Pickles and Community

the pickles

For those that dislike pickles, please read the following with an open mind

– ryan james ross

Our Uncommon [good] team sat down this last week to share some of our favorite sections from a book we’ve been reading together — The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith.

With coffee and books in hand, we went around the room and shared deep things about balancing time, family, and our spiritual lives. We talked about how to remain connected with God and loved ones when busyness seems to rule our days. We shared about the real struggle of trying to slow down and create space to be with God amidst screaming kids and trying not to just fall asleep when you actually create a quiet time and place.

It was such a good conversation.

But then, Cody shared.

“You guys, (dramatic pause for gravitas), I have to share the most impacting sentence in this whole book with you.”  Glasses on, book open to the magic page, he looked at us and then began to read very slowly and clearly…

“To make a pickle we first need to get a cucumber. Then we need to create the brine and vinegar solution for soaking the cucumber.”

Yeah, that was it. And no, he wasn’t joking because I think each one of us awkwardly waited a moment to see if he was going to smirk and laugh about his dramatic pickle reading, but he was serious.

Cody then explained his epiphany, and it wasn’t about the pickle.

“See, we need to create the brine we soak in.”

“We need to create the environment and the community that transforms us.”

Here’s where some more context will help Cody’s meaningful point.

The book was talking about what gets someone to actually be transformed by their time with God in scripture, prayer, reading, or even walking out in nature. What does it actually take to grow as a follower of Jesus? We know it takes more than a disciplined 10 minute reading a day or a routine (albeit rushed) prayer. The book was liking real spiritual transformation to the journey of cucumber to pickle.

“Making pickles is an apt analogy to the way we grow as disciples. To make a pickle we first need to get a cucumber. Then we need to create the brine and vinegar solution for soaking the cucumber. If we dip the cucumber in the solution and quickly remove it, all we have is a baptized cucumber. In order for it to become a pickle, it needs to soak in the brine for six weeks or so. Slowly, imperceptibly, the solution works its way into the cucumber, changing it to a pickle.”

The environment and the community that we soak in transforms us over time.

It is good – no… vitally important to life – to pause and ask what kind of brine we’re soaking in.

What do we read? Who do we spend our time with? What do we listen to and watch?

The way we fill our quickly passing days shapes the long journey of our lives.

The spiritual journey takes time in [good] brine. Change is not fast; it’s years of good input and good environment that grows us over time. It’s years of time with God in scripture, reflection and prayer that morphs us into the best version of ourselves that He created us to be. It’s being in good community that aims to walk together to live out love and faith… even amidst the busy days, hyper kids, dirty dishes, and future dreams. We are powerfully shaped by those we do life with. It is good to walk with those you’d like to become like – there are many passages in scripture that share this important message about community [brine].

So, this week, no matter how busy things are…

assess and perhaps re-create the solution you’re soaking your life in…

because we’re all becoming something,

and clearly, there are worse things than becoming a fabulous pickle.

[Pickle haters – thanks for hanging in there.]


save the date

On Sunday, May 6th @ 3:30 PM we will be having our second taste of community event at the Lake Poway Pavilion.

We’re calling it: [seis] de mayo, cause we’re clever like that…and everything was already booked for cinco de mayo, so we improvised. 😉

Taco bar. Churros. A Latin Trio band called Rhumba Cha Cha! 

And if you’re lucky, you might just win an uncommon [good] poncho…

In the coming weeks, we’ll open up registration and share more details so keep an eye out.

In the mean time, save the date and keep thinking about who you want to invite to experience a taste of uncommon [community]!


You are loved and valued!



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