Monday, March 14, 2011


Fried Rattlesnake Meat
On the Trail with Stephen Bly

The first time I ate roasted rattlesnake meat, some timid soul at the table asked me, “What’s it like?”

“Tastes like chicken,” I reported.
At another time, I had the opportunity to bite into alligator tail. “What’s it taste like?” wife Janet asked.

Fried Alligator Tail
“Sort of like chicken,” I replied.

In the Old West, a cowboy’s diet consisted of chicken, beef or pork. No bona fide cowboy would choose lamb on purpose. Everything they chowed down on could be one of those three meats. If they didn’t know what it was, but it looked white-ish, they’d say, “Tastes like chicken.”

On the range, real fried chicken was rare, almost a delicacy. Biscuits, beans, and bacon (or salt pork) provided the normal fare. Getting hungry for chicken caused a few culinary innovations. Sometimes old cookie would roll the bacon in flour and batter and fry it up. The cowboy crew called it fried chicken. If a greenhorn pilgrim joined the gang at the chuck wagon and dared to say, “This ain’t chicken,” the cowboys insisted, “It’s the best fried chicken for three hundred miles.”

If you’re desperate enough, you call the phony stuff the real thing. What you call your supper out on the prairie doesn’t hurt anyone. But when it comes to spiritual truth, the results can be deadly.

One of the tests of a mature disciple of Jesus Christ is that he or she learns to detect the signs of sound doctrine and can discern the smell of deception. No matter how the teacher wraps it up with sincere sounding phrases and claims ‘it’s the real thing,’ or ‘the better thing,’ if it doesn’t ring with the freedom and simple truth that. . .it’s all about Jesus. . .flee until you hear the right voice, His voice.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)

Bacon ain’t chicken. Never was, never will be. And what false teachers peddle won’t keep you centered on the power and presence of Jesus Christ for your life. No matter how much fluffy flour and sweet batter they dip it in.
Fried Rattlesnake with dipping sauce

How do you determine what's true from someone trying to fool you?
Catherine longed for escape. She'd do anything to get to her fiance, Philip, a childhood friend she hadn't seen in 17 years. 
Race had his heart set on revenge and his body desperately needed sleep. These strangers head west on a long, cramped, chaotic 1880 train ride from Omaha to Sacramento. And though they hate each other on sight, somebody's got to throw the devil off the train. 

pre-order on    
Throw the Devil Off the Train (Western Standard Series) 


Carla Gade said...

Well, you sure have a unique take on things. This is a great analogy! Thanks for a fun and thought provoking post!

MSGWife said...

I just love the way you bring a "western way" of thinking into theology. Bacon ain't fried chicken and false teachers.....EXCELLENT!

Stephen Bly said...

Carla and MSG: Thanks so much. Appreciate your comments. Love relating the Old West to spiritual truth.

Anonymous said...

I ate a bite of alligator once and I told Mom it tasted like chicken. :) I'd forgotten all about it!


Stephen Bly said...

Morgan: Thanks for stopping by. Now, the question is, do you like fried chicken?