Taco Bell and the Episcopal Church
Maybe I spend too much time thinking about food. As Christi and I
were driving away from San Marcos on our move to Imperial Beach, I said goodbye to the new Taco Bell near our old house and said, “Too bad I didn’t go there.” Christi replied, “Really??” I suppose of the things that one might lament during a move, a new Taco Bell should probably not be high on the list. Did you know Taco Bell just came out with a revolutionary new item called the Doritos Locos Taco, a taco with a Doritos Nacho Cheese shell! The DLT, as insiders call it, is a combination that took three years of work and was completed with a handshake agreement between the CEOs of Frito-Lay and Taco Bell. In its test market, one blogging fan drove 900 miles, from New York to Toledo, Ohio, just to get a taste of it. Since 2012, Taco Bell has sold 450 million DLT’s. This is such a big hit, Taco Bell built six dedicated manufacturing lines for the DLT, which employs
around 600 employees. … just to make a taco shell.
The DLT came about because of an anniversary – Taco Bell was
turning fifty. For a company that targets 20-year olds, turning 50 is a big
bummer. They wondered how they could stay competitive in a food market that
rarely sees restaurants turn 20 – much less 50. Doritos was in the same boat.
They were losing their edge with the coveted 20-something crowd. Voila the birth of the DLT.
The Church will celebrate its anniversary on Sunday, December 1st
this year. We’re turning one-thousand, nine-hundred eighty-one years old! (give
or take a decade or so) And the Church is searching for relevance with the
20-something crowd, just like a 50-year old taco chain.
I know a couple of things – the Church is going through a period of
change but I have faith that God’s will is for the Church--the Body of
Christ-- to live and thrive. In this century, the Church will find its
Doritos Loco Taco. And, like the DLT, it will spread like wildfire; people might
even drive 900 miles to get a taste. Unfortunately, change is not as simple as
taking our bulletins and dusting them with nacho cheese flavoring. Unprecedented cooperation between Taco Bell and Frito-Lay made those companies relevant. I wonder with whom the 21st century Church will be engaged? Hospitals? Societies that benefit children? The Rotary Club? The San Diego Padres?
John and Charles Wesley faced a similar situation with the Church
during their lifetimes. Born in England in the early 1700’s, they found the 18th
Century Church to be in a period of flux. Through rigorous preaching and music,
they began a movement that has made a lasting impact on the Church. Many of our favorite hymns today were written by Charles Wesley. He noticed that the local pubs had more people than the churches on Sunday. In the bars, men and women sang popular songs. Charles took some of those popular tunes and wrote poetry about the magnificence and saving presence of God. As the story goes, when bar-goers stumbled home on Sunday morning, they passed by his church and heard a tune they could sing and found words that saved their souls. Charles found the DLT that transformed the Church and opened the doors of God’s saving grace for all.
God knows what is coming in the next century and by God’s grace we
are being ushered into the new life of the Church. May we have the courage of
John and Charles Wesley and benefit from the example of the cooperation between Taco Bell and Frito-Lay in order to transform the Church,
- Fr. Marshall
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