How is it possible to be a vegetarian in Argentina? This question arose repeatedly as the “carne asado” (red meat on the grill) was served up night after night. I’ve never in my life eaten more filet mignon, rib-eye, tenderloin, tri-tip and short ribs inside of ten days. Needless to say, the Argentineans take pride in their beef. And so my traveling partner Chris and I lived by the motto, When in Rome!
They also take pride in their red wine—especially the Mendoza Malbec—which pairs nicely with a juicy cut of beef grilled to medium rare. And it was fun to compare this visit with the last visit to Argentina some 40 years ago as a young couple serving on a mission team. I remembered the carne asado, but red wine was still an unacquired taste—too bad!
I was once again struck by the predominant Roman Catholic faith in South America, but also took notice of a significant increase in the Protestant faith evidenced by the number of Christians belonging to churches both large and small. They seemed eager to connect with me when they found out I was a pastor.
Refreshing also was the strong value in family that has not diminished over the past 4 decades. The youthful appearance of the population was striking. Downtown sidewalks were full of young adults both single and married, lots of baby strollers, and students from grade school to college age—along with grandmas and grandpas.
And yes, this time there was dove hunting that was so incredible we found ourselves hooting and hollering over the non-stop action. In the lodge at night, we met new friends—some of whom drank too much and found themselves apologizing to me for their behavior. When I told them there was nothing they did or said that I hadn’t seen or heard before, they became comfortable around me. Once again I was thankful to be able to reflect what it means to be a Christian who lives life to the full—living out the truth that God does not minimize our happiness and joy, but maximizes it.
As always, it’s good to be home. Once again, I come home realizing we’re the most blessed people on the planet. And because of our privileges, it’s important to honestly figure out what it means to be global Christians who sees more of what God sees—and respond to that in a Christ-like way.
For Reflection: What does it mean to you to be a global Christian? How does that make a difference in the way you live?