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Christianity and moose meat

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CHARLES ARESON

Guest Columnist

 

A friend of mine, Jim Adkins, asked me to help his father-in-law take a copy of his book, “Wild Taste of Nature,” and format it so it could be published through CreateSpace. The book had been printed years before with Xerox copied pages and a cardstock cover. This is how I meet its author, Irv Rueger.

Irv was a character and passionate about the edible foods found in nature. I was amazed by all the things his book explained were edible in nature. Some of them, I would have to be starving before I would ever even think of trying just because they sounded (how shall I say this?) strange.

Others caused me to raise my eyes as warnings in the book said things like Warning: don’t harvest at the wrong time of year or make sure to have the correct plant because if you get it wrong it is poisonous.

When the book was finished I was pleased with how it turned out. When Irv stopped by to deliver a copy of the finished book, he told me a story I had to write done. It was about the days when he and Doris Eicher put on wild edible feast for the Audubon Society of Evansville.

Doris informed Irv that they didn’t have any meat for this particular Edible Feast. Irv knew some men who had been moose hunting in Alaska. They donate some of the moose meat and Doris turned it into meatballs. Irv said, “They were beautiful. They were the best meatballs I have ever tasted.”

After the feast, Irv was amazed to find the pan of meatballs was completely full. He wasn’t sure anyone took any. In fact, it didn’t look like anyone had even opened the lid. The people coming out to these events were used to eating wild game, so this was confusing. Confusion disappeared when Irv saw the "cute way" Doris had labeled her moose meat meatballs, "Moose Balls."

Yes, everyone thought it was a pan of moose testicles. We laughed, and I realized how you present things really do matter. It also reminded me that sometimes Christians present Christianity in such a way that it just isn’t appealing to those around us.

We have the answers to the world’s problems wrapped up in the Christian life, and yet we present it all wrong.

What is worse is we live it all wrong too. However, I want you to ask yourself, “How am I presenting the Gospel?” Do people see something delightful or are you presenting it as “Moose Balls?”

Areson is pastor of Tell City First Church of the Nazarene.