One of my favorite topics of conversation with my dermatology residents is sharing our foodie experiences. From a hole in the wall to food trucks to fine dining, we all share a common passion of finding a hidden gem.
Recently, I was describing my experience at a nearby Indian restaurant. Describing one of the savory dishes and most likely mispronouncing the name of the dish, one of my residents, who is of Indian descent, politely asked me, “Do you think this is more of a Northern or Southern Indian style of cooking?”
The folly of my ethnocentric viewpoint was laid bare.
“Sorry, you are absolutely correct! I really don’t know.”
There is no Indian food, Italian food, or American food. It is all regional. I know this. Yet, how often do I generically and casually lump ethnic food by the originating country, ignorant that it is a narrow minded approach? If I am served a samosa or chicken tikka, I indiscriminately lump it as Indian food, without realizing how loudly this proclaims my insensitivity and ignorance.
And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
John 1:46 (NKJV)
When Nathanael first heard of Jesus, he immediately dismissed Him based upon his hometown of Nazareth. At that time, Nazareth was a small town of a few hundred with a reputation of Roman persecutions, inhabited by unruly and unsavory characters, including tax revolters. It would have been simple for Nathanael to indiscriminately lump Jesus with the entire town and dismiss His credibility. How could the Messiah come from a town with such a horrible reputation?
And this is the problem, isn’t it? When I first began investigating the claims of Jesus Christ, I fell victim to the same indiscriminate lumping that I demonstrated with my ignorance of ethnic food. Jesus was just another prophet in a long line of religious leaders. Confucious, Buddha, Muhammad, Baháʼu’lláh-whenever a new one appeared, another religion was created. What difference did it make? Isn’t the purpose of all religions is to make us a better person?
Philip understood Nathanael’s disdain but did not challenge him. Instead he extended the invitation, “Come and see.” This is what I did. When I began to earnestly read the Bible and learn about who Jesus Christ was, I realized I could no longer assume all religions were different pathways to the same God. I soon confessed and repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
Lumping is convenient but it prevents us from seeing the deeper and more beautiful Truth of God and His creation.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.