The silver bullet

For several years, First UMC has hosted “Souper Bowl Sunday,” a benefit for our youth. It’s really just a soup-oriented potluck — various church members bring crock pots full of soup, and we pig out on Super Bowl Sunday, leaving tips on the table to benefit the youth.

Last year, I brought a well-received buffalo chicken soup, and our pastoral spouse, Clare Doyle, had already hinted to me that her son Allen, for one, would be happy to see it return. But I wasn’t thinking about the fact that I’ll be speaking at Concord UMC tomorrow, and so I’ll miss out on bringing or tasting any of the soup.

I’ve got no particular plans yet for the big game, however, so I thought I’d make a big pot of pressure cooker chili tomorrow once I get home from Concord. I bought stew meat on Friday, and I have Ro-Tel tomatoes and seasoning, plus a little sour cream to dollop on top.

I like to add a can of beer when making chili – it really does go along with the flavor. I’m not a regular beer drinker at home, though. Sometimes, convenience stores will sell you a single can, and sometimes they consider it an annoyance. I toyed with getting a four-pack of Guinness draught, which I tried after reading a book about it last year, and which I actually do like. I was in Walmart scanning the various beer selections when I ran into Drew, Tanya and Grayson Lane from church. I’m sure they noticed where I was and what I was looking at, and I needlessly felt a little embarrassed about it.

The old joke is that the difference between Baptists and Methodists is that Methodists will speak to each other when they meet in the liquor store. But as a preacher’s kid and a lay speaker, I sometimes feel like I’m held to a different standard. I buy a bottle of wine every few months, and I drink it, with dinner, no more than one glass at a time. I’ll have a glass of wine at a banquet or reception if it’s offered. I’m not a teetotaler. At the same time, based on Paul’s advice to the Corinthians, I recognize that sometimes I have to forego things that are legal if there’s a chance I’m going to lead someone astray. I’ve known people with alcohol problems and I don’t want to do anything that’s going to make life harder for them.

Anyway, the Guinness was more than I wanted to spend today, and I stopped at a convenience store on the way home from Walmart and bought a strange little bottle-shaped can of Coors to use in the chili. They were selling them loose, so it was no problem.