Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth . . .
              Matthew 10:34

I knew I would have to do it sooner or later.  My Bass Family and Friends Cookbook has three different recipes for meatloaf and it was inevitable that I would have to make one of them.  But I don’t like it.  Meatloaf has never been on my requested foods list.  Not only do I dislike the taste, but meatloaf represents the least exciting food imaginable; the very definition of bland and dull.  Needless to say, I’ve been putting this recipe off.

When I became a pastor, I worried that this vocation would be a lot like eating meatloaf.  Too many people in our world today already think of Christians as being (at best) proper, but dull folks.  Pleasant rule-followers who keep their lawns trimmed and are always on time.  They might get along well with neighborhood associations, but few people can or want to live that way.  These folks are just . . . well . . . bland. 

Christians shouldn’t be that way.  Jesus certainly wasn’t.  Though we sing about “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,” our savior didn’t always make a good neighbor.  He talked to all the wrong people.  (Samaritans for heaven’s sake!  And women!)   And he managed to tick off all the religious leaders so badly that they wanted to kill him.  I think about this every now and then when I’m having coffee with pastor friends.  We could be called the “religious leaders” of our time.  How would we deal with a savior who seemed to bend the rules so badly?

In recent times, Christians have sacrificed their well-being, even their lives, by standing against norms of a broader and more powerful culture.  From South Africa to the American South – and too many places in between – Christians have endured violence and hatred in order to bring about change when the world didn’t reflect what God intended for us.  Of course, Christians have also caused violence through the years too, and done many things in the name of Christ that did not reflect Christ’s teaching.  But that certainly doesn’t mean that faithful Christians sit quietly with hands folded, making no waves or enemies.

Jesus was edgy.  And if we really want to follow our calling, we will be edgy too.   But I’ll warn you, this kind of edgy isn’t always cool.  Our calling is a radical one.  We’re not just meant to be nice.  We’re called to love our neighbor to the point of sacrifice.  We are called to include the outcast, stand up for the downtrodden, and raise our voices against the realities of injustice and abuse.  Behavior that is truly Christian can get us kicked out of the “in” crowd, and it won’t always make us nice neighbors.

You might be different from me.  You might like meatloaf.  Living faithfully, however, will not allow us to live meatloaf lives.

I chose this recipe because I was intrigued by the inclusion of Portobello mushrooms.  As meatloaf goes, it wasn’t bad, though it was still meatloaf.  If you like meatloaf, you will probably enjoy this recipe.  Our family ate it with Ratatouille Pasta from Food to Live By, the cookbook from Earthbound Farms.  May you and your family and friends enjoy this meatloaf and be blessed.

1 tablespoon olive oil                     1 cup chopped onions
1 6 oz pkg. sl. Portobello muchrooms, ch.
1 large egg                                         2 tablespoons water
¾ pound lean ground                      ¾ pound ground turkey
2/3 c. fresh bread crumbs             3 T finely chopped carrot
2 t. coarse grain mustard               1 t. minced garlic
1 t. salt                                                ¼ t. freshly ground pepper
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil; lightly coat foil with vegetable cooking spray.  Heat oil in a 12 inch skillet over high heat; add onions and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, 6 to 7 minutes, until mushroom liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are browned.  Cool.  Toss onion mixture with remaining ingredients lightly with fingertips in a large bowl.  Shape mixture into a 9x4-inch loaf in pan.  Cover with foil; bake 30 minutes.  Uncover meatloaf and bake 25 to 30 minutes more, until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted in center registers 160 degree F.  Let meatloaf stand in pan 5 minutes.  Remove from pan with a large spatula and transfer to serving platter.  Makes 4 servings. – Lisa Wade

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