My friend, Ken Huffman, and I have been having a raging debate for quite some time now. In fact, it’s bigger than that. We’ve been recruiting and evangelizing others into our debate, further escalating the intensity and determination that we both have to prove that we are right. This debate, of course, is the 30+ year old question: Which is the greatest Def Leppard album of all time:
Pyromania (OR) Hysteria?
Now, while it’s pretty clear that the correct answer is Pyromania, that’s not really the point of this post. I could bring up another just-as-long debated album war. What’s the greatest 80’s movie soundtrack: Footloose (OR) Top Gun? Enjoy that one with a group of friends over dinner.
I have. On multiple occasions.
The point is not the debate, but the way of thinking behind the debate. While Ken and I are honestly debating just as much to simply harass one another as to prove our musical preference is right, we are nevertheless caught up in doing just that: proving that we’re right. Forcing the issue that one has to be greater or better than the other. The mindset in this is what we would call EITHER/OR. It’s the idea that one of those two albums has to be better than the other; that they could not possibly both be great. Or that yes, they can both be great, but one has to be even greater!! And so it goes….
Allow me to encourage you to consider that there’s possibly another alternative.
Let’s go back to my friend, Ken.
Several years ago we were building houses in Juarez, Mexico. We stopped at a food stand on the side of the road one day after working. While most of us ordered the standard street tacos - which were always amazing, by the way - Ken ordered a hamburger. Yes, that’s right - a hamburger. Like my teenager ordering chicken nuggets at the Mexican food restaurant. We were all giving Ken grief, until he bit into this hamburger and changed both our lives forever. His eyes got big. He looked at me and said, “You’ve got to take a bite of this. It’s incredible!” I wasn’t buying it at first. It’s a hamburger. I’m from America. We teach other countries how to make hamburgers. But Ken persisted. So I finally indulged. And my life has never been the same.
Overcome with palatable bliss, and desperate to discover what it was that made this particular roadside burger so delicious, we decided to look under the bun. In complete and utter astonishment, what we found redefined our definition of a hamburger forever.
It was…a hot dog.
That’s right. A good, old-fashioned hot dog. I don’t know if it was Oscar Meyer, Hebrew National, or some nasty cross the border hot dog company I’ve never heard of. I just know it was amazing.
Fast forward to last night.
I was at the lake with our students. We were having hot dogs and hamburgers. I was standing there behind 2 teenagers who were wrestling with that age-old dilemma: Should I have a hot dog…or a hamburger? I quickly stepped in - as any pastor should - and evangelized them. I showed them the Burger Dog. (And yes, it should be capitalized!) I liken this to Obi Wan showing Luke the ways of the force. What I was really showing them was that it doesn’t always have to be EITHER/OR.
What if sometimes it can be BOTH/AND?
What if you can have BOTH a hamburger AND a hot dog?
What if the right thing is BOTH a brownie AND ice cream on top of it?
What if BOTH Pyromania AND Hysteria are great GREAT albums? (I know, right.)
And what if it can be bigger, deeper, and way more important than that?
What if we can BOTH speak the truth AND love people at the same time?
What if loving them actually meant telling them the truth?
What if we can be BOTH concerned about illegal immigration AND compassionate toward immigrants?
I could go on and on, but you get the picture.
Dan & Chip Heath, in their book Decisive, put forth this challenge: “When life offers us a ‘this or that’ choice, we should have the gall to ask whether the right answer might be ‘both’.”
Here’s the thing: this isn’t always the case. Sometimes…BOTH/AND isn’t an option.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
To find salvation, there isn’t BOTH Jesus AND ______________. It’s just Jesus.
For your soul to be truly satisfied, it isn’t BOTH Jesus AND money. It’s just Jesus.
To find hope in this life, it’s not BOTH Jesus AND security or success. It’s seriously just Jesus.
But let’s talk about Jesus for a minute.
Jesus BOTH forgave the woman caught in adultery AND told her, “Go and sin no more.” He had great compassion and mercy, while also correcting and rebuking.
Jesus BOTH put mud on the man’s eyes AND told him to “Go, wash…” himself. He fills us and empowers us through His Spirit, but still expects us to act and step out in faith.
Sometimes, it’s clearly EITHER/OR. But maybe other times, it’s BOTH/AND.
Slow down. Think outside the box. Ask the Lord for wisdom and perspective. It might just change the way you look at the world. And you might just discover the next Burger Dog.