"Mutt" Jolokia

Jolokia
by Christine Berglund

Scary — this is the term most commonly used to describe these ultra-hot peppers. They were a surprise, as I had not remembered planting anything hotter than a Jalapeño. I’m not really a fan of blistering my tongue and mouth. When this particularly tall pepper plant began producing the mysterious golden, wrinkled peppers, I went about finding out what they were.

As a member of several gardening groups, I often trade my excess plants. This year was no exception. I had too many tomatoes, and not enough peppers. I took orphan pepper plants from several gardeners this year, and I really don’t remember those numerous swaps.

One gardener told me that he had grown Bhut Jolokia, the infamous “Ghost Pepper,” and had saved the seeds for this year. Of course, they could have pollinated with the milder varieties and developed a new type of pepper. In the animal world, we would call this a “mutt,” “mongrel,” or “Heinz 57.” After several weeks of searching, I still can’t find a description or picture that matches my “mongrel” pepper.

Do we devalue Christians who don’t come with a “pedigree?” Two of my friends valued my “Mutt Jolokia” enough to ask for me to mail some to them. They appreciated the pepper because of its epically high Scoville Units. A higher Scoville rating means more heat. I liked it because it’s pretty!

I have recently found that it is an interesting and intense flavoring for chicken broth, which is my favorite home remedy for colds. The addition of hot peppers only enhances the therapeutic value, and adds a really nice taste with far less of that insane heat of the raw pepper. While this is the hottest stuff I can eat, it helps that it’s a liquid. I can’t imagine chewing these things! I’m glad I found a use for them that doesn’t melt my face off.

But what about Christians who were not brought up in a Christian home? Many churches don’t like to have a preacher without a family “pedigree” or name recognition. Praise God that some families have carried on the great tradition of faithfulness, but does that give more value to one’s soul? Not at all.

In one class at the preaching school where my husband attended, the instructor asked for a show of hands from those who were not raised in the church. All but one or two hands went up. The point was made that those who have been forgiven much will love much (Luke 7:47).

These were men who had left good jobs and family, devoting their lives to preaching the Word. They came from the world, or denominations teaching error. They had seen carelessness and apathy about God’s will, and turned away from it to the pure, living gospel of Christ. Yet they cannot trace a grand and glorious lineage back to the Restoration movement.

Many members in your congregation may be in the same situation, and they feel out of place.

We must not let our respect for a great Christian heritage make us devalue those who are beginning a new heritage in God’s family. “I am of Christ” (1 Corinthian 1:12) is still the only significant spiritual lineage that matters.

It doesn’t matter who baptized you, who raised you, or who the preacher was at the little brown church in the vale. You stand or fall before your Maker on your own.

Several people have now enjoyed my “Mutt” Jolokia, although it’s still uncertain what it is, or how it came about. Isn’t it time to treasure souls wherever they come from?

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Christine (Tina) Berglund

Christine lives in middle Tennessee with her husband Gary, a.k.a. "The Yard Boy." They have served churches in eight states where Gary has preached full-time most of their married lives. The children have flown the nest, but they "baby" their plants now, and even get to visit grandchildren once in a while.

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