At a church meeting/breakfast this morning I was faced with an ontological dilemma: what do I order for breakfast?

I am being trite, even disrespectful you think.  Well, listen . . .

I am on a diet. Really. The kind of diet that disallows all carbohydrates. Potatoes, toast (even, healthy whole grain toast), and everything sweet, are history!

Which is why I faced an ontological (relating to the basic nature of things, beginnings) dilemma this morning.

The first crisis: I could do what I liked.  My surrogate conscience (my wife Karen) was absent.  I knew full well that my church comrades would willingly, with no judgment attached, join me as co-conspirators. It is a confession of faith among Presbyterian men, indeed, the eleventh commandment, “thy shall not tell thy brother’s wife what thee and thy comrade ate at the men’s breakfast.” Oh we don’t lie but half-truths have evolved into a perfidious science. When asked what we ate we respond, “Oh it was health” or “It was not as bad as usual.” And then we quickly change the subject, “Honey, your hair looks beautiful today” or something like it.  I hope my readers will appreciate my raw honesty, and will not, ontologically, condemn me. So I could have sinned today and eaten what I liked . . . but I didn’t. I will tell you why I didn’t in a minute.

The second crisis: my brother-in-Christ Jeff, who is not on a diet, ordered a double hash brown order “to make up, Pastor, for what you are not eating.”  Of course, Jeff was doing no such thing—eating my portion to make up for what I was not eating—he was being mean. Spiteful. Disrespectful. Ontologically, he forgot my high and lofty role in his church! For a few moments I wished to be an Episcopalian or Roman Catholic priest, full of hierarchical power, but, alas, I was captured by a dilemma: I thoroughly embrace the notion of the “priesthood of all believers” so Jeff, fortuitously, escaped clergy wrath and I smiled and with great frustration sprinkled more hot sauce on my unappetizing American cheese omelet.

The last crisis: in the midst of a plethora of choices—indeed, my life is normally full of choices—500 plus television choices, 18 different menu items—Belgian waffles, blueberry pancakes, Texas toast sandwich—sigh, I now had one choice: Eggs and bacon or sausage. And I was not enjoying the feeling.

So I ate my breakfast, without sin and guile. I did so with a smile and joy in my heart (sort of). I will take my ½ pound of weight loss this week and smile. I do it to please my wife, to improve my health, etc. But I also do it for love.

And here is the point of this blog—eating this breakfast is sort of like my walk of faith. I do it because I love God and I want to please Him and I want to . . . well that is about it: I love Him.  I do not wish to trivialize the grace of God by suggesting it is remotely related to my diet—but human motivation, in the face of so many choices, in the face of so much temptation, when push comes to shove, comes down to love. Not fear. Not manipulation. But love. God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son—That is pretty well the reason I obey God’s commandments. He will love me anyway—I do not embrace a performance-based religion—my Savior died on the cross for my sins because He loved me and willingly chose to do it.

So think of these ontological things . . . and pass the hot sauce. . .

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