Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Attaching Your Name To Something

Transparent LanguageWhen I was in my pre-teens my mom started following various boycotts endorsed by evangelical preachers of the day.  At various times I believe we were avoiding Procter & Gamble (that's hard to do by the way), Meijer, Disney, & McDonald's.  That list isn't exhaustive but it is fairly representational.  I don't know what some of the companies were doing "wrong" just that I suddenly didn't have my favorite brand of something and Mickey Mouse suddenly grew horns and carried a pitch fork.  I also knew that I felt completely persecuted.  Because, really, life was all about me at that point.

What I failed to completely understand at the time was the fact that as a Christian in this world the majority of culture will always be opposed to me and my fellow believers.  This world is "no friend to grace" and therefore a company that makes soap will sponsor adultery on television and an animation studio will promote (by their silence) a lifestyle contrary to the Word of God.  And because so much of the world is opposed to Christianity, we must pick and choose our boycotts - the literal ones and figurative ones - for the reality is we don't have time to make our own soap and sometimes we run through drive-thrus because we're hungry and that's how life goes.  And this is what my mom was doing by choosing select companies to boycott...in her own way she was standing up for the name "Christian".  I just knew that I missed my favorite shampoo.

It does make me realize as an adult living in a sea of perpetual internet transparancy, how very important it is that we are cautious in terms of what we put our name upon.  When the Lever brands company put an ad on a television show that was less than moral, people took note.  Did all of Lever necessarily support what happened in that show?  No.  But their name was on it.  That's all that mattered.  Someone somewhere had taken note of the name attached to the television program and their name was tainted in the minds and hearts of certain believers.

When I studied accounting we learned a great deal about the 'appearance of impropriety'.  Very simply put it meant that while we may be honest in all of our financial dealings, the method of how we go about doing what it is we do is often as important as the result.  If I am counting a drawer of someone's cash I will do so in the presence of another person.  If am reconciling bank accounts I will have an auditor come in on a regular basis...just to avoid the 'appearance of impropriety'.

And as internet Christians we should consider the 'appearance of impropriety'.  What is written in your name, under your name, displayed via your name....it matters.    It doesn't matter who you claim wrote it - it doesn't matter if someone else posted it....if it's under your name, in your name, it is yours to deal with.  As a Christian first and foremost this should be a concern as we will be know by our fruit (Luke 6:44).  Our product, what springs from us directly and from our names, will be used by others as a form of judgment.  Even Aesop in his wisdom warned us that we will be known by the company we keep.  But, you know, as an adult who has been an employee and an employer it matters in practical terms.  Your employer does care if you seem to find vandalism funny - endorse bigotry - find it funny to degrade women.  Teenagers should realize that the babysitting calls will cease if you leave sexually charged material on your Facebook account.  Confessing members of a church should not feign anger because they are called to task because of a statement they post contrary to the known, professed beliefs of their member church.  The ramifications are endless.

We may not like this - it may take work - but what your name is attached to, whether it be as a major, multi-national company, as an employee, or simply as someone who has chosen to place their name on an internet website (say, of the Facebook variety)...it matters.  And it is our personal responsibility to do our best that we never give the 'appearance of impropriety'.  If we can't control this - if it gets away from us - avoiding the source is really the wise and prudent way of preserving our name.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Beef Stew Confession

No, really, it is about beef stew.

The heat finally broke - seemingly in droplets of humidity all over the people of the state of Michigan - and in its wake we were left with some phenomenal weather.  Cool enough to make me want to cook.  Meaning it was really really awful before because I rarely get to the point where cooking is a chore....for the past couple of weeks it has been. 

Anyway - found some stew meat in the freezer during a routine look-see and began my stew process before ensuring all ingredients were present.  Like taking a shower before you make sure there's a towel in the bathroom.  I was short broth...of any kind.  What I did have was a single, lonely can of Campbell's Chicken Gumbo Soup.  Random, sure, but broth with some kick and, truly, at this point it was broth or water.  (For a future date - explanation for why I keep this soup in the pantry.)

The result was my best beef stew to date.  Gotta love that processed, sodium-laden soup on occasion!


1.5-2 lb cubed stew meat dredged in
3/4 c white flour
2 T kosher salt
1 T pepper
1 t cumin
1/2 t celery salt

quick heat the above in about 4 capfuls of cooking oil in a nice deep pot...when things thicken up and the floury meat looks a bit less white add....

1 c diced yellow onion
4 cleaned, chopped carrots
4 cleaned, peeled, chopped white potatoes
2 c corn (I used fresh from the cob...frozen otherwise)
1 can Campbell's Chicken Gumbo Soup

As this cooks I added about 3 c water as needed

Saturday, August 14, 2010

When a woman is in charge....

(Never fear.....no feminist rants are forthcoming....)

When a woman is in charge:

  • athletic practice never occurs right in the middle of traditional supper hour
  • anyting that has to be sewn on a child's shirt or kerchief or other such nonsense would not be - sewn - it would be iron on (duh)
  • milk would be located at the front of the grocery store - oh we know why it's not...but we still would put it at the front...with the diapers and formula and cough syrup
  • doctor's offices would come with lysol wipes and spray and would never double book appointments
  • ditto for hair salons
  • golf would only be a sport and count as exercise if walking is involved
  • if there is money for a new cell phone, cable TV, or new vehicles that would naturally mean that there is always money for braces and clothes and shoes and new couches