Pro-choice

The nice, soaking rains that came to our middle Tennessee gardens this month were more than welcome after the heat and drought of this brutally long summer. Along with the rains came the return of all kinds of fungus, including those pretty yard mushrooms arranged in a darling little fairy ring on the lawn.

One of my friends wondered if they were good to eat. They certainly looked it! They even smelled nice. I warned her in no uncertain terms about eating mushrooms without proper identification. Another friend chimed in that some of them are delicious…for one time only!

After some preliminary and very amateur research, it was determined that these were Chlorophyllum Molybdites, or “Green Parasol” mushrooms. In fact, these are supposedly quite delicious, but poisonous.

They are a close lookalike to the regular Parasol mushroom,  which is edible. The green gills on the underside gives notice that this is the “bad cousin.”

My friend might have enjoyed them for a while, but would have been sorry once the resulting extreme gastrointestinal distress set in.

Nobody ever chooses to eat them a second time, although they are not usually fatal and presumably one would get another chance to taste the delicate flavor again.

Yes, we do have many choices to make throughout our short lives upon Planet Earth. Some are inconsequential; such as whether to plant the red daylily in the front garden or in the back yard. Others can make a difference in someone’s day or week, such as consuming Green Parasol mushrooms or moving a heavy plant for a friend (thank you, Nicole and son).

Still other choices are life-changing. You know what those are! Your choice in a spouse, whether you will sell your house and move to the country, and choosing to let an “unwanted” human live or to kill her before she is born.

We must not worship at the idea of “choice” as being sacrosanct. Some mushrooms will kill you. Others will make you sick. Some choices will kill you spiritually! Others can hurt your immortal soul.

Personally, I do not eat wild mushrooms at all, since the risk is too great. Let’s leave the phrase “green around the gills” as a description for these mushrooms, not about our health! It seems, though, that our spiritual choices are not always respected as a “no-brainer” like my mushroom choices are.

But why not?

“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; “

Those pretty mushrooms in the photo were growing right there next to our driveway. It’s not against the law to cook them up and eat them. But that would be….the wrong choice. There is such a thing as a right choice and wrong choice on some things.

Whatever our past choices, whether good or bad, the choice to be born again through the waters of baptism is the most important one that any of us will ever make and has our eternal destinies in the balance.

“Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name” (Acts 22:16).

Begin with the right choice in becoming a Christian and choosing – as Joshua did – to serve the Lord. The other choices will be made easier then.

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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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