Tuesday, July 13, 2010

ingredient

I am learning how to skim read. I love it and I hate it. I like the speed at which I can get through information, but I hate not being able to savour each page. There is no time to stop and oooh and aaah over thoughts and ideas that tickle my imagination and curiosity. If they have nothing to do with my thesis topic (as undefined as it is), I must move on...quickly. Sigh. It's like only being able to sample one ingredient from a recipe. Or perhaps like looking through a whole book of recipes and notating each time baking powder is used and in what context. Does that really give me a good grasp of the fluffiness of this magic powder, dormant until it is mixed with other ingredients and exposed to intense heat?

A list of ingredients by itself is not that mouthwatering: cornmeal, iron, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, folic acid, vegetable oil, whey, cheddar cheese, hydrogenated vegetable oil, corn maltodextrin, sour cream, artificial flavour, monosodium glutamate, lactic acid, colour, citric acid, salt.[1] It hardly invites one to rip open the bag and stuff said snack into your mouth. On the contrary, it can be off-putting. What is corn maltodextrin, anyway?

It is sad that certain disciplines have become associated with such dry and unappetizing presentations that most normal people have no desire to partake of them. Who wants to delve into the ingredient list of soteriology, ecclesiology, patristics, hermeneutics, exegesis, hypostatic union, and mysticism? Not really a list that makes you rub your hands in anticipatory glee, is it? Or lick your lips in hunger?

And that's really why I am studying theology. Because I think God IS exciting and capable of blowing my mind, filling all my senses, and exploding with flavour deep in the hungriest parts of my soul. And I want to mix these theological ingredients together in a way that reflects the accessibility of God (best exemplified in Jesus) and serves it up for others to taste. Not an original idea, by any means (see texts below), but it is what keeps me reading, studying, skimming, and writing. It is what motivates me to test out new recipes for introducing Goodness to others who are too intimidated or perhaps misinformed to crack open the book themselves.

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him. - Psalm 34:8

You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat. - Matthew 5:6

I want to drink God, deep draughts of God. I'm thirsty for God-alive. I wonder, "Will I ever make it—arrive and drink in God's presence?" Psalm 42: 1-2

Jesus said, "I am the Bread of Life. The person who aligns with me hungers no more and thirsts no more, ever. - John 6:35
[1] The ingredient list for Cheetos.
All biblical quotes above from The Message.
I consumed a small bag of BBQ peanuts while writing this.
Above is a picture of 2 green things: one delicious and the other cheap plastic.

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