Brown M&M’s

I love urban legends – stories that just might be true. There is a story that has circulated about a unique contract rider the band Van Halen used to determine whether or not concert promoters had read every line of the contract.  In the middle of document they inserted the following statement, “There will be no brown M&M’s in the backstage area, upon pain of forfeiture of the show, with full compensation.”

The logic behind this statement was simple.  Many of the buildings the band booked were not able to handle the stress and strain of the band’s traveling stage.  The contract spelled out all the specifications and safety requirements needed.   It could be a lengthy time-consuming process to make sure every detail of the contract had been fulfilled.

It was out of this concern that Van Halen inserted a “Brown M&M” clause.  When they arrived at the dressing room and found brown M&M’s in the candy dishes, they knew the promoter had not paid close attention to the contract.  There was a high probability that a problem might exist with the stage.

The presence of brown M&M’s became the red herring that indicated all was not right.

Lately I have begun to wonder if Jesus has a “Brown M&M.”  Is there one thing that indicates the quality of our faith?

Confessions of faith seem like a natural choice.  After all, many of us spend a great deal of time attempting to accurately define what we believe and why we believe.  But the major problem with a faith confession approach is that Jesus didn’t seem to spend a whole lot of time attempting to define his faith.

When Jesus did talk about faith, he seemed to define it by action – things like feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the prisoner, and caring for the alien.  James the brother of Jesus went so far as to say, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…”

Could it be that Jesus’ brown M&M has everything to do with how we treat the powerless and the oppressed?