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  • Maggie Wallem Rowe

The Fragrance of Faith: Like Potato Chips in Bloom

Many pastors nationwide report that up to a third of their congregations have disappeared in the past two years.

Is it the continuing effect of the pandemic, or the logical fallout of our post-Christian culture? A pervasive consumer mentality, or a movement away from organized expressions of faith as many young adults deconstruct the faith in which they were raised?

Like you, I have more questions than answers. But I can tell you that I sat in a Salt Cave on Sunday.

No, not the kind that is springing up in day spas around the country. I hadn’t even heard of them until a discount offer for “salt cave sessions” popped up in my inbox from a popular group-purchasing site. The tempting pitch ran something like this:

Ageless Day Spa & Salt Cave surrounds patrons with a nourishing antiaging regimen replete with sustentative body regimens and beautifying spa treatments.

It’s hard to make a case for pro-aging, but what under God’s blue heaven is a “sustentative” body regimen?

Enveloped by the dim light and soft sea sounds that penetrate the salt cave, beach chairs nestle physiques while patrons savor the pure air.

Ah, now they’re reeling me in. Dim light, sea sounds and pure air reminds me of Cape Cod. But I’ve never met a beach chair yet that nestled my physique.

Crafted from Himalayan salt, the cave infuses the atmosphere with constitution-enhancing minerals, body-balancing ions, and the scent of potato chips in bloom.

Never mind the minerals that promise to enhance my maturing constitution. Forget the ions that will balance this sagging body. They had me at the scented potato chips.

But before I hit the “Buy Now” button, I realized I already benefit from salt cave sessions every week.

Each Sunday morning, I perch on a pew, surrounded by people with whom I’m in community. People who enhance the flavor of my life as well as the lives of so many others. People who intentionally engage the culture not only to preserve but to serve it.

In our post-truth culture, this saltiness is increasingly unacceptable. Polls continue to produce statistics claiming those without religious affiliation, the “nones”, are the fastest-growing "religious group" today. A generation of young adults raised in the church is moving away from its influence, convinced Christians don’t represent the values most important to them.

The preservative and medicinal properties of salt are well known. But in a culture that increasingly marginalizes the importance of faith, how can we demonstrate a genuine concern for others in the ways Christ intended?

In the Kalahari Desert region of southern Africa, residents use salt in a unique way to locate water.

"Monkeys in this desert region always know where to find water, but they are very careful not to show humans its location. People will trap a monkey and feed it salt until it is extremely thirsty. When released, the monkey runs straight to the water source, unaware it is being followed." - Africa Study Bible

As followers of Christ, our challenge is to make others thirsty for the living water that is Jesus.

[Jesus said,] “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.” Matthew 5:13 MSG

Just as our bodies require sodium chloride to sustain life, we need the body of Christ. When Jesus told his followers “You are the salt of the earth,” he meant it. It’s time for us to stop focusing so much of our energies on peripheral stuff and instead live in such love and generosity of spirit that others become thirsty for that which spiritually hydrates us.

Salt crystals by their very nature are tiny and often invisible, but it’s obvious when they’re lacking. If you moved or your church left the area, would your influence disappear as well? What are some ways you can connect with your surrounding community to make a lasting impact?

The taste and fragrance of faith. It’s a little like potato chips in bloom.

- Adapted from This Life We Share by Maggie Wallem Rowe. Copyright © 2020. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Visit Maggie at

*LOW PRICE ALERT: The hardcover edition of This LIfe We Share is currently available for $12.99 on Amazon at this link. *.


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