Late last summer our young married kids relocated to Indy. The opportunity came quickly and the details fell into place in that way it happens when things are meant to be. Baby Girl is now working at the home office of CMF, the missions orginazation that recruited her for her time in Kenya. And Rafael is completing his masters at Anderson University School of Theology.
Our son-in-law, our son, Raf, can challenge The Grateful Dead when it comes to describing what a long strange trip it has been. I cannot relay all of his story, but he started out life after high school with a good job and living his life the way he wanted. Then he encountered Jesus. He felt compelled to go back to school for a 4-year degree and after that continue on.
The details of his encounters, the places he has been, and what has happened are exceptional and bear the marks of following Christ. It is good stuff. You can not spend more than a few minutes with our son without feeling his joy and laughter. He is one of those guys who just simply makes you feel good having spent time hanging out together.
We were chatting recently and Raf mentioned how at his former school he was considered conservative in theology compared to other classmates and staff. Now he is finding irony that his views are considered very liberal at his new college. He mentioned the viewpoint of some of his classmates are "very Christiany" and he wondered how much time they had spent with others outside the traditional church. Fairly often he finds himself sticking up his hand and asking if everyone can get real.
Then Rafael said something that I found striking. He said in a private conversation one of the instructors said he had been teaching at the theology school 29 years and he really like Raf, but he found him "salty". The professor's interpretation of salt was Raf's language and how he related to others in the classroom. I had the impression the guy thought of salt as something coarse and rough.
I can not think of a better thing than to be considered salty. Salt is a necessity of life. Since ancient times it has been used as a seasoning, a preservative, a disinfectant, and even as part of ceremonies and units of exchange. Salt is mentioned in the bible way beyond Lot's wife turning into a pillar or the salt & light deal in The Sermon on The Mount (Matthew 5).
In a number of cultures the eating of salt is a sign of friendship. Before you visualize folks sitting around passing a salt lick, let me put out a different scene. When we get together to season some meat & food that we cook together and then pull chairs to a table we arrive at a special place. In that place we can share our common life, laughter, and friendship. It is in this environment that covenants and doing life together is agreed and made real.
The books of law understood this concept when the people of Israel were instructed to salt the meat and grains offered as a sacrifice. God does not want something bland and tasteless. He wants what is good and what is fragrant to his nose. He delights when we give him our best of anything.
In Ezekiel there are instructions to rub babies with salt. I wish we knew about this when we dedicated our kids. This is way more cool than some plain tap water in some silver bowl. Think of it - seasoning and offering your child as the very best of you. And covenanting to do your most as a couple to raise this child to be filled with integrity and truth. Awesome.
Loyalty. Permanence. Durability. Fidelity. Usefulness. Value. Purification. These are all metaphorical contexts in which salt is the reference point. That, my friends, is a strong target list of character traits.
Salty. Nice. I really like that. In fact, I love it. I pray this never changes with our boy. Our man.
Unless you are a troll, you have seen this guy in these commercials. Thirsty is good. Salty is great.
Stay salty, Rafael. Stay salty, my friends.
Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another. - Mark 9:50 ESV