“What did you bring?” “That macaroni salad over there.”

Yesterday we participated in that most-important of Baptist rituals: the pot-luck dinner right after church.

What, you thought I was going to say baptism or communion? Foolishness! Those things pale in comparison to green bean casserole and fried chicken. This pot-luck was in honor of the pastor’s 10th anniversary. There was the obligatory cheesy skit that is so good-hearted that you almost forget how cheesy it is. You know the one I mean.

As I was sitting there yesterday, I felt happy to be part of such a motley crew. There are a lot of things that American evangelical Christianity does that are frustrating or disconcerting, but the pot-luck is the epitome of all that is right and good. Food, genuine affection, a little teasing, and some good conversation . . . it all sets the tone for quality community, and it’s why going to a smaller church works a little better for me. For various reasons, I might not feel like I have a lot in common with some of the other members. A pot-luck is a good reminder to me that all our gifts are important and needed, and that our bonds in Christ are stronger than differences in background or education or politics.

Fried chicken is just an extra-special bonus.

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