Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Guts

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 
1 Corinthians 1:20

I get a weird, grisly pleasure just saying the words.  “Pumpkin guts!”  I was pulling the innards out of my soon to be jack-o-lantern and making freaky sound effects to entertain the kids.  By and large, it worked.   They were amused.  But they weren’t touching the stuff.  My son wouldn’t even take a pumpkin seed offered to him.  When I put it on the table in front of him, he batted it away as if it were a dung beetle, trying to touch it as little as possible.

My daughter did give it a go with the ice cream scooper.  She dug out a few seeds and some stringy, orange gook then called it a day.  I might not have been so crazy about it either when I was their age.  Now, carving pumpkins – even cleaning out the goo – falls into the nostalgic compartments of my memory right alongside the “haunted houses” where I had to reach blindfolded into a bowl of oily spaghetti.  Extremely creepy at the time, hilarious now.

I’m not sure what it says about my character that I take so much pleasure in the gooey and the weird, or that I try to make my kids do the same.  I am hoping they will store away in their memory a happy recollection of pumpkin carving.  But if it weren’t this, I suppose I would likely be a freaky parent in some other way.  Most of us probably are.

When I’m feeling the weight of my weirdness, I take some comfort in remembering that this is my calling.  We Christians are supposed to be a little strange.  We are not supposed to sit too easy with the rest of the world around us.  If we fit in too well, we would probably miss out on some of the most important teachings of our faith.

In scripture, we are told to do absurd things like love our enemies and give to anyone who asks of us.  We’re expected not to spend too much effort seeking our own welfare, but to pour our energies into the wellbeing of those with nothing to give back.  This means that if we are true to our calling, we will often find ourselves swimming upstream, moving against the crowd and standing out as if we were still wearing vampire teeth on November 1.

We might as well accept our peculiarity, but most of us struggle with it.  We long to fit in, to look like everyone else.  Because Christians hold the majority in our land, we have difficulty stretching our brains around the idea that following Jesus can be counter-cultural.  Jesus, himself, was rather subversive .  Most of us aren’t ready for that yet.

Maybe this is why I like Halloween so much.  It lets us own our weirdness for at least one day of the year.  I’ll have to work on the rest of the 364, but for now it will do.

Blessed eating!

Pumpkin Cookies
½ cup shortening                1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten                     1 cup pureed pumpkin
2 cups sifted plain flour     2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt                   2 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg           ¼ teaspoon ginger

Cream shortening; gradually beat in sugar.  Add eggs and pumpkin, mix well.  Sift flour, baking powder, salt and spices together.  Stir into pumpkin mixture.  Drop onto greased baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until brown.

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