In part one of this story, I talked about history and how rules, cultures, and instructions are warped and bent over time and over multiple generations. This got me thinking about situations where we suddenly find out we have broken a rule we tried to live by. For Example; 2 days after I took offence for being told to eat pork, one of my favorite kosher person suddenly posts a picture saying “caught me a catfish in the Jordan River tonight. Fun to catch, but not kosher enough to eat”. I was like what? Catfish is not Kosher with eyes wide open. The response was “Yep, they don’t have scales. But enjoy one for me”…. I was like how am I supposed to go on eating catfish knowing they’re not Kosher (**insert Wailing face**).
His picture reminded me of the parable Jesus told about the Kingdom being like a dragnet. Matthew 13:47 – 50:
“47: Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and caught fish of every kind. 48: When it was full, the men pulled it ashore. Then they sat down and sorted the good fish into containers but threw the bad away. 49: So will it be at the end of the age: The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous, 50: and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”..
I’ve never gone fishing, so I didn’t know if catfish was scale-less or not. Growing up, Catfish was perfect in making Peppersoup, stews and soups (Although, we never actually called it catfish). We called it fresh fish i.e. freshwater fish. (meaning; it may have been a different kind of fish I ate growing up, but I just think it’s catfish because I tasted catfish peppersoup in America and it tasted the same).
At this point, I must tell you the truth is, the only thing I certainly know for sure about Catfish is that it’s a modern Phrase that describes someone lying to you to date you. They lie completely about their identity and then one day you meet them, and someone yells “You have been catfished” lol.
The point of this story is that, there are times when we’ll discover that we haven’t followed all the rules and you start to make changes because you want to follow the rules. The only thing is, it leaves you with a gaping hole. You suddenly find yourself in a whirlpool of noticing how much more expensive other choices are (in my case, there are cheaper options than catfish, I’m just being dramatic). You suddenly realize how you’re unable, or how incapable you are, and this feeling isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it shows you how much you must depend on God in just about everything. You must be dependent on him to make a way for you to be able to obey his laws. This is the reason why he said; “I’ll put my laws in their hearts and write it on their minds. And I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33). And again, he says; “I’ll give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you. I will remove the stony heart from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you. That you may be able to obey my laws and to do my will” (Ezekiel 36: 26-27)
The western society we have today is supposed to be founded on Christian traditions, but the truth is it’s a mixture of pagan and Judaic traditions. At some point you suddenly feel naked like the catfish without scales, because you don’t have all the hedges you need to protect you from a culture that is not your own (i.e. not Kingdom culture). For example, if my kids decide not to accept pork or catfish at their school, the other option is to be fed stale PB&J sandwiches. We don’t have a society that observes kosher diets, so we struggle with our daily choices, including encouraging our kids not to feel sad if they get offered a stale sandwich.
I would love to say this story isn’t about eating catfish, but the truth is I don’t want to eat catfish. I would rather eat salmon, tilapia or Cod, but without fishing for myself and trolling through the internet for a list of kosher seafood, I wouldn’t really know what’s Kosher and what’s not.
This is where effort comes in. It’s the effort in trying to obey God’s word that leads me to a sudden mindset of realizing I need to eat healthier meals. It’s not just about me not wanting to BE a catfish – naked and exposed to the whimsies of what the world can throw at me. It’s about me wanting to BE a Mackerel – healthy, simple, yet wise. Being distinct and separate to God in the way I think and the way I treat my neighbor.