02 June, 2007

Iron Chef Evangelism

Goodbye Minister of Education. Goodbye Evangelism Coordinator. The two positions have been replaced by one Culinary Chef at South Fork Baptist Church in West Creek, Mississippi, a mid-sized town north of I-20, just east of Jackson. "The transition was as smooth as chocolate. The chef's salary is a little less than the other two combined," said Mike Johnson, Personnel Committee chairman. Though he himself claims to be agnostic, Henry Thomas, a 2002 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in San Antonio, appears to have greased the evangelistic pan down in West Creek.

"There's an old adage that goes something like, 'The way to a man's heart is through his stomach'. That's our goal. We want to get Jesus into the hearts of people. We're doing it by going through their stomachs," said Tom Bardwell, head deacon. Bardwell went on to discuss how the deacons in the Bible were originally chosen to wait on tables. "At South Fork, we're simply fulfilling our designated Biblical duties. We wait on tables and we feed the hungry."

Princeton Moore, pastor, says "What we are doing is breaking from blind tradition of just telling people to ask Jesus into their heart. We used to get so many suspicious looks. Now, we are showing them with food. The stomach is just another passageway by which Jesus gets to the hearts of people. Women have won husbands in this way for centuries. Isn't it time that we let Jesus start winning hearts through the stomach?"

Things have been going great since South Fork implemented their new "Food Evangelism" program. FE (for short) appears to have replaced the less appetizing EE program of the last century. "Food effects people," said Pastor Moore as he bit into a cross-shaped cookie with red icing. "This cookie is an evangelism miracle. When I hold this cookie in front of a kid and ask him if he wants Jesus in his heart, the answer has never been 'No'. They always say 'Yes'. I saved four kids just this morning using simple cookies just like these. With old programs such as EE, we had to go through a much longer explanation and I'm not so sure the kids were honest as they reluctantly prayed the closing prayer after me. Now I'm sure they're saved because you can see the eagerness on their faces when we use the cookies."

Apparently the food acts merely as a subliminal stimulant, leaving the individual to choose. The cross-cookies are designed to operate below the threshold of consciousness. Yet, the sensations they create are just intense enough to influence mental processes so the children can say "yes" to Jesus on their own.

"I found Jesus just last week in a cute little doughnut," said Dottie Martin, 13, as she straightened her Walk-through-the-Bible Jelly Belly bracelet. "The doughnut hole was heart-shaped. Pastor Moore explained that something was missing in the doughnut. It was my heart. He told me to give my heart to the Lord. He said I should ask Jesus to be Lord of my life. Just like the pamphlet says the Bible says, 'Just ask Jesus into your heart and you'll be saved.' That's what I did as I ate the doughnut."

"This program is not just for kids," said janitor Wesley Richards, who just received a raise with the recent increase in hours spent cleaning the fellowship hall. "The Try Jesus Layer Cake is my favorite." Tominthebox representatives were given a piece of this cake along with a business card explaining the meaning of the layers. The outer dark frosting represents sin. As your utensil cuts through the frosting, you immediately notice the red of the red velvet cake, representing blood. Beneath this red layer is a bottom coating of white frosting representing that cleansing has taken place. "After the first bite, we encourage people to drink water or Blueberry Koolaid to signify baptism," said Moore. "They then wipe their mouth with a green napkin to remind them that they need to grow before scraping the final crumbs from the golden plate clean."

"Unfortunately, there has been some unintended growth," Alexis McDonald, 22, admitted. "When I joined Food Evangelism, I was not exactly thin, but I was healthy and was careful about what I ate. After inviting Jesus to come into my heart last month with the seven layer Lasagna, I've had to get a new larger wardrobe. But, how can I not eat? It's evangelism."

Chef Thomas prefers to do his own designs. "Little Dottie Martin actually tried to garnish one of my meringues with flowers. It grated on my nerves as I saw her place a tulip on the table. I was quite steamed when I told her, 'there is no room for tulips around here.' I'm happy that I simmered down quickly." Fortunately, no one was left battered.


Brian Hamrick said...

Unintended Growth? LOL!

Chris said...

Good gosh, that was a close one. TULIP definitely has no place in FE. lol

Sewing said...

Man, this was a good one. The cheesy enticements, "as the pamphlet says the Bible says," the detulipification.... Hey Tom, I think Brother Slawson is trying to outshine you—you'd better keep an eye on him and make sure he isn't trying to take over the blog or something!

Brother Slawson said...

Thanks for the encouragement. But... no way do I want this blog :)
I struggle to come up with 1 a week! Besides, the middle name of this blog is "Tom" (or maybe that's the first name.) I don't know how Tom does it day after day. I'm so glad for the opportunity to have something me and bro can enjoy together although we live far apart.

Alice C. said...

This is not as far-fetched as you think. I actually know a guy who tried to share the gospel in a country overseas by using a "wordless book" cake--five different layers (black, red, white, green, gold.) It didn't compute with the people group he was trying to reach...and they used so much food coloring that nobody wanted to eat the cake!

Tominthebox News Network said...

Didn't the Apostle Paul say that he was given a "messenger of Satan to Buffet" him? Maybe churches could get even more people saved with All-you-can-eat buffets.


I best be careful lest a coup d'eta on my hands and Brother Slawson will be installed as the new blog leader =)

Sewing said...

Are you really two separate people? At first, I thought it was a joke, because Brother Slawson's bio was so cooked up, and it's still the same general tone of humour, but the "weekend editions" are slightly longer and more elaborate (depth of coverage compensates for Monday-to-Friday breadth of coverage, I suppose). Nothing tops Tom's "Dear Mr. A___" letter, though.

Tominthebox News Network said...


Brother Slawson is just that, my brother Carlos from Baton Rouge, LA. The bio was definitely cooked up just for fun.

Carlos had been coming up with some good ideas that I really liked. Since I only had the time and mental stamina to post Monday through Friday, I asked him to start a weekend edition, and am I ever glad that I did!

So that's the honest truth right there, no joking. Hopefully, together we'll continue this blog for years to come.


Sewing said...

Well, both of you are doing a fine job in your rather unique ministry—may the Lord keep it going for many years to come!

Peter Kirk said...

Hey, they took this idea from my church! Except that with us it's the senior pastor who has turned himself into a chef and cooks evangelistic gourmet meals (and he still preaches from time to time).

Jeff said...

All I can say is :

"Lets turn it up a notch.... BAM!!!!"

Anonymous said...

I've always held to the adage "Feed them and they will come." LOL!

Grace said...

My family needs Jesus in their hearts. I am so very thankful that Tominthebox represenatives were in the right place at the right time as this new FE emerged!

I eagerly await the cookbook...I just feel this is in the works. If they have a contest for a name, I would like to submit..."Cooking Your Family to Salvation"

ed c said...

Brilliant post!