Eat the Chicken, Spit out the Bones (Part I)
We can learn from others who aren’t perfect. It’s entirely possible. In fact, it’s the only way we grow as part of the body of Christ. The problem most people have with learning from others who aren’t perfect is the idea that they’ll some how be lead into sin or deception.
Most of you know I spent some time in a Bible college almost fifteen years ago. During that time I heard Mike Bickle say over and over again one phrase that has stuck with me and helped me learn from almost everyone: “Eat the chicken, spit out the bones.”
This was revolutionary to me the first time I heard it. Prior to that, everyone I met was either a defender of truth or a heretic to be avoided. The confusing part was what to do when the defenders of the truth disagreed with each other!
This simple statement communicated so much in one simple phrase. People (believers, specifically) aren’t either all right or all wrong. They are a complicated mix of truth that can nourish you and oddball theologies and practices that you probably don’t want to try and swallow.
Deeper still, there is no chicken without bones to work past, so no matter how good the chicken, expect a few bones. The presence of bones shouldn’t cause you to forsake the chicken, either! The point is that you can read broadly, listen closely to lots of voices, and find truth that is there, without having to adopt anything unbiblical.
For example, unless you’re willing to write off about twelve hundred years of church history, almost all of the writings we have from 300 AD to 1500 AD are Catholic in nature. Now, you can ignore the writings of this time out of fear of growing in the belief that Pope is infallible and Mary is a goddess, or you can understand that these men were a complicated mixture of truth and error and learn from them where you can.
My friends in the missional movement are a tremendous encouragement to me to share the Gospel and recover much of what is missing from the church. However, I’d be lying if sometimes I didn’t see them slip into both theological and political liberalism that I don’t see in the New Testament. The beauty is I can learn from these men and women without having to wholesale adopt everything that they believe.
So read that Catholic mystic, that evangelical mega-preacher, and that missional guy who loves the poor. Just make sure that you don’t worship Mary, crowds, or liberalism instead of Jesus. In fact, I expect you to do the same thing with what I’ve written. We won’t agree on everything, but we can agree on Jesus and learn from the good in each others’ and others’ lives.
Eat the chicken, spit out the bones.