A fistful of black letters flicker atop the pale yellow background. When they first built the place eleven letters burned a hole in the dark southern sky. But the strength has gone out of most of them from years of signaling weary, wayward souls towards a hot meal.
The sign is broken, but few care. Because they are broken too. What few letters still shine serve as a beacon, reminding all comers that there is a place, like God and grandmother’s house, where the door is always open.
You may find better food elsewhere, but you won’t find better food for the money. They have a menu, though I have never needed it.
Two eggs, over medium; bacon, hash browns covered, smothered, and covered; one waffle with butter and maple syrup; and a cup of black coffee. That has been my standing order for decades and there’s been no need to get any more ambitious than that.
When you sit down at the table or the bar you will likely be greeted by someone who calls you “honey,” or “sugar,” or “baby,” or sometimes “boss.” But you will be greeted, and usually with a smile. And by someone who knows what it means to work long and hard for very little.
Some of them are working their way through college. Some of them are single parents trying to pay the rent and keep the lights on at home. Some are ex-cons trying to hold down a job by wiping tables and desperately trying to believe the rumors of second chances.
Waffle House is at once mainstreet and back alley, cosmopolitan and parochial.
On any given day there might be a family of five seated near you with three small children scarfing down jellied toast and scrambled eggs. They’re here because the food is cheap and sometimes dad doesn’t want mom to have to cook after working twelve hours at the shirt factory.
There’s a trucker driver sitting by himself, now on his sixth cup of coffee. He’s flirting with the waitress. But he isn’t trying to pick up a date, he’s just trying to survive the loneliness of a life of endless mile markers and few trips home.
On one side of you will be three bikers and a war veteran swapping stories about close calls and near misses.
On the other side will be an elderly couple who come every Thursday night. They come just to hear the voices. Their own kids have long since stopped visiting, and they’ve already buried all of their other friends.
And then one Thursday night he will show up alone. A waitress will pour him a cup of coffee and lightly touch his shoulder. She knows she can do nothing about the empty chair, but she can at least keep his cup full for an hour or two.
At one table sits a group of college kids, drunk off their asses. Beside them is an addict wishing he could tell them to quit while they still can. In the corner a Baptist preacher is pleading with a teary-eyed backslider over ham and buttered grits.
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or where you’ve come from, you are welcome here. Straight-laced or strung out, drunk or sober or in that fuzzy place in between. In blue jeans, a business suit, or pajamas. No one is turned away.
Waffle House may not be a church, but I know several people who have met God there. And many of our churches could stand to learn a few things about open arms, hot meals, and second chances from this wild, wayside diner.

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More from @NoJesuitTricks

Jul 30
As soon as I walked through the door I could smell it. The thick, pungent aroma of collard greens and smoked ham hock cooked low and slow for hours. Simple fare, born of necessity. But despite the humble nature of the ingredients, it is nothing short of delicious.
It’s Sunday afternoon. That means it’s time for the weekly gathering at my grandparent’s house for lunch. My grandpa is in the living room reared back in his recliner while some Gary Cooper western watches him nap.
Dad is outside on the porch visiting with my uncle Tony and watching the dog claim the porch posts a few drops at a time.
Read 25 tweets
Jul 28
Some years ago I was sitting in a dive on Mobile Bay eating a fried oyster poboy when a group of construction workers came in and gathered at a table next to me.

"I ain't never et a raw oyster" said one of the crew. "How do you do it?"

"Quickly" said his coworker.
"It ain't gonna fight being et. Just tip the shell and slurp it down. You don't even have to fool with chewin'."

"Does it taste fishy?"

"Nah. It taste oystery. And salty. But that's mostly the natural seasoning from the water."
The uninitiated fella was wearing a pair of liberty overalls and not much else best I could tell. And though he may have been new to oysters, he didn't appear to have been under-nourished.

A waitress passed by and the foreman hollered, "Shuck us four dozen, sis."
Read 9 tweets
Jul 28
It is passages like this that keeps me reading Barth with critical appreciation.

“God's high freedom in Jesus Christ is His freedom for love. The divine capacity which operates and exhibits itself...is manifestly also God's capacity to bend downwards,
to attach Himself to another and this other to Himself, to be together with him. This takes place in that irreversible sequence, but in it is completely real. In that sequence there arises and continues in Jesus Christ the highest communion of God with man.
God's deity is thus no prison in which He can exist only in and for Himself. It is rather His freedom to be in and for Himself but also with and for us, to assert but also to sacrifice Himself, to be wholly exalted but also completely humble,
Read 5 tweets
Jul 26
ISTM that one of the issues that makes the cessation/continuation debate difficult is an inability to distinguish between kinds of gifts and the diversity of purpose for them. 1/4
For instance, a Cessationist may say, “I don’t believe sign gifts are operative today” and a Continuationist hears “God no longer performs powerful supernatural acts.”

But this is not the cessassionist’s claim. He simply believes revelatory signs would be superfluous at best.2/4
I do think some of my Cessationist brethren are overly skeptical of miracles and unusual acts of God (things which should be expected in a world literally made out of words), but my Continuationist friends make a similar error by making us defacto deists. 3/4
Read 4 tweets
Jul 25
Neat Facts about Arkansas

Many do not know that we have a law protecting the pronunciation of "Arkansas." In 19th century two state senators fought over the proper pronunciation and this resulted in a law passed in 1881. Therefore, everyone from Kansas is a criminal.
Arkansas weather is crazier than most Southern states. In 1973, a severe hailstorm formed over Stuttgart and rained down a most irregular from of precipitation--frozen ducks! Over 100 ducks fell from the sky, most lived, even if they were rather crippled up and confused.
Carrie Nation, wild-eyed temperance defender, smashed up saloons and beer joints across the state with her hatchets named Faith, Hope, and Charity. You can still visit her home in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Read 17 tweets
Jul 25
“I see whatchoo sayin’ about that corn! Them Amish shore can sweeten them shucks.”

“I told ya.”
“Yall doin’ ok down there?”

“Well, I could use another fistful of that fried okry.”

“Son, you puttin’ it away like a field hand.”

“Ain’t nothin’ beats fried okry. Cept’ maybe some more of that corn. Toss another ear on there.”
“I want some gravy to put on my okry.”

“Cooper, you know wadn’t raised to put gravy on okry.”

“Now you jus’ let that chile eat the way he wants. It’s good to see a boy that ain’t picky these days. All these youngins these days wanna eat is chicken tenders.”
Read 10 tweets

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