Things I'm Interested In (Installment #4): Mustard & Ketchup

I really like and learn a lot from Malcolm Gladwell. Read this essay of his called The Ketchup Conundrum. You can supplement your reading of that essay with this TED talk of his that focuses less on ketchup and more upon spaghetti sauce.

I read stuff like this and ask myself odd questions like these:

Are churches like mustard?

Or are churches like ketchup?

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4 thoughts on “Things I'm Interested In (Installment #4): Mustard & Ketchup”

  1. That's a great article, Dr. Beck! Ecclesiologically speaking, I'd say that churches are more like mustard. Although, perhaps this is just because Henry J. Heinz has not come along to create a high-amplitude assembly.

  2. What does this say about the need for denominational diversity? That is to say, perhaps local Christianity is benefited overall by having a certain number of denominations/congregations from which to choose.

    I have a particular theory as to why the churches of Christ were so successful among frontier communities in West Texas. My theory is that when there were small numbers of people of different backgrounds gathered together--say, a few lutherans, a few Catholics, a few Presbyterians, Baptists, etc.--that there were not enough of any one group to support separate congregations with the attendant ministers/priests and what have you. So the Restoration Plea was attractive to these small towns. Adherents could unify around the New Testament principles and the restoration of the first century church. To put it another way, the Churches of Christ provided somewhat of a "least common denominator" upon which most Christians could agree, even though many people may have been less than completely satisfied with the situation, not unlike French's Yellow Mustard in the pre-Poupon era.

    Then, in areas where population grew, as each group could afford to establish a church reflecting the denomination of their heritage, denominations sprouted and flourished and the success of the CoC was diminished. This era is analogous to the post-Poupon era, or the era of chunky tomato sauce.

    I have no idea if my theory has any basis in fact.

  3. Hi Kirk,
    I have no idea if you are right, but that sounds like a very reasonable theory. I think it's a plausible scenario. I wonder if any American Restoration historian has explore that thesis?

    Regardless, I'm glad there is one other person in the world who sees theology and ecclesiology through the hermeneutic of condiments.

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