Friday, June 20, 2008

The Fried Chicken Miracle

Before I explain the miracle, let me tell what has not been a miracle. It has been much harder to get on-line and connected while on this Pilgrimage, so please accept our apologies for not posting more regularly and for not getting your comments published. After ten hours of walking, then scrambling for food out of the back of the van, unpacking the van for the umpteenth time, maybe (or maybe not!) getting a shower, we're often too tired to seek out an internet connection...

So, on to the miracle.

On our walk Tuesday, one of our early breaks was at the Kitrell Grocery. At about 10:20, we stood outside the grocery for a while, getting water and some Gatorade, and maybe a dry granola bar. I went inside to use the bathroom and was overtaken by the scent of fried chicken. It smelled great. Later that day, around lunchtime, we were in Henderson, and walked past a restaurant serving fried chicken. Later that afternoon, after our vigil at the Vance County Courthouse, we stopped at a grocery store to pick up some Gatorade mix, and they had some fried chicken there as well. We've been traveling with a good number of vegetarians, so I tried to set aside my longing, but the three encounters simmered all afternoon. That evening, I mentioned this to Roberta, and she also thought it would be good to have some fried chicken. But soon, a couple days passed, and it seemed it was out of reach.

After our long march on Thursday (almost 24 miles; I have not written about that day yet), we approached St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Roanoke Rapids, NC. Some parishioners there had generously prepared a meal for us, and as we walked the last mile at 6:30 PM, we were looking forward to it very much. We walked in the door, and the miracle occurred - there on the table was a small mountain of Genuine, Home-Made, Southern Fried Chicken.

I do not mean to trivialize miracles. Mary Rider once told me that miracles happen every day; you just have to be open to seeing them. Like the miracle of the loaves and fishes, the miracle is not the obvious multiplication of a few stale pieces of bread and some fish in a basket; the real miracle was the conversion of heart in those who had enough food to share all along, but who were at first hesitant to share it. The miracle was the sharing that spread. Our hope is that our message will also bring about such a conversion in the hearts of those who may support the death penalty but who perhaps have not really heard what their faith community has said about it, or what their neighbor has said about it. Maybe they have not thought through the effect another act of violence has on those around it.

Some people may not have been aware that a week ago, they were going to be making fried chicken for a group of abolitionists from North Carolina. Some people may not have been aware that a week ago, they were going to be talking about abolition with a group of fried chicken loving folks from North Carolina. What will happen next week?

1 comment:

Bruce said...

Wow, this is so sad. Chickens are the most abused of all farmed animals. Gandhi and Tolstoy, two of the staunchest of anti-death penalty advocates, were very strong on this issue--that killing animals b/c we like the taste of their flesh is ethically wrong--they have committed no crime at all. From a cruelty vantage, eating chicken is the worst of the worst.

And I'm not even going into the environmental and global poverty issues. There's a good essay on the global poverty point at today.

We still have a long way to go, it seems. I would be interested in what the author thinks of Fr. John Dear's essay on Christianity and Vegetarianism, which you can find here: