The other night I had the privilege at eating at Texas Steakhouse, which is like Logan’s Roadhouse, which both have something in common with Five Guys and a Burger, which is my favorite of the three. That information isn’t important. Neither is it important that among the few lifespan-decreasing fast food chain restaurants I actually enjoy is Five Guys and a Burger. On two levels, the burgers and peanut-oil fries are to die for. I’m here to talk about the peanuts.
But the most rewarding feature of these dining establishments may not be the topping-laden burgers, but the unlimited peanuts (Virginia is famous for our peanuts, by the way). Like the more familiar steakhouse Logan’s Roadhouse, Five Guys lets you have all the peanuts you want and—this is the best part—shamelessly toss the shells onto the floor.
The place is saturated with the organic litter of rabid peanut gobblers. There’s no denying it—if this was any other restaurant, it would go out of business in a heartbeat. That’s the beauty of it. We’re allowed to get away with being messy.
Of course, it just so happens that every time I eat there one of those five guys is sweeping the floor. And as I nonchalantly pitch a handful of empty husks and skins onto the freshly swept walking zone, I get a dirty look. I feel guilty for having soiled the floor with my nut shavings. But why should I? In this restaurant, do I not have the privilege—no—the right to distribute legume debris anywhere I please?
How dare you make me feel guilty, I want to tell the employee. I will not let you do it. I will not let you bring unwarranted shame upon me for my actions. This place has granted sufficient grace to me so that I may dispose of as many earthnut encasings as I like.
However, I am aware of the fact that, although I am welcome to fling boundless heaps of pinder pods on the tile floor, there are restrictions. That is, burgers, fries, and other edibles are unwelcome, discouraged, frowned upon. As in any restaurant, it’s uncalled for. Hence, we know our limits.
Do you see the connection I’m about to draw? It relates to Christianity. We have had grace extended in our favor, but how much? What are we allowed and not allowed to do? Where are our limits? We are constantly debating the answers, aren’t we?
Bible Lectureship time is here this week at my alma mater and, as always, teachings will be discussed. In one forum, they will even be debated publicly. Will we listen to each other? Will we respect each other? Will we conduct ourselves in a Christian manner, no matter how strong our convictions?
There are things we are allowed to do, to say, to think, but there will always be those who will not spare us the convenience of enjoying it. There are things we are not authorized to do, but there will always be those who argue otherwise, with color and flagrance. The trouble comes when we can’t agree on the difference.
We’re just a bunch of goobers, really. We’re planted, stuck in the mud, begin to grow, and just when we think we’re free from our roots, we find ourselves trapped in a nutshell with each other, unable to escape. We don’t come salted, so we have to learn to be. If not, we’re tossed back to the ground to be stomped on.
No, I haven’t exhausted the allegory yet.
It seems the best we can do is learn to live with each other, to shed our skins and realize we all have two sides. No matter how much we disagree, we all come from the same source, and we all want to end up in the same place. So the sooner we learn to get along with one another, the better.
Otherwise we’ll drive each other nuts.