At the rate things are going, you might need to be careful how you answer that question.
One of our locally-owned eateries was the venue last week for a visit by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis. What happened next did not speak well of our community.
A full contact smack down on social media turned into a standoff between people of differing political persuasions. Regrettably, it seems getting on Facebook is as easy as having a kid. All you have to have is a pulse.
This town isn’t big enough to declare some of our watering holes as being only for one side and some for the other. Go to D.C., which really isn’t much of a town, and you may find places where you mostly order a basket of either left or right wings.
But in our little slice of heaven, we will have to do better. The imperative of being hospitable as a community is what can and should define us.
Nick Pencis has done more to put Tyler on the map with his BBQ joint than most other people get to do in a lifetime. His innovative ideas and expansive plans and mindset have made the place better.
There was talk of a boycott, and then an apology was issued. Problem is, there was a lot of damaging dialogue in between. Words are a lot harder to swallow than ribs drenched in sauce.
I’ve known Nick for a long time and admire the great job he has done with his restaurant and his young growing family.
We need to make sure there is room for people who see things differently.
Gen. George Patton famously said once, “If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”
A German Lutheran theologian of the early 17th century, Rupertus Meldenius* put it another way:
In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.
And living in this part of the world we should all be able to agree, Barbeque is essential.
That last part about charity means love. One definition of charity is: impartial love — the impartial love of other people, especially as a Christian virtue.
Love was the thing Christ talked about being most important while He was here. In fact, He didn’t have much to say about politics. He did however reserve His harshest words for the leaders of the church, the rule-keepers if you will.
It turns out those same people wielded massive political influence. Real power brokers.
Some followers of Christ confuse political liberty with religious conviction.
In fact, those folks would do well to throw their doors open (be hospitable) to people who see things differently. Kind of the way Nick has at Stanley’s.
Some congregations may as well have a sign on the door that says, “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.”
When in fact the message should be, “If your feet need to be washed, see the guy at the top. Come on in and sit a spell. We reserve the right to serve everyone.”
The next time I go eat at Stanley’s, I won’t likely wonder too much about how the guy cooking the meat is going to vote in one political race or another. I just hope he kept the temperature right while the stuff was cooking, and if there is anything liberal about him, I hope it involves the portion on my plate or the sauce that ends up on my ribs.
If he’s too conservative about that stuff, I may have to have a talk with the manager.
*Many people mistakenly attribute this one to Augustine.