Fortune Cookie Faith

I bought chinese food for dinner at a grocery store deli the other night.
It was pretty bad. But you probably could have guessed that, y’know, since it was “Chinese” food made by a grocery store deli and not, saaaay, actual Chinese people. Nevertheless, we filled our bellies with soggy noodles, greasy rice, and a hearty serving of MSG – and when we were done we reached into the bottom of the plastic bag it came home in, past no less than 30 packets of soy sauce and a pile of crumpled napkins, to fish out our fortune cookies.

Man, we love fortune cookies! Actually, we just love the fortunes… the cookies are sort of meh. 


One by one, we cracked our cookies and slid out those little strips, filled with words of wisdom, to take turns reading our fortunes aloud. As it turns out, according to the cookies, one of my boys is “destined for greatness” while his younger brother will “fall on hard times”. Bummer for him, huh. 

My oldest got some life advice about being a good friend, and then I got his little gem…

And at first I thought, “That is too true, Fortune Cookie. Too true!”

But then I was like, “Wait a minute… What if I take up jogging and give up meth?!”

And then the wisdom of the fortune cookie broke down before my eyes. All those lucky numbers and pithy prophecies went right down the drain as I came up with one example after another of things in the “take up/give up” equation that could actually enrich my life:

What if I take up golf and give up doughnuts?
What if I take up knitting and give up abusing small animals?
What if I take up an instrument and give up poison blow darts?
What if I take up reading and give up Bejeweled Blitz… I’m kidding, of course. That would be ridiculous.

But you see what I mean? The statement itself, while initially good, just doesn’t hold up to any kind of scrutiny. Naturally, this isn’t a huge surprise because, really? It’s a fortune cookie. And fortune cookies probably shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

I’m telling you this because sometimes, (between posting love letters to food and pictures of my cat) I say dumb things on Twitter and Facebook; like little quips about faith and life and junk… And sometimes people want to turn those 140 characters into more than they were ever meant to be. Sometimes people want to get into theological debates over silly things that weren’t intended to do more than, maybe, stir a man’s soul a bit.

I’m pretty sure I’ve never read a life changing tweetNot one. And I’m certain I’ve never written one.

That’s because the fullness of the Gospel will never be captured in a single sentence. Or a paragraph. Or a clever blog post. Or even a tacky three page Bible tract.

Instead, it lays itself out over a lifetime; threading its way between morning and night, quietly abiding our self created chaos and gently bearing our indiscretions. It seeps into our bones over time. It nurtures us slowly, whispering light into our dark places and shoring up our weak spots.

Grace doesn’t fit in a fortune cookie.

And the whole grand scope of Redemption can’t really be conjured into a couple of words on the internet.
My life, your life… our real (everyday, sucky, messed up, occasionally super-rad, and awesome) lives are the true flag-bearers of our Faith. And that’s HUGE. Too huge, in fact, to pack inside familiar platitudes, snarky @replies, or delicate golden cookies. 
I’m so cool with tweeting and blogging about Faith. I love it. I really do. But we should all be careful not make how we’re talking about it bigger and more important than how we’re living it. 
Now, please RT this. *snickers*
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Ever had a random fortune cookie change your life? (Not gonna lie; it would be kind of awesome and hilarious if someone said “yes”.)


1 Comment

  1. Jerry D. Manning on February 10, 2022 at 6:26 pm

    I loved the article. I did get a fortune cookie that, well hasn’t changed my life exactly, or caused a halo to rise above my head or made me wonder if God’s spirit was in a fortune from a fortune cookie…but it has caused me to wonder what God wants me to do with all the pain, joy, peace, faith and other life experiences God has brought me through…it simply said…
    “Your example will inspire other’s”
    I’m working on a book, maybe, maybe a speaking thing.
    We’ll see how God directs me, I believe He does that still, usually through my failures…God is amazing!!!
    Jerry Dallas Manning

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