As we are deep into saltiness right now, I wanted to sprinkle on top of what Dusty spoke about - adding flavor to our city. As it was pointed out, light seems to be the more "glamorous" from Jesus's salt and light proclamation. Light is bold, dynamic, and really gets our attention, whether from the exquisite beauty of a sunset creation or the ominous warning of that oncoming train we best take heed of.
But salt is, well, just SALT. It's like blue-collar’s younger brother, not flashy but quietly essential, and content with toiling in the background. As Dusty spoke, I was struck with how being salty in this city seemed to be a "good fit" for us Christians. What do I mean by this? Read on.
Salt is a noun. Jesus didn't begin by saying "go sprinkle people with salt". He said we ARE salt. Yes the implication is that salt will be useful and used, as are we in the cities and situations of our daily lives, but he started the conversation by speaking to our identity - by naming us. Rubbing shoulders with Eugene, we will by default sprinkle on people. It's up to us to learn the nuances - to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and follow his lead with when, where, and how much salt our situations need.
In cooking, salt contributes to taste, but it is not THE taste. If you taste the salt, you've used too much. Here are the ways not to use salt: First, it would be foolish to salt most food in the very beginning. You need to wait until the elements and flavors come together under heat, and start to meld. The spiritual implication is this - you can't influence someone for the gospel without first being in relationship with them.
Secondly, you don't salt at the end because the crystals will just sit on top of the food. You'll taste its salty harshness, plus you've missed the opportunity to allow the salt to do what it does best - become an agent of change that brings together and enhances the diverse flavors of the raw foods. Salt dynamically changes things, and along with the heat, causes the ingredients to - together - become more than the sum of their parts. The implications? We don't drop in, dump on people, then expect change. Cooking takes an investment of time. It's a process.
So how do you salt? Usually, it's as you are most the way through the heating process, after the ingredients have melded together. You salt a little, and taste. Salt a little more, and taste. Just like Goldylocks, not too little, not too much - JUST RIGHT. Perfect salting takes great care - and LOVE.
All of this seemed like a good fit to me because all too often when we think of evangelizing our world, we think of being pushy and loud, debating politics, and winning arguments. For most of us, that's not comfortable, and I'm not at all convinced we should be behaving that way even if our personality allows it. But I think any of us can just be salt, under the loving care of our Supreme Chef. We are to sip with people at our round tables and quietly do our job, adding his good flavor to the food our city desperately needs.