Meaty Legend

My 9-fingered brother started a church. At the time, he had 10 fingers. The phrase “started a church” makes it sound like he invented a religion. That’s not it. He started a new church in downtown Denver. Because “starting a church” sounds so weird, people that start churches came up with a different verb: plant. As in, my 9-fingered brother planted a church.

Planting a church is hard work and little pay. It is starting a business but not having anything to sell. He had to raise funds. He never asked me for money because he knew that I didn’t have any. 

I was living in Louisville during my first year at seminary, and he told me about a Christian conference in Chicago which is a 6 hour drive from Louisville. I planned on attending the conference. 

My good friend from high school, Derrin, also planned on going to this loftily named conference; the Gospel Coalition. We made plans for the 3 of us to share a hotel and attend the conference together. 

While in Chicago, we had some time before the conference started. My 9-fingered brother suggested that we catch a Cubs game. By the time we took the train to Wrigleyville, the game was in the 3rd inning. We bought some discounted tickets from a guy on the sidewalk and hustled to our seats. 

We were about to sit down when a ball came flying in from the field. My 9-fingered brother sprang up and caught it bare handed. Remember, at this time, he had 10 fingers. 

Catching a foul ball is exciting. Being in your designated seats for less than a minute and catching a foul ball is downright exhilarating. 

That night, my 9-fingered brother brought the baseball to a lecture featuring 2 prominent theologians. After they spoke, he asked them to sign the ball. Even though this was during the steroid’s era of baseball, we were pretty sure both of these guys were clean.

The next day, my 9-fingered brother met a pastor from the Denver area. The idea was to get this guy to convince his church to send money to my brother’s new church. Churches planting churches. Reproduction at its finest. 

My 9-fingered brother wanted to impress this guy, so he took him to lunch at Gino’s East, a deep dish pizza place famous in Chicago. Since I had the car,  Derrin and I got to tag along. My brother was schmoozing the pastor as Derrin and I perused the menu. One pizza looks particularly delicious: the Meaty Legend.

Even though I was at lunch with 2 pastors, attending a Gospel conference, and currently a seminary student, I was still a silly boy. I said, “Meaty Legend? That was my nickname in high school.” 

Derrin, my 9-fingered brother, and I laughed uncontrollably. The invited pastor did not. He also did not financially support my brother’s church plant. 

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