Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Ever since I loved Chinese food, (basically since birth) I've seen a particular sign at many Asian restaurants:

Our Chinese Food: NO MSG!

Well, that's great, right? Everyone knows MSG is bad for you, right? Oh, consumer, consumer. I'm sorry that you feel this way. You're missing out on one of the greatest flavor-enhancers known to man.

I, unfortunately, also used to believe this lie. Even my mom, who often put an MSG product in some of her foods, said that she didn't like to use it all the time because it's bad for you. However, as I was taking Nutrition this semester, I learned that MSG (short for monosodium glutamate) is actually not all that bad. The only people that have adverse reactions to eating it with their food are people who are specifically sensitive to it. And certain organizations have deemed that those who are MSG-sensitive are only about 1% of the general population. The bad rap that MSG has gotten has largely been a result of word-of-mouth old-wives-tale style myth production.

Me? I love MSG! Throw some in my soup or slap it on my steak - I'll eat it! MSG is a flavor enhancer that "balances, blends and rounds the total perception of other tastes." If that's the case, do it up!

Well, hey, funny story - do you know what else enhances flavor? Salt! And with that one word, you should know exactly what road I'm about to go down. Ain't no way a Christian man brings up salt without you knowing what direction he's headed. And, oh yes, we're going there. I've got my GPS and a full tank, so let's do this.

Luke 14 says the following: "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out."

So, if Matthew 5 says that we are the salt of the earth, then there's two things I'd like to address.

A: Understand what "salt" was.

Scientifically, pure table salt (NaCl) cannot lose its saltiness. However, I don't believe that table salt is what Jesus was talking about. It seems, from what I've studied, that the ancient Jews used to get their salt from a rock ledge next to the Dead Sea. (which is very salty) What would happen is that the salt from the ocean would evaporate onto the rock ledge, leaving behind flakes of salt. However, the salt was mixed with various other minerals and substances, making it very easy for the salt to leach out of the substance called "salt." I bring this up just to give a little bit of Biblical understanding to something that might have confused you.

#2: Be tasty!

Most of the times that I've heard pastors talk about Christians being salt, I see them make the point that we are to preserve this world. That is one entirely beautiful and Biblically accurate point. However, that's not what I want to focus on today. My point in all this is that we should make this world more intense. 'Cuz that's what salt does, right? It simply intensifies the flavor of whatever it's put on.

So how do we intensify this world? I think Romans 12 shows some pretty interesting ways of doing this:

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

As I was reading this passage yesterday, it blew me away. Associate with the lowly? Bless those who persecute you? Outdo one another in honor!? Are you kidding me? Who does that!?

Apparently, we should be. And I'm sorry to pull the "we're-terrible-because-we-live-in-America" card, but our society has turned us into me-monsters. What I find necessary to do the things listed in Romans 12 is a paradigm shift that occurs in our minds which transfers our desires from that of our own success to the success of others.

That is when we will be flavoring the world. That is when people will look up and take notice. Because if you're like me, I expect everyone else to be a me-monster, too. When I see someone that goes out of their way to do something for me, well, let's just say that it leaves a good taste in my mouth.


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