Friday, March 16, 2012

A Few Propositions

Sometimes on Facebook someone will post a set of sayings by some great historical figure with the implication of proposing that we should be guided by such principles.

While I am neither great nor historical, I thought I would start a list of what I consider basic propositions that guide my life as a Christian living in the real world and specifically in 21st century America; I suppose that I am implying that I think they should guide your life, too.

Remember, now: this is only the beginning of what I suspect will become quite a long list. That I thought of these first is significant, I suppose.

1. "You cannot follow Christ and lay up your treasure on earth to such a degree that you don't care about the poor and the needy."

2. "You cannot love the Lord with all your heart, mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself while at the same time thinking only about protecting what is yours while caring not about those who have little or nothing."

3. "You cannot read the great prophets of the Hebrew Bible or read the Gospels of the New Testament without knowing that God has a special place in God's heart and a special place in God's purpose for the poor and that God has some choice words to say about the rich who oppress the poor."

4. "'You cannot serve God and mammon' surely says something important to Christians who talk and live as if the teachings and practices of capitalism are more authoritative than the teachings and practices of Jesus."

Responses are welcomed...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Half-Baked Thoughts About Cookies

It’s almost spring and this middle-aged man’s fancy turns to thoughts of—cookies.

That’s because this week, in one of those unexplainably wonderful coincidences, we noted the 100th birthday of both the Girl Scouts of America and of Oreo cookies.

Now, the Girl Scouts are about a lot more than cookies, but let’s face it—they do sell some mighty fine cookies. Folks will fight you about what the best variety is; for my money you can’t beat Samoas—but then I’m a coconutaholic.

A Facebook friend of mine noted that her Girl Scouts cookie order was delivered on the first day of Lent which was tough since she had committed to giving up sweets for Lent.

“Temptation,” you say. “Bad planning,” I say.

Oreos might be the world’s most perfect mass-manufactured store-bought cookie. I know that saying they’re the “most perfect” is kind of like saying something is “most unique,” but bear with me because I don’t know how else to say it.

Chips Ahoy—perfect. Nutter Butter—perfect. Danish Wedding Cookies—perfect. Oreos—most perfect.

There is more than one way to eat an Oreo. As the old jingle said, “A kid’ll eat the middle of an Oreo first and save the chocolate cookie outside for last.” Some people dunk them in milk. My method: I pull the cookie apart, eat the cookie with the stuff on it, and then eat the other cookie. Why? Because that’s the way I like it, that’s why.

Being a food traditionalist, I don’t like it much when changes are made in iconic snack items. I have never forgiven the Mars Company, for example, for discontinuing the dark brown M&Ms and replacing them with blue ones. As a protest I at first refused to eat the blue ones but my civil disobedience proved ineffective, not to mention being too much trouble. Besides, all of the colors taste the same.

I did and do like the innovation that Nabisco made when they introduced the Double Stuf Oreo. Some people don’t appreciate them appropriately but I say you can’t have too much of a good thing. They shouldn’t have messed with the spelling of “stuff,” though—“stuf” looks like it should be pronounced “stoof.”

I wonder what stopped them from going with "Duble"? Then the name would have looked like it should be pronounced like some rare French-German confection: "Doo-blay Stoof."

According to, 450 billion Oreos have been sold since their debut in 1912; if you lined up all the Oreos ever made end to end along the equator they’d circle the earth 381 times and if you stacked them they’d reach to the moon and back over five times.

The current slogan for Oreos is “Milk’s Favorite Cookie” which got me to thinking about the cookie slogan that I would like to think offers the most accurate characterization of the Church.

I decided that I like the one for another perfect iconic cookie: