Years ago someone told me that this particular company had frozen blueberries that were simply delicious. I love fruit, and had somehow never tried a blueberry before so I went to the store and purchased these "best blueberries" I'd been assured of. I took them home, let them thaw for a short time and then tossed one in my mouth expecting glorious, delectable, blueberry juice from heaven.
Instead, I frowned, made a face, and decided to let it thaw some more in case that was the problem.
Over the years since then, I've tried several more times. I see them in the grocery store, so expensive - which surely means they taste better than most fruit right? So gloriously blue - which surely means they're perfectly ripened, right? And so utterly good for you - which... well, that part might explain the bad taste. :)
I do still enjoy blueberry "things". Blueberry-Grape juice is terrific, and I've recently learned how to make blueberry muffins from scratch with fresh blueberries - Delicious. But, I'd rather eat my fruits in their most natural form as much as possible thank you.
But, since I can use blueberries for other things I recently found myself with nearly 5 lbs of blueberries (nothing like a good sale, and friends that think of you when they see sales too!), and I, once again, popped a "nasty" blueberry in my mouth just-to-see. Only this time I was completely surprised.
The nasty tart flavor I'd come to expect was completely replaced by a strong, bold, but sweet and very satisfying blueberry flavor. It was a strong flavor, but man...sweet and delicious. And I have to tell you, I was absolutely surprised and I said "THIS? THIS is what a blueberry should taste like?" I wish I had known all along the real flavor of a blueberry!!
And, as someone who has just recently faced some pretty bitter church experiences, my mind immediately put the two pieces together.
I've been to so many churches and walked out with that "nasty tart" taste in my mouth. Passionless churches with no joy or excitement for Christ. Crazy "show" churches with lights and blaring rock music, people jumping and bouncing but I can't hear myself think, much less hear Christ speaking to me, or even the words to the song. Churches that preach a doctrine but when anyone questions it they're persecuted, and anyone who supports the questioner are not welcome in the church either. Churches that teach you how to live your "Best life now", or how God wants to prosper you with blessings if you'll only give your money to this church. Churches that teach that you're worthy of Gods love - not that you were a sinful wretch and how great is the love of Christ. Churches that focus in on marital issues, divorce, get togethers, singles, grief, drug/alcohol recovery and teaching our kids to be friendly and color within the lines.
Every day people are walking up to those "Christians", every Sunday they are walking into those "Churches" and walking out going "Oh, so that's what Christ is like... I guess I don't like Him after all."
Instead of tasting the bold,amazing flavor, the sweetness and stain your fingers goodness of a true, fully ripened and mature "Church".
A true Christ-flavored Church is one that the experiences with it change your every single daily life. One that convicts you of sin, but also offers you the blood of Jesus Christ as supernatural power to overcome that sin instead of asking you to "fix yourself." A church that gets in your business and says "Hey, what you're doing is sin..." A church that offends you by making sure you understand that sinners do indeed go to hell, and refuses to preach your uncle so-n-so into heaven when he dies. A church that grabs a book like Jeremiah and asks it's people to search their hearts for the idolatry that has been happening in their own homes by love for children, tv, food, self, that has surpassed our love for Jesus. A church that ignores the 10% and boldly, and excitedly says "JESUS WANTS IT ALL" and surrounds you with people desperately asking God to help them give it all. A church that tells you how a life with Christ brings persecution and offense to most of your friends, but it also brings life changing joy and peace, access to the Father and a closeness with a God that is so vast and incomprehensible, yet simple enough that a child can understand and embrace.
You walk out of that church, healthier, challenged, and thinking "Wow, is that what Christ is like? Gimme some more!"
I haven't found any good churches yet, but I've still tasted enough of Jesus Christ to know that He is good. And I want some more.
I'll never look at a blueberry the same way again.