Sunday, July 12, 2015

Grains of Salt

On July 4th my family and I attended the Biscuits baseball game, and about halfway through my granddaughter asked for a box of popcorn. I love the stuff, so of course I had to get a box for myself. She and I do not do well with that whole sharing thing.

Neither of us were able to finish our boxes. The popcorn was so heavily salted it was rendered nearly inedible. I am not unaware of the reasons concessionaires salt their wares to excess--more salt makes you more thirsty which requires another trip to the concessions stand--but too much is just too much. Did you ever, when you were a child, pour salt on a slug just to watch it wither up? Well, that's exactly how my tongue was beginning to feel after my third handful of popcorn. 

I'm not sure if this was a one-time error in salt-adding, but when we return this weekend for another family outing I will not be ordering popcorn. I'm not a fan of throwing good money after bad. 

This morning's sermon, delivered ably by Associate Pastor Rev. John Blount, drew from that text in Matthew calling us to be the salt of the world. He looked at the favorable uses of salt (as a preservative, healing agent, flavoring agent, etc.), even touching on a curious bit of folk medicine that had newborn infants rubbed with the substance. 

I got to thinking back on that too-salty popcorn while he spoke, and that set me to wondering how sometimes we Christians, truly and honestly convicted of the rightness of what we believe, overdo it with the salt, believing if some is good, then more is necessarily better. While there are plenty of Christians like me who are guilty of not being salty enough to attract folks to my faith, there are surely an equal number who are so salty that rather than serving as a call to Christ they become the reason folks just refuse to come back for more. 

I did a little research on that salting of newborn baby thing, and it appears to have had a place in ancient ritual as an effort to purify, but as recently as 2004 a hospital in Jordan reported that they were undertaking measures to educate the public about the dangers of this practice. It seems a number of newborns had been admitted with dire consequences owing to excessive sodium levels in their bodies, all down to well-meaning parents who were so convinced it was the right thing to do to guarantee their children's well-being that they nearly killed them with "rightness."

Maybe it is almost always true that too much of a good thing is not a good thing.

Rev. Blount challenged us to examine our skills with the spiritual salt-shaker this week.

Challenge accepted.