Tag Archives: Michael Gallup

Creation Carries a Cost, Beauty a High Price

By Michael Gallup

My wife is a talented seamstress and knitter. She has given herself to use the gifts and talents God has given her to create. I have seen the joy that this new work has given her and it has inspired me. There is something remarkably beautiful about seeing this woman create. However, like anything of worth, it is often hard for her to do the very thing she loves.  And, if we’re honest, we all have the same struggles.  Why is that?

Throughout the age of the church perhaps the biggest theological debate has been over the problem of evil.  This is a debate that still stirs us today and can be summed up in a simple question: “If God is good, then why do bad things happen?”  If God is all the things that make Him God (omnipresent, omniscient, all-powerful, all-knowing, holy, loving, etc.)  then why or how could His creation look so, well, ugly sometimes. The ground was not even done cooling before Eve sunk her teeth into that Pandora’s box of a fruit.  Couldn’t He have seen this? Couldn’t He have prevented this? Why even bother in the first place?

I will not pretend to have the answers to these questions.  Men much wiser than I have grappled with them only to be left defeated. Yet, I believe I know at least a piece of the puzzle.  God is daring.  Creation always has been and always will be risky.  To literally give of yourself to make something unique, to truly write something beautiful, takes sacrifice.  God gave us His image and in doing so, He knew what He was risking but I believe He knew it was worth it too.  He was willing to give what ever it took to finish His work.  He knew that man would have the capacity to be like Him and He was willing to share His glory, and yet almost before He could finish calling His work good, it no longer was.

Going back to my initial question of why we struggle to do the things we most love, it may be that deep down, in the God-image part of us, we know that it may cost us everything. We know that there are things out there, that if we let them, we will love so much that we will die for them: peace, equality, food for the hungry, and so on.  And we just aren’t sure that we are truly ready to sacrifice. It is frightening indeed to face the end of ourselves and not know, I mean KNOW, how it will all pan out.  Praise God that He does not leave us alone there in the fear; He has shown us the way.

As I said, creation cost God. But it would soon cost Him everything. In the incarnation, God became flesh in the man of Jesus. He lived amongst us for several reasons, but most of all, to restore the Father’s prize. I love how human Jesus is at times. In the Garden before His betrayal, He felt most pointedly the sacrifice He would have to endure and for a moment wished it didn’t have to be. And on the cross, in agony, cried out to His Father the same question many of us in the dark night of our soul have been too afraid to ask, “Why have you forsaken me?”

In Jesus, God lost everything: His glory, and His life.  Yet in Jesus, we gained everything: His glory and His life!  That, my friends, is truly beautiful indeed.  Beauty is not free, it may cost us everything, but it has always been and always will be worth it.

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We welcome Michael Gallup as one of the “servers” at the Neighborhood Cafe. Michael will be writing our Monday blog. Michael once had a truck named possum. He is a member of The Neighborhood Church (tnc3.org) and is attending Denver Seminary. He writes a blog at www.asprigofhope.blogspot.com

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Love: The Secret Ingredient in Good Gravy and Making a Difference

By Michael Gallup

Michael Gallup and his daughter Mary Grace

I was listening to NPR on the way home from work the other day.  They were sharing a piece about soul-food.  In one of the interviews, a young man told of how he asked his granddaddy for his gumbo recipe, to which his granddaddy responded, “boy, there ain’t no recipe, now get in this kitchen and watch me make it.”  I could not help but smile, what a beautiful picture of what soul-food is all about.  Food for the soul must be born in the soul, not on an index card.

We’ve all seen this phenomenon first hand, that even when we follow aunt Betty’s recipe exactly, the results just aren’t quite the same.  We come up with excuses, blaming the altitude or the insufficient seasoning on our cast-iron skillet, but the only real excuse, and I really do believe this, is that it is missing the love.

When I go see my aunt Betty, she always makes me gravy and biscuits.  These are things of legends.  Every time either my brother or I are in Arkansas without the other, we will call each other up and rub it in that we had aunt Betty’s biscuits and gravy.  I have been eating this meal my whole life and yet I struggle to make gravy at all, let alone such wonderful grub as aunt Betty’s.  I’ve been watching her, trying to learn her secrets, but she always “eyeballs” the ingredients and evidently my eyeballs don’t work as well as hers.  Aunt Betty usually fusses over the thickness or saltiness, but no matter what, that is always some good gravy.  It is made with love, as she stirs with her wooden spoon, she gives herself to this act of creating because she loves me and you can literally taste it.

Perhaps it is this way with all our creative acts.  That if we try to recreate what another has done, no matter how good the original, the end result is simply left lacking.  This doesn’t mean we don’t learn from those before. No, we get in that kitchen and watch them work.  And we learn, if we are lucky, that the secret ingredient is not some exotic spice but a charitable heart, a passion to make the world a better place, even if only one biscuit at a time.  I am a witness that a single act of creating soul-food can change a person.

Although my aunt Betty never misses an opportunity to tell me she loves me, I hear her the loudest at the dinner table.  I taste the truth of these words in her gravy and it oh so sweet.  I only pray that I will be so brave when I put my hands to work, that I will not seek to imitate, but to love; and that is how I would best honor Aunt Betty.  Not by trying to recreate her food, but by giving myself to something in such a way, that perhaps it just might change the world, that it just might be real soul-food.

We welcome Michael Gallup as one of the “servers” at the Neighborhood Cafe. Michael will be periodically writing our Monday blog. Michael is a southern gentleman who wishes his current employer would see the error of their ways and let him grow a beard. He is a member of The Neighborhood Church (tnc3.org) and is attending Denver Seminary. He writes a blog at www.asprigofhope.blogspot.com

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