Up the Creek Seafood Cakes: An Anointed Delicacy for Worship and Evangelism

Monday, September 05, 2005

There are a few delicacies in this world that I have created a special category for in my mind called 'anointed.' These menu items, found at various restaurants across this fruited plain, have captured my tastebuds and held them captive momentarily in a vortex of worship. Somehow, the combination of certain foods together creates a melody on my palate, my tastebuds immediately singing praises to God that He has given man the ability to fashion something that tastes so good.

This is surely what God intends for us to do, isn't it? When we are commanded to give glory to God in everything we do, right down to our eating and drinking (1 Cor. 10:31), giving glory means reflecting on the nature and power and character and attributes of God that surround that thing and give it meaning and bring such joy.

That's pretty much what happened to me last night while my wife and I were on our first date in over eight weeks. We dropped the kids off at the movie theatre with Grandma and Grandpa, and we headed next door to a restuarant called Up the Creek Fishcamp and Grill, at their Conyers, GA franchise. I'm a seafood guy. I could probably eat it every night (but as I found out a couple of weeks ago, doing so contributes to that darned gout!). I spied the Seacakes on the Dinner menu, a combination of crab, shrimp, and lobster, mixed together in a creamy sauce and fried to a golden brown, topped with a hollandaise sauce slightly seasoned with cayanne pepper. With the garlic mashed potatoes the combination of tastes is beyond description. But when I took just the first bite of the seacakes, there was something in my heart that leaped in praise for joy in God!

My wife astutely picked up on the worship experience. Perhaps it was the closed eyes and look of ecstacy on my face as I chewed slowly and grinned widely that gave away my experience. We've talked every now and then about my theology of 'anointed' foods, joking here and there with friends about it. But there is something very real behind it...and we got a little deeper into it this theology last night at our quaint little table for two.

My attempt at explaining what I meant went something like this. I asked her what it was about me eating seacakes and the an unsaved guy eating them that would make me worship God while eating them and make him wipe the corner of his mouth and walk out the door. Her eyebrows were raised in sarcastic disbelief at what was going across my mind...we've been married long enough now that such telepathic powers have become pretty normal. "Are you saying you're tastebuds are redeemed?" "YES!" I said..."that's pretty much it!" Then the eyebrows sank, the eyelids closing halfway, and a slight grin forming across her mouth as if to indicate, "That's ridiculous!"

So I asked her another question. What is it about me, a saved person, that causes my tastebuds to tell my brain to praise God for how awesome this tastes? What happens in that short distance between my tongue and my cerebral cortex that triggers an emotional response of joy and thanksgiving to God? She knew the answer well. It is the heart. I described it for her in terms of a cyclical symbiosis.

My redeemed heart has renewed my mind. And my renewed mind correctly informs my tastebuds, though not necessarily about what tastes good and what does not (because the side of cooked broccoli with the meal last night defiled the very plate on which it was served!). Those tastebuds, being informed by a renewed mind, combined with my renewed olfactory senses, somehow trigger a chemical reaction in my brain of elation and joy, along with the verbal response, "Man, this is awesome! Praise God!" And it is precisely at that moment, when I'm elated and overjoyed at how good those seacakes taste, that my mind and heart instantaneously lift up praise and thanksgiving to God. It is all rolled together in a very emotional response that is extremely difficult to describe without a loved one recommending I get professional help.

So there's a symbiotic relationship between the tastebuds, the olfactory senses, the cerebral cortex, and the renewed heart and mind. And that symbiosis becomes cyclical after every bite. That is, every bite starts the process all over again, the last bite tasting just as good as the first, and the worship experience the same all the way through.

I know such a description makes the eating experience seem so sterile. But so does some of what Jonathan Edwards writes about such things...that is, until you experience it for yourself. There's nothing quite like the experience of elation and joy, redeemed by the cross, to make me delight in God for each bite of those two small seacakes (half of which my wife ate, as she graciously traded me for her not-nearly-as-anointed shrimp-kabobs), wishing there was just one more cake to consume.

All of this conversation took place as a sub-conversation about what I intended to tell the manager about this menu item. She asked me what I would say, perhaps so she could snicker at me a moment. Here's what I would tell him: "Sir, I'm a Christian. But I'm the kind who believes that everything God makes serves the sole purpose to bring glory to Him. And when I sit back and enjoy the glory of God in what He makes, I find the greatest happiness and joy. That is what is meant when we use the word 'worship.' And Sir, your seacakes are a worship experience for me. When I eat them, I my tastebuds leap for joy and tell my heart to thank God for creating your cooks, and giving them such an incredible ability to think up and then fashion something that tastes so good."

Sound kooky? I'm sure it did to him when I said those very words last night. He looked at me with raised eyebrows, slightly nodding his head, as if he were listening to my report of an Elvis-sighting in the men's room. But be that as it may, that is how God intends for us to enjoy Him and His wonderful creation, and that is how God intends for us to bring glory to Him, and that is partyly how God intends for us to worship Him, and this is partly how God intends for us to to bring other worshipers to Himself. You see, when the world around us wonders how we can gain so much God-centered pleasure from eating seacakes, after they get over how kooky we are, and after they get over our seeming fanaticism about Christ, they themselves will want to know how they too can derive so much joy and pleasure out of life. This is Christian hedonism at its best here, folks.

In case you cared...other menu items in my 'anointed' category include but are not limited to the following selections. This blogger makes no guarantees on your worship experiences with any of these selections. However, when you do find an 'anointed' selection of your own, please make sure to practice gospel-centered tipping and use it as an opportunity to evangelize the manager and waitress.

For more on a biblical theology of food read 1 Timothy 4:4-5 (in context of Paul's argument here), as well as Proverbs 15:15 and Ecclesiastes 9:9. See also John Piper's fitting piece entitled, How to Drink Orange Juice to the Glory of God.

You Might Also Like