I have a complicated relationship with bacon. To explain, let’s start with my lucky bacon socks.
I call them “lucky” because whenever I wear these socks, I have an exceptionally good day. Every time. After I discovered this, the following conversation went on with my roommate Rachelle.
Me: I’m manipulating God into making me have a good day by wearing my bacon socks. He has to listen to the bacon socks.
Rachelle (appalled by my heresy): Yeah. Uh-huh. I hope you step in a puddle.
Me (crosses arms, snobbishly): The prayer of a bacon-socked person is powerful and effective.
This is just one example of my obsession with bacon. I also name-drop bacon and use it as the punch line to jokes. The recipe I make most often to bring to parties is potato bacon soup. One of my college bucket list goals was to work “bacon” into a school newspaper article. (Also “flamethrower.” I accomplished both of them.) I even wrote a research paper on bacon in world religions.
But guess what? I actually…um, well…see, the thing is, that…
I don’t like bacon.
(I’ll give you a second to gasp in horror. Go ahead.)
So, now that you’ve gotten over the shock…have you gotten over your shock? It’s going to be okay, really. Not everyone in the world has to like bacon. More for you, right?
Anyway, let me just say that I find eating the crispy, greasy skin of a pig to be pretty gross. And yet I still talk about bacon, refer to bacon as if it has magical powers, and am perfectly capable of writing scholarly things about bacon.
Just like there are people who don’t believe in God who talk about God, wear crosses as if they have magical powers, and write scholarly things about the Bible.
Is it ridiculous to say that, for the first time, I understand those people and why they do what they do a little more…because of bacon? (The answer, clearly, is yes, it is ridiculous. But also true.)
When asked myself why I talk about bacon so much, the answers were obvious. It’s funny. There’s a kind of cult-like fanaticism surrounding it that I find interesting (and like to make fun of). When you talk about bacon, everyone agrees with you and appreciates your contribution to the conversation. (Seriously, if things are dragging in a group setting, bring up bacon and suddenly everyone has something to say.)
A lot of people talk about God for the same reasons. They think religion is a funny punch line or they’re fascinated with practices and beliefs that seem strange to them. Or, in some cases, it’s just the culturally acceptable thing to do to work God into the conversation, even if you don’t really believe in him.
Pop culture makes the Bacon Mistake all the time when it comes to God. My favorite example is characters (like those comedic sidekicks in Pirates of the Caribbean) who cross themselves in a moment of terror when you know they have never actually considered the implications of what the cross is. Random exclamations of God’s name that are supposed to be funny also fit into this category. Or the completely unnecessary moment in Princess Diaries when a nun watching a car accident blurts, “For the love of God.”
But it’s not just screenwriters or people outside the church who make the Bacon Mistake. Christians do it all the time too.
Taking the Lord’s name in vain just means taking something extremely holy—God’s name—and using it in a careless way. When God is a throwaway joke at the end of your story, when you just mouth the words of the worship music you’re singing, when you throw Jesus’ name around in a prayer without ever thinking about who you’re talking to…you are making the Bacon Mistake.
2 Timothy 3 talks about those who are opposed to God as “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” In other words, they wear the lucky bacon socks but don’t love bacon. Don’t take the name of God or the trappings of religion or a checklist of good deeds and separate them from a real, loving relationship with God. Or it doesn’t mean anything.
The logical conclusion here would be to say that since I spent the whole post comparing my dislike of bacon to hypocrisy and trivializing God, I am now a convert to baconism.
Nope. Still think it’s gross. But hey, if disliking a food product that everyone else loves challenges me to think about how often I live out the love I claim to have for God, then it’s probably worth it.
Maybe next week we’ll talk about how I hate mashed potatoes.