Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Hamburger. What is more American than the glorious hamburger? Remember that jingle made famous by some clown under some “golden” arches?
“Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun!!!” Who thought up this marvellous gift to cuisine?
Some say it was by some Mongol warriors who tenderized slabs of meat by placing them under their saddles and riding all day long. Gives a whole new meaning to “ham”burger. O.K. Where did the “ham” part come from? Others will say it came from a sandwich which supposedly had it’s origins in Hamburg, Germany. It was grilled chopped meat between two slices of bread. Sailors who walked the streets of New York were familiar with this according to the Milwaukee Magazine.

Well, I don’t know and really don’t care. It has become an American staple. You can thank outfits like Bob’s Big Boy and McDonald’s whose creation was made to compete with the Big Boy. As for me, nothing beats a half pound BBQ hamburger, with slice of cheese, tomato, lettuce, pickles and plenty of catsup and mustard between a couple of toasted Sesame seed buns. Now that’s a sandwich. I prefer cold ice berg lettuce so that there is a nice snap when you bite through the sandwich. Can you feel the juices running down your chin right now? Savour the smell, the texture. I’m getting hungry as I type.

I can hear you saying right now, but I prefer romaine lettuce. ROMAINE LETTUCE?? You gotta be kidding. Or maybe you don’t like catsup or mustard. So you add BBQ sauce. Wait a minute. Haven’t you changed the hamburger? Is it still a hamburger? Well, why not? It’s just your variety of a hamburger. Not mine particularly, although I might experiment now and then to see if I like it or if it suits my tastes. And then, maybe you like swiss over American, chedder or who knows, maybe even limburger. Ugh! But…it’s still a hamburger. Just a different presentation. The hamburger is still the same. And as long as it’s the same, it’s still a hamburger sandwich…even if you change the bread.

So why all this about a hamburger? Isn’t this kinda the way we treat Christianity? Christ is always the same. We are blended, adopted into his body. So Christ and his church are the hamburger.

Hey Madge…did you just read with this idiot said.
No Bert…what did he say?
Madge, he said Jesus and the church were hamburgers.
Aww Bert…at least he didn’t say Jesus was a hotdog.

O.K. O.K…calm down. All you Bible thumpers and just sit and quiet down for a few moments.

Think about it. We treat Christ and his church like so much hamburger. Our traditions, laws, canons, rules, practices or whatever, are the condiments. We think we have the best church or the only church. So we hide our Christ under a layer of doctrinal lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and buns. Hot cross buns sometimes. We have spent two millennia arguing over condiments while the world just laughs at us. We hide the meat under as many extras we can and then say our hamburger is the best.

But our ad agency has been a miserable failure. We are more irrelevant to the world than we’ve ever been. Even Newsweek got on the bandwagon a few weeks ago describing a major identity crisis among Christians and our churches. See The End of Christian America.
This after the "Internet Monk," Michael Spenser shook everyone up by saying the evangelical church would probably disappear or be unrecognizable in ten to twenty years. His article in the Christian Science Monitor caught a lot of attention. The End of Christian America” Mark Galli in Christianity Today had a field day on that one. "On the Lasting Evangelical Survival"A whole new house movement has been given new life thanks to thousands of Christians who are fed up with tomatoes, cheese and buns arguments.
I’m beginning to think they may be onto something. Could it be that we have forgotten relationship with Christ is not about doctrines, tradition, rules. Or if you please condiments? Whatever happened to Love God, Love People, Serve the world?

O.K. Maybe I’m just a bald headed old guy who’s spent too much time in the sun. But I think I may be onto something. Waddya think?


  1. Followed your comment at IMONK. Read all your blogs. Lovely and simple. Like you, I am firmly a member of one tradition, but love that big ol' calorie-laden feast of Christianity. What, anyway, would all of those intelligent men have done throughout history if they could not have spent their lives explaining, expounding, and otherwise adding salt and pepper to the mix? The rest is for additional instruction, history and continuity, other stuff we humans need I suppose. But at the end, and always at the beginning, the test of everything we do is "Did you love the Lord your God with everything that is in you, and did you love your neighbor as yourself?"

    This is much more difficult than figuring out the origin of canons, when/where/how we should baptize, and anything else I can think of. There is no more difficult thing I have ever done (and so frequently failed at doing)

  2. Thank you for your kind words Pennyyak. You are so right. There are so many great saints we can learn from in all the great traditions of Christianity. And just because many of them have practices we are uncomfortable with or unfamiliar doesn't take away from their heart for God. For instance, the whole Sacred Heart movement in the Catholic Church is all about the love of God. We see these strange pictures with a flaming heart on the chest of Jesus or Mary and see people adoring it and it blows our Protestant circuits. But when you dig a little deeper it's all about the marvelous love of God demonstrated, both in the heart of Mary and our Savior.
    You are so correct. Love is the central theme we must present because that is the only thing the world will notice that is authentic.
    Thanks again

  3. First of all you ought not post such deliciously descriptive posts concerning Bob's Big Boy (my favorite) hamburgers, and others.

    It's not a very Christian thing to do to someone who is over an hour away from the nearest Bob's B.B.

    Secondly...oh never mind...I'm too upset to think about any secondlys!

  4. Hard on you??? Hey Adam, I've been on a diet for a year now, lost 70 pounds...I picture is old. I was on shakes only for four months and now am nearly a vegetarian it seems. My nose is twitching and I'm growing a cotton tail. It was hard for you to read, harder for me to write. I miss those succulent suckers. Now they are a rare and only sometimes treat.

  5. RichnHim,

    Wow! Keep up the good work!

    I need to lose at least 50 but I keep gaining!

    I guess I'm just too weak.

    I've tried the veggie thing. They sit in the frig...go bad...I find junk to eat.

    I think I am a goner.

    I could sure use a Bob's Big Boy (burger) about now.