A BBQ Even a Vegetarian Can Love

Lucy Strandlund is a Middler in the Master of Spiritual Formation program at Seminary of the Southwest.  Lucy and her husband Daniel come to the seminary from the Diocese of Alabama.

The Seminary of the Southwest’s BBQ Showdown benefitting Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) this past Saturday was a complete success. My first impression was amazement at how many new faces I saw. While it was a seminary event, it was truly a community affair. Professors, priests and seminarians mingled with neighbors and friends, some of whom traveled across the state of Texas to attend the BBQ. People biking or walking by had to stop and check it out. Kids jumped in the bounce house, ran around barefoot and greeted the farm animals in the petting zoo. Dogs sniffed hopefully at the air, and even the vegetarians found cornbread, several varieties of excellent coleslaw, and some delicious local brew. The live music was reason enough to have a good time; Tessy Lou and the Shotgun Stars make it hard not to kick up your boots and dance, whether or not you have BBQ sauce dripping from your chin.

The BBQ illustrated one of my favorite aspects of Seminary of the Southwest. We are mostly a casual, comfortable place, and that generates authenticity. It’s true we have challenging, brainy professors, but those very same professors enjoy bringing their spouses, kids, and dogs down to the seminary on a weekend to hang out with students and friends. A student who may have written two papers and a sermon in the last week also found time to smoke some brisket for the competition and dish it up with pride and a grin. Members of our community felt comfortable inviting their friends and neighbors to attend and experience the “something special” we have going on here at the seminary. Local bartenders and bearded brew masters caught the contagious joy and smiled sheepishly as their ribs and brisket won top prizes. Whether it was fueled by barbecue, fiddle music or just being outside with friends on a beautiful day, everyone had smiles on their faces. There is nothing pretentious about this place, and this especially shines through when we get together for a worthy cause. Several people worked very hard to make this a fun event for hundreds of people while raising money for ERD, and I wouldn’t have missed it.