I have added a few twists of my own, though. First, I toast the nuts. The pan doesn’t stay in the oven but 15 minutes, which is not quite enough time, enrobed as they are in all that batter, for the nuts to really brown. Believe me, the flavor difference is obvious.
The other change I made began as a desperation move when I didn’t have one cup each of butterscotch and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Instead, I had about half a cup each of those bagged up in my freezer from previous recipes, and also the remains of a bag of peanut butter chips and one of white chocolate chips. Together they made just over the two cups total I needed, so I threw them all in.
I have never received so many compliments on a homely looking bar cookie in my life. Things like, “Wow! This is so interesting,” and, “I get a different flavor with every bite. How did you do that?” So now I do it on purpose. Whenever I see those pieces of bags stacking up in my freezer, Congo bars are on the menu that week as the dessert I take to a potluck, or the bars I take camping, or the cookies in the cookie jar when the kids come home. Weeks after they first taste them, people are still talking about these things, and all I did was stir a bunch of different flavored chips together in the batter.
That is exactly what God expected from the church. He never intended us to be homogenous groups, some all middle class, some all lower class, some all black, some all white, some totally blue collar workers, and some nothing but white collar workers. “All nations shall flow in,” Isaiah prophesied in chapter 2, and it becomes obvious when you read about those first century churches that Jew and Gentile weren’t the only differences.
But even in the first century, the people rebelled against such a notion. “We can’t worship with them,” the Jewish Christians whined about the Gentiles. “Come sit up here,” they said to the rich visitor, and gave the lesser seat to the poor man.
Hadn’t Jesus paved the way? Even among the chosen twelve, there were differences—blue collar Galileans and urbane Judeans, men with Aramaic names and men with Greek names, some disciples of John and others not, fishermen, publicans, and Zealots. They too had trouble with the notion of equality among them, but they overcame it.
I worship with a congregation of 300. You know the wonderful thing about that? Whatever I need, someone there can help me. I have a physician, a plumber, a computer whiz, a chiropractor, a financial advisor, a legal consultant, an electrician, a carpenter, and a pharmacist. As far as the church’s needs, we have an accountant, a couple of computer techs, lawn workers, housekeepers, teachers, photographers, several Bible scholars, and a host of others who step up when the need arises in their specialty. We have babes in arms and folks in their nineties. How likely is that to happen when there are only 30 of you?
Sometimes you cannot help there being only 30 of you—at least for awhile. That should be changing too as each fulfills his obligation to tell others about his faith. But sometimes churches are small because people do not want to worship with other types of people. Why should there be a small black group and a small white group in the same town except that people do not want to be together? Shame on us for letting our comfort zones become more important than the good of the Lord’s kingdom in that particular locality.
The power of the gospel is seen not only in the changes in our lives, but in the way people of different backgrounds, cultures, and classes love one another. Jesus prayed that we would all be one “so the world may know that you sent me.”
We have people who raise their hands when they sing, and people who don’t. We have song leaders who lead more modern, syncopated music, and those who stick with the old standards. We have people “raised in the church,” and those who are new to it; some who grew up knowing right from wrong before they were knee-high, and others who came to us from rehab. There may be a different flavor in every bite, but we all get along. To do otherwise would make a mockery of the plan of salvation.
“All have sinned,” and we are all saved by the grace of the same God. That’s the only sameness about us that really matters.
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Romans 15:5-7)
Click on Dene's Recipes if you want to make your own Congo bars.