At the University of Chicago Divinity School each year, they have what is called “Baptist Day.” On this day each one is to bring a lunch to be eaten outdoors in a grassy picnic area. Every “Baptist Day” the school would invite one of the greatest minds to lecture in the theological education center.
The story is that one year they invited Dr. Paul Tillich. Dr. Tillich spoke for two and one-half hours “proving” that the resurrection of Jesus was false.
He quoted scholar after scholar and book after book. He concluded that since there was no such thing as the historical resurrection. The religious tradition of the church was groundless, emotional mumbo-jumbo, because it was based on a relationship with a risen Jesus, who, in fact, never rose from the dead in any literal sense. He then asked if there were any questions.
After about 30 seconds, an old, dark skinned preacher with a head of short-cropped, woolly white hair stood up in the back of the auditorium.
“Docta’ Tillich, I got one question,” he said as all eyes turned toward him. He reached into his sack lunch and pulled out an apple and began eating it. “Docta’ Tillich”… CRUNCH, MUNCH… “My question is a simple question,” CRUNCH, MUNCH.” Now, I ain’t never read them books you read…”CRUNCH, MUNCH”…and I can’t recite the Scriptures in the original Greek”…CRUNCH, MUNCH…” I don’t know nothin’ about Niebuhr and Heidegger”….. CRUNCH, MUNCH… He finished the apple. “All I wanna know is: This apple I just ate — was it bitter or sweet?”
Dr. Tillich paused for a moment and answered in exemplary scholarly fashion:
“I cannot possibly answer that question, for I haven’t tasted your apple.”
The white-haired preacher dropped the core of his apple into his crumpled paper bag, looked up at Dr. Tillich and said calmly, “Neither have you tasted my Jesus.”