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Archive for September, 2011

ground chuck

At some point this summer I used the meat grinder on Tallula (our Kitchen Aide mixer) to grind up a chuck roast and make our own hamburgers. Whew, what a difference in texture and fresh flavor!

But I became curious as to how much fat was in actually in the roast? How could I tell? How could I control the fat if I didn’t know how much was in the roast before grinding it? So I recently asked a butcher at a grocery store how they figure out the percentage of fat in ground beef.

His first response was that they buy most of the ground beef already ground.

I wondered to myself,  “So do you really know that that ‘ground chuck’ has only chuck in it? Who knows what kind of scraps were thrown into the grinder?”

His second answer was even more enlightening: “For the stuff we grind ourselves, you just learn what looks right.”

Huh? “what looks right”??? “You mean,” asked I, “there’s no system for determining the exact percentage of fat?” Whereupon he looked at me as though I were slightly addled. (Which is, of course, entirely possible. I will freely admit that normal people don’t meditate on how to determine the fat content in ground beef. But I’ve never claimed to be normal. Odd. Eccentric. Weird. It’s all just too much fun!)

So that 85%/15% that you just bought for flavor? Just a guess, thank you very much. That 95% lean that you just bought to be healthy? They’re clueless.

I’ll keep on grinding chuck when I find it on sale. And keep enjoying good hamburgers. But I’ll also keep wondering how to determine the fat content.

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why i do what i do

Tucked away in a column by Nancy Pearcy, I found these two paragraphs:

fascinating study by Fuller Theological Seminary identified the major factors in whether teens from Christian homes lose or retain their convictions when they go off to college. Surprisingly, the most significant factor is not whether the students join a church or campus Bible study.  It is whether they work through their doubts and questions.

In other words, the students who survive are those who develop independent thinking. The researchers concluded, “Students who had the opportunity to struggle with tough questions and pain during high school seemed to have a healthier transition into college life.” 

These thoughts deeply resonated with me. I have encountered too many teens in churches and Christian schools who wonder about the big questions of life, but for one reason or another don’t bother asking them. Some teens have asked but were then shot down by a pastor or other adult. “Christians don’t ask those questions; we just believe,” they are told. “How could you ask a question like that?” they are asked. “Believe it because the pastor said so.” “It’s not supposed to make sense; that’s what faith is.”

Teens have been abandoned by the church at the most critical juncture of their thinking. Many leave the faith believing that Christianity can’t handle the big problems and questions of life. Others trudge on in quiet desperation, wishing they could find answers, hoping no one asks them the questions going through their own minds.

But questions linger.

Unanswered questions ought to.

And for this I teach.

Young people need to know that God isn’t afraid of their questions. In fact, He alone has coherent answers to all of life’s toughest problems.

High school ought to be when these problems are first discussed. Our homes, our schools, our churches ought to be the places where these can be safely questioned. If God has the answers, why are we afraid when questions come. We ought to relish the opportunity to reveal God’s wisdom. Rather than shaking the faith of God’s elect, tough problems serve to strengthen believers as they confront difficult truths under the careful guidance of wise mentors.

How eager I am for JECA to grow and mature, for these students, now in the grammar years to begin asking and probing and questioning. I want to help them build a foundation that will last a lifetime. An eternity.

In the meantime we work, and instruct, and shape, and pray, and form, and teach. And by God’s grace we will raise up a generation of students who are confident in the Lord, thoughtful in their questioning, rooted in the Word, and eager to confront the chaos of a culture adrift in a sea of uncertainty.

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