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News from the future . . .
Sometime in the fall of 2033, what was once an innocent choice became fraught with polarizing possibilities. Protestants divided (yet again) over the question of soup or salad.
Traditional Soup Churches stand on two texts: first, Esau trading his birthright for a bowl of lentils as recorded in Genesis 25, and second from Peter’s rooftop vision in Acts 10, where he sees a sheet full of animals and hears the command, “Kill and eat.”
“We have nothing against vegetables per se,” said Soup Church General Secretary Basil Pepper. “But vegetables alone are never enough. The Bible plainly teaches all meat is legal, and there simply is nothing better than meat in a delicious bowl of soup.”
The Progressive Salad Church draws its inspiration from Daniel 1:12 and 1:15: “Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink,” and “At the end of ten days it was observed that they appeared better and fatter than all the young men who had been eating royal rations.”
“If it made Daniel healthy, imagine what it can do for you,” said Salad Church Bishop Lief Green.
Critics, however, note that no one actually does seem to be gaining weight in the Salad Church. “They are a church of stick people,” said Secretary Pepper. “Stick people aren’t good – it’s un-American to be that skinny. Really it’s a culture of death over there, a vast conspiracy intent on death. And they misuse the plain reading of the Bible. Look at the hermeneutical gymnastics these Bible manglers employ to explain away Romans 14:2: ‘The weak eat only vegetables.’ That verse alone ought to send everyone to the Soup side. It’s un-American to be skinny and weak.”
Opponents of the Soup movement believe it is the Soupers who are playing fast and loose with the scriptures. “Interpreting the Bible has to be nuanced,” said Bishop Green. “The Soupers use the Bible as a blunt instrument. They don’t translate the Hebrew word Nezid in Genesis 25 correctly. This word has been translated as ‘stew’ for centuries, and now these people are saying it means ‘soup.’ Viscosity is no basis on which to build a church. Jesus said, ‘Upon this rock,’ not ‘Upon this liquid.’ Let’s face it—there’s a fly in their soup.’”
However, more people seem to be gravitating to the Soup Church than the Salad Church. The digestive benefits of lentils alone have attracted large numbers of followers to the Soup Church worldwide, particularly among Regular Baptists. Yet fault lines have begun to show in the Soup Church, as disagreements abound over how long the Bible commands lentils should be soaked before cooking and whether white lentils are superior to black and red lentils.
Conflicting statements about the Soup or Salad split have come from different sources. Mormon leaders in Salt Lake City recently affirmed that Mormon men had the God-given right to practice polyvoraciousness, while remaining silent on the question of what is allowable for Mormon women.
Meanwhile in Rome, Pope Louise said, “I don’t get it. I like soup in the cold weather and salad when things heat up. Soup? Salad? Why quibble? When will these Protestants stop slicing and dicing the body of Christ?” The Pope has had to act, however, issuing a statement preventing priests from adding vinegar when anointing with oil, which has become common practice in the Salad Church. “It’s a sacrament,” the Pope said, “not a condiment.”
While both the Soup and Salad sides agree on the permissibility of bread, Salad Churches are also strictly gluten free. Soup Church leaders dismiss this practice as also being unbiblical, noting that Jesus didn’t say a word about gluten when his disciples broke off stalks of wheat and ate on the Sabbath.
That interpretation rankles the Salad side. “Once again,” said Salad Church Bishop Green, “we see the Soupers misusing the Bible. Just look at Matthew 12 in the King James Version. Does it say they were eating wheat? It does not. The Bible says the disciples ate corn. Jesus and the disciples were gluten free.”
“Wrong,” said Soup Secretary Pepper. “Corn is from Mexico and didn’t make its way to that side of the world until after the time of Columbus. I feel sorry for these Salad freaks who ignore plain history to put a deathly yoke on people and justify their restrictive diet. Jesus died so people could eat wheat. That’s been taught by the church since Jesus took bread and broke it on the night he was betrayed. Two thousand years of wheat can’t be wrong.”
Bishop Green simply notes that in Jesus’ parable of the rich fool, the man builds bigger barns to store his grain. “There is no distinction,” Bishop Green notes, “between gluten and glutton.”
Salad Churches have been under attack from Soup Church members who stand outside their houses of worship with placards reading, “Wheat and Meat / Wheat and Meat / The Third Day Wheat / The Fifth Day Meat.” In retribution, Salad Church groups have put intense pressure on Wheaton College to change its name. “Radicchio, Iceberg, Arugula, and even Butterhead College are all acceptable,” said Bishop Green.
In response to these protests, Secretary Pepper retorted, “Everyone knows Arugula is just a fancy word for liberal.”
There has been vandalism and suggestions of violence. Windows have been smashed in Midwestern Zoup! restaurants, a large wooden carrot was burned on the lawn of a church in Thousand Islands, New York, and red paint was smeared on the doors of the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City. City leaders in Hudsonville, Michigan, once known as the “Salad Bowl City” have changed the city’s nickname to “I’ll Have the Soup” and Celeryville, Ohio has become a ghost town.
Soup or salad? When will it end?
Although less than 30% of the population attends church, politicians, such as President Miley Cyrus, still court religious voters. “I found a home in the Salad Church,” Cyrus said, although critics blasted her for joining the Salad Church on the eve of announcing her candidacy. “My home doesn’t have to be your home,” Cyrus said, “and I call on all sides to stop their bickering and come together in a spirit where all God’s children can look at each other and say, “Bon Appetit.”