Okay, I was told when I arrived in NYC that part of my job was to compose a weekly blog and that I could write about anything I chose. I asked if the topics had to be specifically religious. The response I received was that the phrase “anything I chose” quite literally meant that. In fact, I was told that if I wished, I could write about anything from sporting events to restaurant reviews. However, since I assume you do not read this particular website primarily to learn about those topics, I have tried most of the time to deal with things biblical and theological.
This week, however, I just need to express in some way to someone the personal excitement that is welling up within me because of something I just learned. Apparently there is a business close to Union Square that blends three of my favorite things in life under one roof. It is a small, private bookstore. I love those places. I can get lost in them for hours. I feel my blood pressure begin to ease as soon as I walk through the door of a small bookstore.
But the business to which I refer is about even more than that. It is also a bakery. Talk about one of my favorite things in life! When I was growing up in Asheboro, North Carolina, there was a wonderful little spot just off Sunset Avenue called Central Bakery. They made their own doughnuts which were literally little tastes of heaven. But best of all, from my perspective at least, was their French apple pie. In all the years since moving away I have still never tasted a French apple pie as good as the ones baked there. All kidding aside, as a child I had a frequent fantasy of being accidentally locked overnight in Central Bakery. Come to think of it, it's still a pretty alluring fantasy.
Of course, I said this new business I just heard about combines three of my favorite things under one roof, didn't I? So, what is number three? The place is a bookstore … and a bakery … that includes bacon as an ingredient in all its desserts. Bacon! They have pecan pie with bacon pieces, banana bread with bacon, chocolate brownies with bacon, chocolate chip bacon cookies, etc. Whoever came up with that idea is a genius, worthy of the Nobel Prize! I have got to make a trip to that place asap.
When I learned about the bookstore/baconery, I found myself thinking of other combinations that would delight the senses or the spirit. What if one could somehow combine Mozart and Marvin Gaye? Billie Jean King and Michael Phelps? Thomas Wolfe and Harper Lee? The Duke Blue Devils and the New York Yankees? Suddenly I was on a roll of imaginary morphing (kind of like the new face-swapping app on cell phones).
For example, what if one could combine courtesy and honesty? Kindness and justice? Self-esteem and respect for neighbor? Piety and humor? Civility and courage? Discipline and spontaneity? Fellowship and solitude? Private reflection and public service? Gathered worship and dispersed mission? Passion for one's faith and tolerance toward those of other faiths? Love for God, love for people, and love for self? Hey, wait a minute! Maybe there is something that combines all those qualities and holds them in balance. It's called Christianity. I find it every day at Marble.
I like the magic of morphing. My soul is fed in that fashion at church. As for my body, I'm pretty excited about making a visit to a place that serves chocolate-covered bacon. Life is good!