Archive for February, 2010

Life is a Bowl of Chili

February 28, 2010 Leave a comment

The uninitiated would call it a Chili Night. Sure, there was chili, and it was night, but the multitude of undercurrents, subplots and metaphors make the WECC men’s Chili Night something far more profound and significant. And this year’s event was no exception.

First, there’s the fellowship. Everyone knows that men aren’t the greatest at relating to one another. That murky area of human interaction is a source of puzzlement to many of the male ilk. However, if one sets a bowl of chili in the midst of a group of awkward men, this unlikely catalyst instantly transforms them into a band of brothers. In fact, I believe that these relationally medicinal properties of chili can be utilized to bring the Church into greater unity, effectively aiding in the advance of the Kingdom of God.

You scoff at this idea? How else could our humble WECC Chili night draw men from FireLight, LivingStones, Trinity Baptist, Vineyard and Riverwood Churches into rich fellowship with one another, irregardless of our local allegiances? We all shared tasty joy over George’s flavourful “Chili, Chili, Bang, Bang”, and we all shared tears (and runny noses) over Alex’s Filipino “Bicol Express”, which was a consuming fire. Men from different Churches, different generations and different cultures tasted together, talked together, assessed together, worshiped together, heard the Word of God together, cheered together and prayed together, all around an unassuming bowl of chili.

 Then there’s the competition. Even though we live in enlightened days where some would like to completely efface the word “competition” and give us only toothless cooperative games where no one wins and many men secretly wonder what the point was, there’s nothing like a good competition to spur a man on to greater things, both inside and out. And our little chili competition is no exception. The chili competitors take their stuff seriously. They research, they improve their recipes, they practice their skills, they schmooze, and they taunt each other with early morning phone calls on the day of the competition… But just like professional athletes, after they have exerted themselves to the utmost against each other and a winner is declared, they willingly shake hands with their adversaries, sincerely cheering the victors. And so they leave the chili competition better men, both in skill and character.

Finally, there’s the theme. Every year, the WECC Chili Night takes on a theme, like cowboys or gladiators, or some other thing that fascinates men and mystifies women. This year’s theme was “Mind Like Water, Heart Like a Lion”, illustrating the “Kung Fu master” or “Mexican Luchador” approach to chili, and by obvious association, to life. With this in mind, I spoke to the men about why we are fascinated by the Kung Fu master, like Kwai Chang Caine in the “Kung Fu” series, who can maintain complete inner peace while beating the snot out of somebody, or the Mexican Luchador, who like Nacho, can find transcendent purpose and glory in the wrestling ring. These two icons represent peace and purpose, two things that men are created to strive for. However, neither the rigours of mental discipline nor the glory of selfish purpose actually achieve real peace and purpose. I explained that satisfying peace comes only by finding peace in our relationship with God, and satisfying purpose comes only by discovering the good works that God has prepared in advance for us to do. So we as men have been created with an insatiable desire for peace and purpose, which can only be found in God Himself. And inevitably we are pointed to the true Hero, Jesus Christ, who had more peace in His little finger than any Kung Fu master has in his whole body, and who was more lion-hearted in God’s purposes than all the luchadors in Mexico. And so I got the chance to warn my chili brothers about the futility of chasing after peace and purpose without God, and I got the chance to encourage them to continue to find their peace and purpose in Jesus Christ, who has reconciled us to the Father, who is our true source of these things.

All in all, not bad for a chili night.

May the Lord bless you,

Rob (

Categories: Rob's Blog