Brussels Sprouts are good for you…but I still won’t eat them!
My mum loves Brussels Sprouts. I don’t know why! But I do know that there’s a very good reason why they’re called the most hated of all vegetables.
But. Apparently, they’re good for you.
Apparently, they’re filled with vitamin C, vitamin K, carotenoids and fibre!
And apparently they even have some anti-cancer benefits. Supposedly. But what would Harvard University know? (Source: School of Public Health, Harvard University.)
The reason why I hate Brussels Sprouts is that they just taste rubbish. There is a reason for that. Google says so! Brussels Sprouts are bitter because they contain a sulphur-containing phytochemical called glucosinolate. AKA Sulphur! According to the Bible, sulphur is associated with brimstone and brimstone is associated with divine retribution!
That explains everything!
So you might be wondering why I am sharing my disdain for Brussels Sprouts. And I have to be honest, it has nothing to do with their association with divine retribution!
The reason I share what I share, is that I have heard it said that if people would simply learn and understand ‘what I love about the church’, about our liturgy, about the way we do things, they will fall in love with it too. My disdain for Brussels Sprouts tells me tells me that just because something is good for you, doesn’t mean that you will like it. That very thinking creates cognitive dissonance.
Now don’t get me wrong.
I love the church. I love to gather together with fellow believers. I value worship. I appreciate anything that draws me into a moment of awe about what God does for me; the acoustic resonance of the chanted liturgy in a big cathedral and the moments of silence in contemplative worship. And I appreciate the passion and energy of singing contemporary worship songs in a large group.
But despite what I like, I have also learned that where I worship, when I worship and how I worship is not as important as who I worship.
I was talking with someone recently who lamented the loss of liturgical worship in their church (and by that they meant the chanted liturgy) and the diminishing attendance of worship on Sunday mornings. And then they made the startling comment: ‘Young people are just not interested anymore’.
Research by McCrindle in Australia and Barna in the US, suggests that young people are actually more spiritual than the generation that went before them; it’s just that, by and large, they have disconnected from the way that their parents ‘do church’. They see a disconnect between what they hear on a Sunday morning and what they encounter during the week. So, to use the Brussels Sprouts analogy, it doesn’t matter how much you tell them how good Brussel Sprouts are for you, they may well and truly choose to eat Kale! For what it is worth, another ungodly vegetable!
So what can we learn?
We need to do cultural exegesis! We need to understand the heart language of those we care about. We need to learn to speak their language!
That might even mean that we need to give up our Brussels Sprouts. Or we might even have to avoid Kale.
As followers of Jesus, who himself did whatever was necessary to engage with, be heard and understood by the local culture, we can be confident that what Jesus has done on the cross is more than provide a free pass to heaven; what Jesus has done on the cross provides the power to remove a person’s self-loathing (often exacerbated by social media), and anxiety (about past failures or future possibilities), and learn to find ways to engage with and impact how community happens in the world!
- What do you really think about Brussels Sprouts and why?
- Do you have ‘Brussels Sprouts’ thinking happening in your church?
- If you were to engage with people who don’t currently gather in your faith community, what would need to change?
- How might your understanding of what Jesus has done for you empower you to find ways to connect with ‘Kale’ moments with others?