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Blog: Tom Job

A Note from Tom: Spetember 30th, 2011

CCC Oak Ridge

Hey, everyone!

Or as they’ll say at the Museum of Appalachia Homecoming, “Howdy, folks!”

Yup! We’re going next week for an afternoon of toe-tappin’, quilting bee-in’, banjo plunkin’, wool spinnin’, fiddle sawin’, ‘baccy chawin’, juice spittin’, moonshine chuggin’ fun! (…well, not those last three!)

It’s gonna be beautiful! On Friday, we’ll hear the “high lonesome” songs of Harlan Fields and the Bluegrass Scholars, the Appalachian Harmonizers, Ramona Jones, widow of the late, great Grampa Jones…wow! The list just keeps goin’!

Mmmmm,! I know that they’ll have that amazingly good ol’ Southern cookin’! Altho’ I’m not a huge fan of some of those dishes…

Pinto bean pie, corn meal gravy, possom jerky, dandelion jelly…Whoa! These are just not my personal favs…

Ever tried ramps? Yuck! Makes your eyes (not your mouth!) water just thinking about it!

Collard greens…Shoooo! I just struggle with them. I think they’re slimy and gross. I’m not sure what to do about it. If anything.

Back in the Old Testament days, they had foods that no one would ever eat. Some southern favorites like rabbit stew or pork barbeque would be unthinkable to the ancients. Other coastal and/or Cajun dishes…squid, shrimp, lobster would be left untouched.  It wasn’t because they were yucky (tho’ some illegal foods like lizards, bats, snakes and spiders were borderline gross) but it was because they were “unclean”. Check it in Leviticus, chapter 11. God had determined that His people shouldn’t eat certain critters because it just wasn’t right. In some cases, it was hard to know why, but… Don’t touch! Don’t taste! Above all, don’t swallow!

Until one day…

In Mark, chapter seven, Jesus was talking with His closest friends about some tensions that the religious folks had with Him. They had bunches of problems with Him, but this one was about the things you should or shouldn’t eat and how you should or shouldn’t eat them.

““Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’?...(In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”) He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, hate, envy, etc. These make him unclean..”

So, it isn’t what you eat that makes you unclean.

But in the middle of all that, our Lord said something amazing! Really, miraculous! Something only the Living God could say! Maybe you didn’t catch it…

“...(In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”)”

“What!? Those unclean foods are no longer unclean? We thought lobster was unacceptable to God! We thought rabbit was unwelcome at the table! We thought pork had no place in a holy home!”

It didn’t. Until that very moment! Jesus wasn’t saying that they were really always OK even though the laws of Leviticus outlawed them. He was saying they were undesirable and unacceptable until He said…in that moment…“Now they’re fine, good, and mmmm…good for you!”

Only God could do that! He made the rules! He gave the laws! He was the only One Who had the right to pronounce them unclean! And He’s the only One Who has the right to say…now they’re not!

Just like He did with you and me!

There was a time when we were unclean, impure, unacceptable. Yes, we were! Until the day we accepted Jesus and He said, “Now you’re clean! Now you’re pure! Now you’re good! Now you’re more than fine! Now you’re Mine!”

 “What!? They’re no longer unclean? We thought he was unacceptable to God! We thought she was unwelcome at the table! We thought they had no place in a holy home!”

That’s right! They were! Now they’re not! Once they didn’t! Now they do! Know why? “Cause He says so!

To reword Mark 7 a little…for those who accept Jesus. ”In saying this, Jesus declared all fools ‘clean’!”

As Paul says in his awesome Romans chapter 8, “God is the One Who declares us righteous, acceptable, and clean! Who can condemn us?”

What a miracle!

I’m super-thankful He declared all foods…and you and me…clean!

I still don’t like collard greens.

(That might take another miracle…)