Methodist Chicken

I was out walking the dogs Saturday morning and passed by the parking lot of one of the several churches in the area. Two men were busy down at their outdoor pavilion and when we swung by to say hello they said they were getting the grill ready and I should come back in the afternoon for a chicken dinner. “Half chicken, baked potato, slaw, dessert, and a drink for ten bucks. Eat here or get it to go,” one of them said. I looked past them, under the roof. The pit stretched the entire length of the pavilion. 

“How many chickens are y’all cooking?”

They looked at each other. “Well, we usually serve about 600 meals, so I guess that’s 300 chickens. That’s why we’re starting early, getting everything set up.”

That afternoon, as I was standing in line, the man behind me confided, “I’m a Baptist, but every once in a while I got to get me some of that Methodist chicken.”

I turned around and grinned at him. “I guess some things cross denominational lines.”

Maybe the best way to tell if something is important, if it’s a little piece of truth, is if it crosses lines — denominations, faith traditions, cultures. Things like love, and equality, and compassion, and recognition of our shared humanity.

And chicken. Don’t forget chicken. If it can bring Baptists and Methodists together, I’d say there’s hope for us all, even in these difficult times. 

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A career working with teenagers on the fringes of society has made me both sensitive to and appreciative of the complexities of character and the struggles, inner and outer, that we all wrestle with in one form or another. My writing emphasizes character development over action, and, as a lifelong Southerner, the rhythms and cadence of the Southeastern United States influence both my spoken and written voice.

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