05 May 2008

A few assorted topics today.

First, I like our office coffee: Green Mountain Coffee. Admittedly it is preground in little vacuum packs, but it is still great coffee, far exceeding the burnt popcorn taste of the Folgers I choke down at home sometimes. I liked it better before when it was a darker roast, but they changed it to the Breakfast Blend to suit milder tastes within the office, and it is still good.

Last week, a coworker came in to the break room and started grousing about how awful our coffee was. She poured a cup and then proceeded to douse it in flavoured creamers and sugar. I'd seen her bring froo-froo Starbucks coffee drinks in before.

Why is it that people that obscure coffee with layers of non-dairy creamer and cane sugar think they have any way to judge a coffee? That is like a teenage guitarist that always puts the distortion on his cheap solidstate amp on "10" saying that the hand carved archtop jazzbox he is trying out in the store doesn't have good tone compared to his $150 Ibanez. Of course it doesn't sound as good when you layer tons of obscuring effects/flavorings over it! Just pour a cup of coffee and enjoy it as it is meant to be!

Sorry, I just get a bit defensive when people attack my coffee.

From the culinary arts, we turn to religion.

John Hagee is at the center of a political brouhaha involving McCain, because he (a McCain backer) had previously claimed that Hurricane Katrina was sent by God as punishment of the sin of New Orleans, specifically referencing homosexuality. Of course, this has a number of people upset for all the wrong reasons. People will see it as racist/intolerant/homophobic and what-have-you, but I disagree that the statement is couched in those sentiments. I will say, however, that the statement is foolish and illogical.

Whenever people get into the "this is God's judgement!" game, they are presuming God's motives. To meet up with their inordinately small mindset on why these things happen, they have to focus only on the certain incidents that match their preconceived view of God's judgment. So John Hagee speaks of New Orleans, but leaves off discussion of why God brought His judgment upon the surrounding coastal regions that were also hit very hard by the hurricane. I did not hear him speaking of God's wrathful judgment being brought down on Greensburg, Kansas, and I have yet to hear his opinions on why God levelled a certain neighborhood in North Kansas City last week.

It just strikes me as very naïve and simple to start asserting why God does certain things, because things like destructive weather, and the reason it occurs, are beyond human reasoning, and you look like a silly fool when you say Katrina was God judging sin, then someone asks you what God was judging when he sent a tornado to destroy Grandpa's farmhouse.

The irony is that God has already judged us, and we are already sentenced. The Bible says "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23) and that "the wages of sin is death" (Rom 6:23). In John 3:18, it speaks of how those who do not believe are "condemned already". To say that a tragedy like New Orleans is somehow particularly "judgment of sin" is misleading, because all have sinned, and all are under penalty of death from the wages of sin. And "in Adam, all die" (1Cor 15:22), and one hardly needs to look to Bible verses for that truth, as death visits us all, whether an untimely death of a young person or a quiet passing of an older person. So one could say all death is judgment of sin, starting with the fall of Adam. When one calls out specific instances to claim that they are special judgment, like in Hagee's case, it looks like he's saying that the sins people associate with New Orleans are somehow worse in God's eyes than the somewhat more universal sins of pride, covetousness, selfishness, greed, malice, and envy. I don't think God has a sin ranking system...but John Hagee apparently does have one.

Lastly, listened to Jeff Adams' sermon on Thomas the Apostle today, which was interesting. Debra and I have long been apologists for the characters in the Bible that get somewhat villified...Martha and "Doubting Thomas" spring to mind. Thomas in particular gets a lot of sneers because he doubted before he saw Jesus. But before we judge him too harshly, remember what happened with the other disciples. The ladies come to the tomb, and Mary eventually sees Jesus, and they run and tell the disciples:

Mark 16:11: And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.

Luke 24:11: And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.

So the disciples were slow to believe until they actually saw Jesus, just the same as Thomas. Just a word in his favor, since he has been derided as "Doubting Thomas" for centuries.

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