would disappear. She mentioned the old model called the 'melting pot' approach to citizenry. No longer would people from all countries come to America and be called just Americans. They would no longer solely identify with the country they are coming to but rather hang onto and seek to reproduce their individual heritages within the bounds of America.

Trying to reconcile this idea of 'salad bowl' enculturation with my faith in Jesus Christ has been somewhat of a challenge. I was once lost in sin, filthy dirty, and hopeless. I came to a new place of peace and said yes to Jesus Christ. I acknowledged my sin and great need of saving. I confessed and repented. I was offered the grace of God and became a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). My old identity was no longer recognizable (In fact, it disappeared) and the deformed image of God within me (That which was damaged by my sins) was restored and identifiable once again.

When I said yes to Jesus Christ, I chose to relinquish my old identity. My new identity was a new chapter in my life and faith journey. I sought to claim all the benefits of this new life in Christ. Oft times I look back and see who I was and shudder. It wasn't who I wanted to be and there was a bonafide reason I came to faith in Jesus.

"You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have

clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for

you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:26-28, NIV)

My family does not still walk around brandishing the flag of Wales and Scotland. While our family originated from there, upon arriving in America, they assumed a new identity. I don't walk around promoting all my sin-filled days gone by. Why would I? I march forward waving the flag of the cross for it is the symbol that reminds me I'm not who I used to be and for that I am eternally grateful! My new identity is a Holy identity.

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