The world lost a great man the other day, Pastor Chuck Smith. You can find out all sorts of things about him on the Internet. He played key roles in bringing Christian music into the late twentieth century, and also in the mega-church movement. You can find out more about those two legacies all over the place. However, two things loom the largest in my picture of Pastor Chuck…
1. He opened the church doors to people other than clean cut, middle class folks. Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, Ca. was one of the first, if not the first in America, to make everybody feel welcome. Even long-hairs. And barefoot people. With dirty feet. And these people were not pushed to the periphery of his church, they were welcomed with open arms.
2. He emphasized teaching through the Bible, line by line, verse by verse. This prevented teachers from lifting isolated texts out of their context, with the resulting distortion of the original intent. I’ve discovered that Chuck wasn’t always right about the Bible, but the only reason I discovered this was by following his advice and getting into the Scriptures for myself.
While looking up Pastor Chuck’s obituary, I was startled to discover an obituary for another person who has figured largely in my own growth. That would be Marcella Hazan, and she died on September 29. I have two of her Italian cookbooks and have read others that I borrowed from the library. She taught me that Italian cooking is a lot more than spaghetti and lasagna. Through her books, she taught me cooking processes and techniques that helped me break free from the slavery of following recipes to the letter with no deviation. She taught me about prosciutto and pancetta. Ohhhh!