Texas BBQ Tour


Brisket, sausage, and dry cured sausage at Kreuz Market

A long time ago I saw an episode of 60-Minutes on family feuds.  The one story I remember was about Kreuz Market in Lockhart, TX.  (Google it, you can find a lot of stories about the story).  What I remember most was that the barbecue was served on butcher paper, with no plates, no forks, and no sauce.  The guy said “Good meat don’t need no sauce.”  And I have had Kreuz Market on my bucket list before bucket lists were a thing.

Since the explosion of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on the Food Network, and Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel, I have added a few other Texas BBQ joints to my bucket list.  Last week I finally checked off some of the places on that list – and a couple of places that weren’t on my list – and discovered a lot of things about Texas, barbecue, and friendship along the way.


Sitting by the fire at the Blanco County Inn

A friend and I drove from Fort Worth and spent a couple of nights in a renovated 1930s motel in Blanco (if you are ever in Blanco, check out the Blanco County Inn – you  won’t be sorry).  We had outstanding ribs and sausage at the Old 300 BBQ in Blanco, did a little antique shopping, walked around the park, and spent a little time in Bible study with the local Church of Christ (good people – very welcoming and friendly).  Before hitting the trail the next morning, we had some of the best klobasnek and cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had.  (What’s a klobasnek?  It’s what we usually call a kolache – but apparently the Czechs who created this delight insist that a kolache is fruit filled and a klobasnek is the meat filled version I love).  The German and Czech influence on the food in the Texas Hill Country is just wonderful!!

While I thoroughly enjoyed the barbecue in all the places we visited, I learned a couple of things that any smart, thinking person would probably have known without making such a trip.  But, making the discovery, and spending time with a cherished friend…well…there’s just no substitute for spending time with friends.


Open Pit BBQ at The Salt Lick

We drove over to Lockhart and had a sampling of the barbecue at both Kreuz Market and Black’s Barbecue (in business since 1900 and 1932, respectively), did some more antiquing, stopped off at the Wimberely Glassworks and watched an incredible display of glassblowing, and then made our way to Driftwood for a sample of the smoky goodness at The Salt Lick.  This is one of those iconic places you see on TV that makes you crave a visit, and then when  you come away you wonder what all  the fuss was about.  It was a neat experience, and that barbecue pit is really awesome to see, but the food is not the best you can get in this area – if you’re gonna drive that far out into nowhere, go on over to Blanco and hit the Old 300.  (But if you’re with friends who are dying to go, be sure you go early in the day, and during the week – on the weekends, you could be in for a two-hour wait – it’s good, and fun, but it ain’t that good.)


Brisket and Ribs at Railhead Smokehouse

When we headed back home, we had to take a break from the barbecue and sample the German food in Fredericksburg and then head on back to Fort Worth.  While the Austin area and the surrounding Hill Country is known for having some of the best, most iconic barbecue in Texas (and therefore in all of America), I was pleasantly surprised to find some of the best barbecue of the whole trip at Railhead Smokehouse in Fort Worth.  And that brings me around to what I learned – or maybe what I confirmed – on this bucket list trip.

  • You don’t have to go to the most iconic places on the map to get the best food, but it sure is fun to see what all the fuss is about.
  • Even if your bucket list trip doesn’t work out exactly as planned (my “list” is still pretty long), you can find some unexpected gems along the way (the fire pit at the Blanco County Inn, German food in Fredericksburg, glass blowing in Wimberley, a bin full of extra Scrabble letters in an antique shop – to replace the ones we’ve been missing for 10 years, an old run-down dance hall where some really famous people have played, and some beautiful bluebonnets and scenery in the Hill Country).
  • No matter where you go, what you see, or what you do, going with a friend will make it an unbeatable experience.  Even if you are an introvert who prefers to spend time alone.  Go with a friend.  You’ll be glad you did.  And you’ll be ready to go again real soon.


(note: if you want a detailed review of all the places we ate, check out my reviews on Yelp! – Old 300 BBQ, Kreuz Market, Black’s Barbecue, The Salt Lick BBQ, Railhead Smokehouse, Auslander Biergarten, The Deutsch Apple, and Main St. Donuts and Kolaches)


Unconventional Wisdom

“Think outside the box,” they said. “Question Authority,” they said.  So, here I am, thinking outside the box, challenging the “authorities.”  Sticking my neck out, putting my reputation on the line.  All for the sake of making progress.  Well…I hope it’s progress.

Last week I submitted a proposal that challenges a world of conventional wisdom in the field of industrial safety and personal protection.  It was a bit unnerving to put the proposal in writing and send it to the people who can gather up the money to test the theory.  Not just because it’s a new idea, but because it is an in-your-face challenge to a LOT of history and heavy hitters in the world of personal protection.

And since I’m out of the box already, I started a bit of research on something a bit less important, but with conventional wisdom that is at least as well established.

Last week, I was the blessed recipient of a brand-spanking new combination gas/charcoal grill and smoker.  And since I’ve never owned a bona-fide, wood-fired smoker (I did have a little electric one that served us well), I had to give it a go last weekend.  And I did all the things you are supposed to do when smoking meat – marinated some of the meat in a salt/sugar brine, and cooked it low and slow (which is a good plan) with thoroughly seasoned and soaked hardwood chunks to create some nice smoke.  The result was fantastic.  Something I plan to repeat as often as I can.

But….next time, I might try something new, too.


Orange Wood Chunks

Before I got busy smoking meat, I had to do a little yard work which included “trimming” my Satsuma orange tree.  There was this one big branch hanging way too low (dragging the ground), so we cut it back to the stump. Doing that yielded quite a few thick limbs that made the perfect size chunks of wood for the smoker.  And while searching  the interwebs for confirmation that using orange wood in the smoker was okay, I found a few other bits of information that fly in the face of all the conventional wisdom I had learned about smoking meat.  (By the way, it is okay to use orange wood in the smoker.  As it happens, you can even buy it commercially.  Lucky me – all I had to give was half-a-day’s worth of sweat, blisters, and sore muscles.)

The good people at Epicurious say that marinating your meat is wasting your time (and maybe even ruining your meat).  Get the details here.  In summary, the marinade does not penetrate deeper than the outer layer, it does not tenderize your meat, and it does not make your meat juicier (it might even lead to steaming instead of searing and make your meat soggy).  Quality meat, ample fat, and proper cooking will make your meat juicy and wonderful (which is pretty much what happened with my ribs and Boston butt last weekend – even the pork shoulder I brined wasn’t really juicier than the Boston butt).  I like a nice dry rub on ribs anyway, so I think I’ll just skip the marinating business from now on.

But now for the real myth busting.  Meathead Goldwyn over at AmazingRibs.com says to stop soaking your wood.  Like the marinade, he says the water only penetrates the outer layer and dries out nearly as soon as you put it on the fire anyway.  His testing showed wood chips only absorbed 4% water.  And you need dry wood to get blue smoke (a thing I never heard of, but apparently is what you really want when smoking meat).  If this is true, I no longer have to guess at how much wood to soak to be sure I have enough.  I can just get a chunk or two from the bucket and toss them in as needed.

Meathead also says that pink smoke ring isn’t actually created by smoke penetrating the meat, but by a chemical reaction.  And you can’t make it go deeper into the meat by smoking it longer – but you can get more flavor and more tenderness by cooking longer.  So stop worrying about whether your “smoke ring” is think enough – you can’t change that anyway.  (That pink ring is the result of the reaction between myoglobin, and nitric oxide and carbon monoxide – he’s got a lot of science there to support this theory.  Just go with it.)

It is also conventional (or at least common) wisdom that you should remove the bark from your smoking wood.  But the bark on my orange tree is so thin and tightly bound that I think it would not be worth the trouble.  But then I read numerous discussions, like this one, that suggest there are some widely varying opinions on this issue.  I think I’ll leave the bark on and see what happens.

After submitting my proposal on personal protection, it turns out that numerous people have come out of the shadows saying “yeah, I’ve been thinking that, too.”  Maybe they didn’t see a need to challenge the accepted wisdom, or didn’t have the energy to dig into the details, or maybe they just didn’t want to rock the boat.  Who knows?  But give it a try.  Think outside the box, turn the world upside-down, and challenge the conventional wisdom.  You could be surprised what might happen.

The Jambalaya Chronicles, Part 2

Since the last time I wrote about jambalaya, those people over at Tasty posted this video recipe and called it jambalaya.  And there was a quite a backlash by my own transplanted Yankee kids, and certainly by the serious South Louisiana jambalaya aficionados.

“…wouldn’t know what graton is if it hit him in the face.”

What’s graton?  It’s that yummy, browned, crunchy stuff on the bottom of the pot that you gotta deglaze to get all the flavor (and color) from.  If you don’t get a good graton, your jambalaya might look like…well….like that pan of rice and tomatoes those people at Tasty called a jambalaya.  I’m still working on getting a good graton, and a good, dark brown jambalaya – but according to the feedback I get, the taste is worth coming back for.

A couple of weeks ago, I caught the tail-end of a section on one of my favorite food shows (I think it was on “Bizarre Foods” – but I watch so many of these shows) and they mentioned a “chicken bog” in South Carolina.  The picture they showed looked a lot like a good jambalaya.  So I searched the interweb for chicken bog and found something quite amazing.

I showed this picture to my daughter and  she said that it looked like a good jambalaya.ChickenBog

Not only does it look like a good Gonzales jambalaya, it has nearly all the same ingredients.  Chicken, smoked sausage, onions, salt, pepper, garlic, and rice.  Except they boil the chicken first – ack!  But still, the finished product looks, um, tasty.  It appears that chicken bog is limited to a small area in South Carolina (around Myrtle Beach), but some other folks are making chicken perlo, which is nearly the same thing.  And, like a jambalaya, some folks like to add bacon to their chicken bog.  One blogger said:

The defining factor for good chicken bog, is moist, greasy (hence the bacon) rice. While greasy hair may be a turnoff (unless you’re an Alabama fan), greasy chicken bog is highly desireable, so be sure to err on the wet side when measuring your broth. Unlike rice pilaf or pilau, chicken bog should clump to your fork when eating.

(note: pilaf and pilau appear to be alternative spellings/pronunciations for perlo – or maybe perlo is how they say pilau in “South Curlina.”)

What I find so interesting in all this is that all over America – all over the world – people have come up with their own, unique  – and nearly the same – ways to cook up rice and meat.  The first time I had paella (in Puerto Rico), I asked my host if he knew about jambalaya, and he said “Yes, yes!  It’s the same.”  (Well – sort of – they both have rice and meat, and if you do it right, you can’t make just a little.)

Ten years ago when our new Medical Director (from Scotland) spent two days with me driving to our plant in Alabama, we talked about a lot of things.  I had to ask about haggis.  I suggested it sounded pretty rank, but that I might try it someday.  He reminded me that every culture has a way of using the offal and low grade cuts of meat that used to be trash.  And I then thought about our Cajun boudin.  Pretty much the same thing as haggis, but with rice instead of oatmeal, and pork instead of sheep.

I’ve watched a lot of food shows, and eaten in a lot of cities across America (and a few in Europe), and it turns out – it’s the same all over.  To be sure, the bratwurst and curry wurst is better in Berlin, Texas and Carolina BBQ can’t be beat, and the best jambalaya is in Gonzales, Louisiana.  But, all over the world, we’re all feeding ourselves with pretty much the same things – and in their own way, most of them are yummy.  I’m still not down with that quinoa jambalaya, or the Tasty version with shrimp and tomatoes, but otherwise….let’s eat, y’all.

Next time I make a jambalaya, I think I’m gonna have to record the steps and straighten out those folks over at Tasty.

The Jambalaya Chronicles

interstate 10

The Louisiana Cajun-Yankee line of demarcation (we don’t know about Mason and Dixon – that was way too far north).

Although I am a native of Louisiana, I am a Yankee from Shreveport.  When I moved to South Louisiana, someone told me that Shreveport was almost Louisiana.  And I freely admit that Shreveport is the capital of East Texas.  North Louisiana really is culturally and geographically more like East Texas and South Arkansas.  If you want to talk about Cajun and Creole culture and swamp land, you have to go South – and some say you have to go South of Interstate 10 (and by that standard, I’m still a Yankee by 1.2 miles).

But, since becoming embedded in the southern Louisiana life, and more particularly the culture around Gonzales, I have become obsessed with making a good jambalaya.  All cities worth their salt around here have some festival dedicated to a local food or legend (mostly food).  And each one lays claim to being the world capital of said food.  It’s really no different than anywhere else.  I mean no one honestly believes that the Magnolia Blossom Festival is the home of World Champion Ribeye Steaks…or is it?  Whatever you believe, those are some of the best steaks you will ever eat.  And they have become a qualifying event for the World Food Championships with Adam Richman.  So, maybe they are the world capital.

Likewise, Gonzales, LA is the self-proclaimed Jambalaya Capital of the World.  Living in such a place one gets exposed to a lot of different jambalaya recipes.  And one begins to lean toward a favorite.  During our time here I have had the opportunity to work in a few concession stands at football games.  As you might imagine, in a place like Gonzales, jambalaya is a concession stand staple.  Any stadium worth going to on a Friday night in the Fall is selling jambalaya made by a volunteer parent or grandparent.  And the Dutchtown High School stadium is a fine example, with Mr. Mike making one of the best jambalayas around.  It’s so good, even my Yankee kids get excited to know they’ll get a bowl.  People have come to the concession stand and asked if Mr. Mike made the jambalaya this weekend.  And if he didn’t, they order a hamburger.


One of my first, full 10-gallon batches for the college group.

And so when I asked for a 10-gallon jambalaya pot for Christmas, I also asked Mr. Mike if he’d give out his recipe (which is kind of like asking for the keys to Fort Knox).  But he was happy to share.  Turns out that his recipe is a very simple, very rustic kind of thing and that’s what I like.  If you enter the Gonzales championship cook-off there is a very limited list of ingredients you are allowed to use.  I think they are trying to determine only two things:  can you cook rice, and can you make it brown and yummy looking without using artificial coloring (like Kitchen Bouquet).  To that end, most competitions around here do not allow artificial coloring or parboiled rice.  Using those two things is considered cheating.

I have learned that there are a thousand ways to make jambalaya, and that like everyone else, I think I’ve got the best recipe.  I have a simple, old-school recipe that is a descendant of recipes used by past champions, and I am a traditionalist.  I can accept that there are lots of ways to make jambalaya and people have different tastes.  Some people like to put in Pickapeppa sauce, and Tiger Sauce, and Worcestershire sauce, and on and on.  I got a recipe from one guy that had 20 different seasoning ingredients and a couple of different cream soups.  You can find a LOT of different stove-top recipes on the internet, and most of them look pretty good.  I’m not so sure about this quinoa version with turkey sausage, but just about anything else looks pretty tasty.  But I still prefer a traditional, simple recipe with salt, pepper, garlic and hot sauce.  And no seafood (save that for the boiling pot).

My Dad, working on 10 pounds of onions.

My Dad, working on 10 pounds of onions.

You might not have many jambalaya competitions where you live, but around here that’s how people raise money.  Little League baseball teams stand out front of Lowe’s hawking jambalaya lunches, families of kids with medical problems have benefit fundraisers with jambalaya lunches.  The Kiwanis Club in your town is probably selling BBQ chicken dinners to raise money.  In this area, it’s jambalaya.  And usually from a gigantic pot – lots of fundraisers and competition cooks are using 30 or 40 gallon cast iron pots to cook in.  Mr. Mike told me he has a pot that will hold 110 pounds of rice (enough to feed 600 or 700 people).  The amount of jambalaya you cook is measured by how much rice you are using – a 10 pound jambalaya means you are using 10 pounds of rice.  It also means at least 10 pounds of everything else – 10 pounds of sausage, 10 pounds of chicken (or pork), and 10 pounds of onions.  If you are cooking for a fundraiser, keep it simple and straightforward to keep the costs down (we’re trying to raise money, here).  If it’s for family, add more sausage and meat.


Competition style (again, it was not a winner, but it was yummy). (P.S. I do not recommend wearing sandals when cooking jambalaya).

And so with my simple recipe and my 10 gallon cast iron cooking pot, I have found a few local fundraiser competitions to enter (football booster club, United Way, Komen Race for the Cure).  I’ve also cooked a little for the college church group, and a fundraiser for the Winterguard team.   When I entered my first competition, I was told I could not win because I did not have the right last name (look at the list of winners in Gonzales – Ulton Diez, Edward Braud, Fatty Lessard, Tibby Lambert, Tee Wayne Abshire, Norbert Loupe – I’m not Cajun enough to win). But I have had a few people tell me they like my recipe.  I wasn’t real sure if they were being sincere or just neighborly.  Not until a few weeks ago

DSCN3768Me and Randy Fuson got together and entered the Komen Race for the Cure Jambalaya Cook-Off in Baton Rouge to help raise a little money for breast cancer research (BIG thanks to Dräger for sponsoring us).  As we passed out samples for tasting, some of the people told us they liked ours better than the other competitors.  Nice.  Thanks for that.  (Really?  Are y’all just being nice?  Are you telling everybody that?).  But then, a group of about five or six ladies came back to our table and asked if I had a card.  They wanted my number so they could hire me to cook for their event.  SCORE.  YES, it really is good.  Maybe not the best, but “the best” really is  hard to define.  It depends on how much pepper you like, and if you like the brand of sausage we used, and if you like a lot of complex flavors or something simple and rustic.

I’m not looking to start a catering business, but if you need to feed 100 people (or 50 or 20) and you want a good, simple, rustic jambalaya, let me know.  I can hook you up.  And if you need to feed more than that, I know a guy.

How Will I Testify?

They all shouted, “So, are you claiming to be the Son of God?” And he replied, “You say that I am.” “Why do we need other witnesses?” they said. “We ourselves heard him say it.” (Luke 22:70-71)

I will probably never stand in a formal court to answer for my faith. But, as I read the account of Jesus before the Sanhedrin court, I am reminded that I have the opportunity to stand in the court of public perception every single day to stand up and say “I AM HIS.”

How will I testify…

  • when I am cut off in traffic? Do I respond by tailgaiting, flashing my headlights, waving a fist, or maybe even a little sign language?
  • when a cashier is rude and impatient with me?  Do I respond in kind?
  • when I am tempted to engage in gossip? (Do I even recognize gossip when I hear it? It’s pretty subtle sometimes.)
  • when someone frustrates me by disrespecting my schedule or my plans?
  • when someone else takes credit for my work, or blames me for their mistakes?
  • when I am called out for my own mistakes and sin?
  • when I am tempted to spend time on Facebook (or WordPress) instead of with my family or my Lord and His Word?
  • when I am tempted by my own private sin (and the temptation to avoid confessing that sin in public)?
  • when someone challenges my tradition and my theology?
  • to people who openly and proudly engage in coarse talk and sinful lifestyles?
  • to people in need of prayer or encouragement or physical help or financial assistance?

Does my life testify that I have been filled with love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?

In the court of public perception, will I be found guilty of following my Savior’s example and proudly proclaiming His message?

Does my testimony say “I am His”?

Will the court say “Why do we need other witnesses? We ourselves heard him say it.”?

A Fair Blessing

While cleaning up at my parent’s house, I came across a folder full of family history materials.  There were a couple of genealogical charts, some handwritten sermons – more on that later – and a diary.  The diary is typed (apparently copied from the original) and titled “DAY BY DAY REPORT OF A COVERED WAGON TRIP FROM LAWN RIDGE, KANSAS TO UNION CITY, OKLAHOMA made by Wilson W. Jackman, Dave Todd, and others.  Lawn Ridge, Kansas – March 28, 1893.”  (Dave Todd was my great grandfather, born 1866 in Holton, KS)

Some of the text has faded and is unreadable, but the parts that are still legible make for interesting reading.  The closing paragraph is a fantastic blessing from Wilson Jackman to Dave Todd.  A couple of months ago Mark Scott told us that a handwritten letter is a warm and personal way to communicate with someone.  This blessing from Wilson is just that.

We are pretty badly sunburned but, withal, as hale and hearty as can be.  I enjoyed every day of the trip and feel sorry that it is over.  David tired of it, though he stood it pretty well.  David is a good boy and always does his part.  He is good company and, remembering that last dinner and forgetting all the other,  I can recommend him as an excellent cook.  I wish him the success he deserves in all his undertakings, matrimonial and otherwise, and trust that he shall be blessed with a worthy helpmeet to accompany him through the “journey of life”, and that as the somber shadows of “the night” shall lengthen toward the close of a long and useful life, when the pleasures of the world shall cease to delight, the consciousness of the close and ever nearing proximity of the unexplored ocean of eternity shall depress, and only enjoyments which afford comfort and consolation is in the happy reflection of a life well spent in the exercise of piety and virtue, may he recall with pleasure the incidents of the journey we took together from Kansas to Oklahoma and ever fondly cherish on memory’s fairest page, the pleasant days of April eighteen hundred ninety three.

As this year comes to an end, and we prepare to begin again, may I also wish for you a fond recollection of the incidents of the journey through 2014.  Even when we look back on the tragedies and sadness we’ve known this year, I pray your memories are filled with the good times and love you’ve known – may you enjoy the “comfort and consolation in the happy reflection of a life well spent in the exercise of piety and virtue…and ever fondly cherish on memory’s fairest page, the pleasant days of” 2014.

Mistaken Identity

I’m not who I thought I was, and neither is the Church.

I still struggle with an appropriate response to God’s love (nothing I can come up with is enough), and I’m realizing that I have expended much effort on rule-following even when I thought I wasn’t.

Some time ago our elders held a series of classes on church history and passed out a book called “Distant Voices” by C. Leonard Allen.  (Used copies at Amazon for a dollar – what have you got to lose?)  I’m no authority on the Stone-Campbell restoration movement, but reading this book has really challenged who I thought the Church was and is.  I thought that even though the Church of Christ doesn’t have a central governing body, we all pretty much agreed on the same central issues and that Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone came together to reform and restore the Church into the pattern of the New Testament Church.

Turns out that not only was that not their intent, they didn’t even agree on some of the basic principles I thought we all agreed on.  They did not agree on baptism as a measure of fellowship (ch 6, p.39), and they had significant differences of opinion on “the dynamics of conversion, the Spirit’s work, and the Trinity.  They differed on the nature of Christ’s atoning death,  fellowship with the unimmersed, and the Christian’s relationship to government.  And they differed over the nature and demands of discipleship, the possibility of present-day miracles, the earthly reign of Christ, and other doctrinal matters.” (pp. 173-4)

I also thought that the Church of Christ has existed since Jesus died on the cross.  While His Church has existed since then, what we know today as the Church of Christ doesn’t look much like the Church did in the first century. And that’s okay.

In a recent post titled “Lessons from the Churches of Christ,” Adam Wood lamented some of the changes in our musical tradition that he thought were degrading the quality of our worship.  I find it curious that as a Catholic, he’d be worried about the quality of music in a Church of Christ worship service that he never participates in.  But, aside from his thoughts on our musical traditions, he did make what I think are some very astute observations about us (or maybe astute observations about human nature), observations that further challenge my thoughts on my identity as a Christian.

The heart of the Church of Christ’s congregational orientation – a theology of community derived from the Acts of the Apostles – has been reduced in common practice to a mere legalism: “No musical instruments.” Once a theological proposition has been reduced to a legalism, there are two inevitable consequences: circumnavigation and abandonment. Circumnavigation happens when the question becomes, “How can we do whatever we wanted to do anyway, without ‘technically’ breaking the rules?” Abandonment happens when the pretense of technicality is dropped and the rule is simply ignored or removed.

There are two typical ways of reacting to this seemingly inevitable evolution from law to legalism to disregard. Most people go along with whatever trend is currently in vogue, whether actively supporting the change or simply allowing it to happen without comment or resistance. A small minority oppose the change, but usually for spurious reasons having to do with legalism and habit.

Philistines and Pharisees. Progressives and Prudes.

Adam cites some examples of how we have disregarded and abandoned the rules, but all his examples are music related.  There are others.  We have rules about how to conduct a worship service, but we don’t spend a lot of time evangelizing outside of the church building.  We have rules about how and when to hold a weekly communion service, but we don’t actively go house-to-house daily breaking bread with our brothers and sisters.  I have seen people show up at worship, and leave immediately after taking communion so they can make it to another engagement – as if taking communion were a “ticket punch” for showing that you worshiped this week.   I know we don’t pick-and-choose which “rules” to follow and which ones to ignore, but I also know we, as humans, simply cannot get it all right all the time.

Even among the most conservative Churches of Christ who all agree on the role of baptism, a cappella music, regular weekly communion services, and women’s roles, there are differences of opinion on what’s allowable and what isn’t (one cup or multiple cups for communion; break the bread before the prayer or after?; paid preachers or not?; institutional support (orphanages, universities, etc.), and so on).

We like rules.  They make it clear to us what is allowable and what isn’t.  Who is right and who is wrong.  But, it’s just not possible for us to “follow the rules.” Hebrews reminds us that the entire experience of the Israelites made it clear that we cannot.

I know there are some of my friends and family who think I’ve drifted away from the old paths, slipped away from holding to the Truth, and begun to engage in popularism.  But I have begun to recognize that as much as like to be a rule follower, it’s just not possible for me to have all the answers, to know what is absolutely right and what isn’t.  But I can pursue a personal relationship with God, read his Word daily, talk to Him regularly, and let Him show me His Way.

What I’ve come to understand is this:

  • God is the creator
  • Jesus is the Son of God
  • Jesus is The Way, The Truth, and The Life (there is no other path to God)
  • Adult baptism by immersion is essential
  • Regular meeting with the Saints and regular Bible reading is essential to your relationship with Christ.

Everything else is open for discussion.