Thursday, February 11, 2010

It Could Cost Me My Ordination

I realize that there is a lot at stake in sharing some things publicly and I have to approach today's confession with caution.  There are people's emotions involved and I really don't want to hurt anyone; unfortunately, sometimes we have deviant values and find ourselves led down a treacherous path.  I'm not even sure I can be redeemed, because I'm admittedly unrepentant.  So here goes.  My confession is this:  I am a Baptist Minister and I hate potlucks.  I despise the very idea that I should subject myself and my family to a meal that professes its success to be a matter of chance!

I think "back in the day" there must have been a sense of adventure in attending a potluck.  Will the dishes compliment each other?  Will there be enough fried chicken?  Does everyone have a requisite can of Cream of Mushroom in the pantry?  No one knew that mayonnaise becomes poisen after it sits on the counter for the three hours from Sunday School until after the service.  And there was no $6 buffet you could hit after Easter Service, where each kid can find their own favorite and eat without complaining or insulting your cooking.  Most of the people who still love potlucks remember the old days with fondness.

But those days have past and now the adventure is of a different nature.  There are three words that strike fear in my bowels, "Made From Scratch."  Which translates, "No professional has had any inpact on the outcome of what you are about to ingest."  My potluck horror stories started when I boldly invited my new boyfriend to come to a church potluck on a date (Ha!  Another confession!  Forgive me, I was a poor college student).  I don't know if they announced a theme ahead of time or not, but every single dish on the buffet had incorporated corn.  I shrugged sheepishly to my boyfriend, and scooped up meatloaf with corn, chicken with corn, corn pudding, and brownies with corn sauce.  We choked down a spoonful of each item and he began his love-hate relationship with the Baptist church that continues to this day.

In the years since, perhaps in relation to the age progession of the casserole-loving portion of our congregation, we have found a pattern to our digestive issues.  Namely, we usually have digestive issues within hours of attending a potluck.  Just to spread the love around, however, my husband's family has an Italian-American Reunion potluck each summer that achieves roughly the same results.  But if you didn't know two spoonfulls of polenta couldn't sooth the effects of hot Italian sausage followed down by fruit soaked in homemade everclear,'re probably already on Prevacid.

There is no question that generational differences are a source of constant challenge and amusement.  We have to share the road and the grocery store aisles.  We struggle to provide for and honor those who broke the path for us, while still making way for the new ideas and passions of the generations that are coming up.  We have such different ideas about what is "good" or "right," yet we need one another and, more importantly, we love one another.  So I still go to potlucks sometimes, but I don't eat much while I'm there.

'Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:32


  1. My favorites are the all-Jello potluck menus that flourish during hard times.

  2. LOL Nothing like a little Jello-Macaroni-&-Cheese casserole to make a meal complete.

  3. I know this blog is older but I wanted to share my thoughts on potlucks...Living here in the South, we have GREAT potlucks. Our church is full of awesome cooks and the potlucks turn out some yummy food! We have one tonight so I am eating light all day so that I can eat what I want at the potluck tonight. But, I wonder if the difference in potlucks is due to the church denomination. We are currently attending a Methodist church (however, we are not Methodist-it was Jon's Grandma's church. We attended one week out of nostalgia and the people were so lovely and warm we never looked for another church.) But my husband grew up Baptist. I'll have to ask him about the differences tonight.
    Also, Jon and I joined the Ruritan Club which is an organization committed to community service. But, before their monthly meeting, they also have a potluck. In January, we each paid $42 for the yearly member dues and on the way home we calculated that we just paid $3.50 each to eat the delicious potluck every month-what a deal! Oh, plus it is great to do work for your community. :-)

  4. I did get told that there would be more to enjoy at the potlock if I would quit freeloading and cook something...there may be some truth to that. Maybe I need to make another confession...

    Maybe I need to post a denominational survey about the quality of potlucks and we can settle it. :)