Reasons to Complain

Having lived in the middle of SEC country for nearly seven years now, I thought I had seen the worst examples of “Can’t take L for an answer.”  But two New Orleans fans have taken it to a whole other level.  They are actually suing the NFL over the result of the NFC championship game, in which their beloved Saints lost to the Rams — in no small part because of an admittedly horrible non-call near the end of the game.

They want the commissioner of the NFL to do something about it.  Ideally, replay the entire game (or at least the last few minutes of regulation), or just flat-out reverse the game results.  Nothing unreasonable.

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Lobsters

Lobsters are not immortal.  You may have heard otherwise, but it isn’t true.  They do have a remarkable way of reproducing cells that retards cell death indefinitely.  But turns out, getting old brings on a host of health difficulties, each of which may eventually become fatal.  They ward off the natural processes better than most species, granted, but death will inevitably get them in the end, as it will all of us.

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Carrot cake and the body of Christ

I took Tracie to my favorite restaurant on our second date, way back in the day.  It was my favorite restaurant for a number of reasons, but high on the list was their carrot cake.  I have never been one to order dessert with dinner (I’ve been reluctant ever since I realized they would charge me for it), but for some reason I had had the carrot cake at this particular establishment.  And it was wonderful.  Moist cake, and plenty of it.  Plump, juicy raisins throughout.  A delicious cream-cheese icing, but not too much.  Perhaps the best dessert I had ever eaten that had not come out of the kitchen of my mother or grandmother.

Dinner went fine.  I was funny.  I was engaging.  The food was delicious.  Things were going so well.  And then I suggested dessert.  “You have to try the carrot cake,” I said.

That’s when she told me she didn’t like carrot cake. 

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Blindfolded

I have not seen Bird Box, the Sandra Bullock film on Netflix everyone seems to be talking about.  And maybe it’s just as well.  Because there seems to be a trend of people trying to drive blindfolded.  After all, Sandra Bullock did it.  And she’s a movie star.  Surely that makes it a sensible thing to do.

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Peach cobbler and the body of Christ

Every Southern household has its own recipe for peach cobbler.  They differ widely.  Personally, I like a lot of peaches, a nice goopy consistency with the filling, and a crispy, sugary crust.  Others may prefer a more biscuit-like pastry, or a deeper pastry level than I like.  That’s fine.  Some prefer to make theirs in a casserole dish in the oven, some like the Crock Pot, some go old school and use a cast-iron Dutch oven over an open fire.  Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.  But we all absolutely must agree on two bits of business: it must feature peaches, and it must be a cobbler.  It’s right there in the name, after all.  Peach.  Cobbler.

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Reason

Because I love torturing myself, I occasionally use social media to check on some of the Christians I have known in the past who have shown signs of faith slippage.  Invariably I find what I expect.  It’s a sickness.  I need to stop.

Anyway, one lovely young girl from our past got a tattoo on her foot awhile back.  It reads, “Everything happens for a reason.”  She has a beautiful baby girl now.  Never been married.  I doubt she sees the irony.

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S'mores and the body of Christ

The whole point of s’mores is fireplace, firepit or campfire entertainment with the family.  You roast the marshmallow on an actual flame, then use the residual heat to melt a chocolate bar, grip the gooey goodness between two graham crackers, and go to town on it.  Making them is far more enjoyable than eating them.  Watching your children make them is even better.

You can do it in the microwave instead, if you like.  But the crackers lose their crispiness, the marshmallow slides everywhere, it’s just a mess.  There is, however, a device that will make the best microwave s’mores ever. 

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Klobosniky

Purists insist that a “kolache” with sausage inside is actually a klobosniky.  And strictly speaking, it is not Czech in origin, as is the kolache.  It is a native Texan.  Word has it the klobosniky was invented in West, Texas (which, ironically, is not in west Texas) at the Village Bakery in 1953.

If you are not from Texas, you don’t care.  If you are from Texas, you probably still don’t care.  Frankly, I’m not sure how much I care.  I just like saying klobosniky.

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Kolaches and the body of Christ

I love my life in Florida.  But I must say, trips back to Texas remind me of what I have left behind.  Bluebonnets in March, and prickly pear flowers in May.  Beef brisket barbecue so good that is actually better without sauce.  Two dozen varieties of peppers in your local grocery store.  Mexican food that is worth eating.

 But one of the least-appreciated Texas delights is a pastry called a kolache.

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A possible root of the problem

When Paul said goodbye to the Ephesian elders in Miletus, he told them he knew he would never see their faces again (Acts 20:25).  However, his dealings with the church at Ephesus were not entirely completed, according to 1 Timothy 1:3,  If we believe Paul was guided by inspiration in Miletus, we have to take him at his word.  That means the church at Ephesus during Paul’s third preaching tour was dramatically different from the one with which Timothy was working just six or seven years later.

What happened?

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Delete

December has five Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays this year.  That’s unusual, as you might expect.  Pointless and uninteresting, sure, but unusual.  In fact, it was suggested on Facebook (yes, I’m railing on Facebook again today) that it only occurs once every 823 years.  OK, that might push it past the border into Interestingland.

Except it’s not true.  And when you think about it, it can’t be true. 

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My gift to Jesus

This time of year, most of us have cultural, familial, and guilt-induced obligations to bestow gifts on various ones near and (to one degree or another) dear to us.  For the Hammons family, thankfully, our holiday shopping is just about concluded.  (I deceive.  Apologies.  Tracie’s holiday shopping is just about concluded.)

But I keep hearing talk about Jesus being “the reason for the season.”  I like Kylie’s response to that saying — “That’s ridiculous,” she says.  “Jesus is the reason for everything.”  (They do make you proud, don’t they?) 

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Chickadees

A flock of what appeared to be black-capped chickadees descended on the church property this week.  (Forgive me, Mom, if I’m ornithologically incorrect here.)  Tiny little things, just hopping all over the place looking for seeds.  Peck.  Hop.  Peck.  Hop.  Peck.

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The aftermath of sin

On April 27, 2017, off-duty border patrol agent and expectant father Dennis Dickey fired a high-powered rifle at a target packed with an explosive known as Tannerite.  It exploded in a huge ball of blue smoke, indicating to the delighted crowd of friends that his child would be, in fact, a boy.

To put it mildly, things went downhill from there.

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High

Young people in Indonesia are boiling women’s sanitary products (there’s a euphemism for you) and drinking the water.  Evidently it gets them high.  I am not making this up.  This is real.

This process is not safe; that fact probably does not take you by surprise.  But the illness that it reveals is far worse than any condition that might result.

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Separating human myth from Bible fact

Jesus was almost certainly not born on December 25.  Shepherds watched over their flocks in the open fields, a la Luke 2:8, during the spring and summer, not the winter.  To keep such an arrangement during the cold of winter would be cruel to the sheep, let alone the shepherds.

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Holiday coping mechanisms (some better than others)

Is the holiday season getting you down?  I mean, even more “down” than normal?  Do you instinctively head for the firearms section in your local Walmart when you hear yet another Christmas carol slaughtered by some boy band or country crooner?  Be of good cheer, citizen — there are a variety of remedies on the market.

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Biscuits

In the latest installment of This Week on Facebook, I present a meme: “Just imagine how great life would be if biscuits and gravy made you skinny.”

       Well, sure.  But why stop there?  Let’s wish that video games increased our intelligence, or alcohol improved our driving, or pornography strengthened our marriages.  The only difference is, I’ve heard people actually argue the last three.  Not even kidding.

Here’s the report from planet earth, though: Good choices are frequently painful choices, and indulgent choices are rarely good choices.  I am no stoic, but I must decry the rampant hedonism in our culture that has been sold to us as a tonic for what ails us.

Medicine tastes bad.  Exercise hurts.  Work wears you out.  And yes, tragically, healthy food is less appetizing than fattening, artery-clogging food.  Frankly, we should be highly suspicious when someone tries to tell us different.

But we do have a tendency to believe “information” that supports our indulgences.  Most of my brethren who have tried to get around the clear teaching of Matthew 19:6 and Matthew 19:9, for instance, have a divorce and remarriage situation very close to home.  The truth does not always hurt, granted; however, it doesn’t become less truthful when it does hurt.

God’s word is truth (John 17:17).  Our current understanding of it may or may not be truth.  We owe it to ourselves to be honest — painfully honest.  If it means giving up a tasty morsel or two, so be it.

 

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Dumplings

I frustrated Tracie for years over chicken and dumplings — a high-carb dish that, sadly, no longer occupies a place at the top of my requests list.  (Don’t let that deter you, ladies of the church; I will break whatever dietary rules I must at your respective houses.  It’s just the kind of guy I am.)

Tracie’s dumplings, you see, never suited. And she tried everything.

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