Thursday, June 19, 2008

Catfish and Christ

When I was growing up, we didn't eat much fish. On Fridays at school, we got fish sticks. I never ate lunch on Fridays. Sometimes, we'd drive about half an hour and go to Jones' Fish Camp (I think they wrote it Jone's Fish Camp). I'd eat perch or maybe flounder 'cause it didn't taste like fish. They had wonderful hush puppies and cole slaw (an oil and vinegar dressing that cut the fat of the fried perch). I'd eat plenty of tartar sauce with my perch. We never ate catfish. Catfish are trash fish; they are bottom feeders. Mom liked trout, but Jones never had trout. She'd have perch or founder with me. She never cooked fish. I've cooked salmon, but I don't think that counts. I've never cooked real fish.

But, those catfish. They don't have scales, so they aren't kosher. They occur all over the world. They are wily. But, they are bottom feeders. They are negatively bouyant, so they sink to the bottom. They scoop up all the debris, the gunk, the decaying matter that can cloud and destroy a clear lake or stream. They take into themselves the gunk, so the world can be clean. But, they remind me of Jesus. Jesus hung out with the bottom feeders. He hung out with the whores, the tax collectors, the bad people. But, Jesus spent his life helping those folks heal and be included in the community. Jesus absorbed the gunk, so the world could be clean. Like catfish, Jesus was wiley. Catfish hide out so they can't be easily caught. When the Pharisees would try to catch Jesus, he'd just smoothly outmanuever them and get away. Just like a catfish.

Three years ago, a giant catfish was caught in Thailand. It fed the entire village.