The Guy Fieri Conundrum

At Hillbilly Hotdogs in West Virginia

At Hillbilly Hotdogs in West Virginia

My wife Megan and I have a vision to travel to all fifty states in America.  As of this writing, we have hit 19. During our travels, we have visited dozens of restaurants highlighted on the show Diners, Drives ins and Dives hosted by Guy Fieri.

 While I am a fan of the flagship show of the Guy Fieri empire, Megan could take it or leave it with a leaning towards leave it.  She has expressed to me a dislike for Guy’s over the top personality and his hair.  I have noticed that besides my wife, Guy has his fair share of detractors and seems to be a very polarizing and dividing figure in both the culinary and pop culture landscape.

A quick search for Guy Fieri on the internet might lead you to a number of unsavory articles describing why there is no love lost on the popular celebrity chef.  Fieri has topped lists for most hated chef in America and has been talked about in negative ways by other celeb chefs including Anthony Bourdain. Saturday Night Live has also piled on a number of skits mocking everything from Fieri’s hair, recipes and catch phrases.

 There are those that have come to the defense of the popular chef including Jeremy Gordon from Spin magazine. My favorite of that group is Shane Torres, who defended Guy on a recent episode of Conan O Brien on TBS.  Torres says, “I know he looks like a Hot Topic manager moonlighting at a Fridays…but he goes around the country to small businesses and gives them free advertising on a national platform on a weekly basis. Advertising those businesses could never afford themselves.”

Our country is not unfamiliar with polarizing and divisive figures. President Trump may currently be one of the most defining names of that description.  For many people, whenever we decide to not like a person we can sometimes fail to see or appreciate any of the good things they do because we can’t see past our own opinions and reasons for our dislike. This is probably most commonly seen in politics but it transcends into other areas of culture. 

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People are generally drawn to love or hate someone or something.  Android or Apple. Trump or Clinton. Pineapple on Pizza. Ford or Chevy. Cable or Netflix. Summer or Winter. Morning or Night.

We identify ourselves by what we like or what we think is right. We are also attracted to people who share those ideals or seem to be more like us than others.

Fieri is just one person in an American culture full of leaders and celebrities of different fields that divide opinion.  However, he is not most the divisive person to ever live. Trump isn’t either.

That distinction belongs to Jesus.

He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him.  He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. John 1:10-11

John 1 says Jesus came to live on the very world He created but was still not recognized by many as who he was – which is the Lord and Savior of all mankind.

We put people’s names on buildings they didn’t build and give lifetime achievement awards to people who make movies, but not even the son of God was able to receive the honor and recognition He deserved while He walked this Earth. Jesus was rejected by people who couldn’t see past their own opinions and reasons for their dislike of Him.

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.  They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. John 1:12-13

Thankfully, John 1 also says that anyone who believes in Jesus as Lord can become a child of God.  Therefore, there is still time for our opinions to change. If we can look past our own desires and human passions to discover the plans of God we will find them.

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Being a democrat doesn’t have to prevent you from seeing an action of Trump in a positive light. Disliking Guy Fieri’s hair and clothing choices doesn’t have to prevent you from seeing something he does as being helpful to others.  Being told by others that Jesus is not the path to salvation does not prevent you from seeing the evidence of God’s word and believing it for yourself.

Why is it hard to recognize the good in someone or something we’ve formed negative opinions about? A question not easily answered.  Fieri, Trump, Clinton, and pineapples on pizza. Changing your mind about any of those things probably won’t impact your life much.  Unlike changing your opinions about Jesus.