Sunday evening Denise and I got together with a community of Christians meeting in downtown Durham, Emmaus Way. This is a missional church, a plant of the Chapel Hill Bible Church. From what I can tell, it’s an emergent church… following that philosophy or bent. Tim Conder led us in a discussion of the dichotomies present in Jesus’ suffering with the two thieves on Calvary. Our reflection on the crucifixion began with Marilyn Ormsbee-Strother speaking about the inspiration for a watercolor she painted and the thoughts that were going through her mind as she created it. Then, Wade sang a wonderful song he had composed after reading The Dawntreaders titled Strip My Skin. Finally, Rebecca read an amazing story she had written, from the perspective of the thief on the cross. The gathering reached its apex in the Lord’s Supper.
The folks of Emmaus Way were mostly younger than us, which is sure to become more common as time marches on. They were warm… friendly, welcoming. It seemed perfectly appropriate for Denise and I, travelers, to find hospitality and instant kinship in Christ.
After leaving our new found friends, Denise and I resumed our search for another sampling of Carolina barbecue. What we found at Q Shack transcends human language. Beef brisket, smoked for hours the same way I do it at home. The chopped pork and beef were pink, tender and moist. Denise was enraptured as she savored the first spoonful of beans… “mmmmmmmm” was the only syllable uttered.
When I think of barbecue, I certainly don’t think “subtle.” No, barbecue by its very nature must be intense… hot… provocative. And, Q Shack was all of that from the slaw to the beans, from the smoky meat to the zesty sauce. This was our favorite so far.
Denise and I split a two-meat platter with two sides: beans and slaw. The complimentary hush puppies were excellent and the bbq was accompanied by what must be obligatory at any quality smokehouse — store-bought, cheap white bread! I suppose if you are going to sop up the mess with the bread, it should be as bland as possible so it won’t taint the heavenly flavor of that hoddgepodge that collects at the bottom of the plate (or take-out container in this case).
The reigning champ? Q Shack! But, stay tuned. Tomorrow on our way to the airport, we’re making one last stop at Allen and Sons. Thank you Jesus for barbecue and for the family of God in North Carolina.