Thursday, May 31, 2012

Liberty and Fountain Drinks

There are days when I am really glad that I don’t live in New York City. This is one of those days.

Mayor Bloomberg has announced plans to ban sugary drinks greater than 16 ounces in size. I’ve been a consumer of 44 oz. fountain drinks for more than 20 years. As a college student, I would stop at the Village Pantry along Indiana State Route 26 to fill up with my beloved Mt. Dew during my three-hour drives between my home in Sidney, OH and my home-away-from-home in West Lafayette, IN. As a junior naval officer in Arlington, VA, I would often grab a Super Big Gulp from the 7-Eleven across the street to get me through the afternoon. Even now, I occasionally grab a big foam cup of the delightfully sweet stuff from the local gas station convenience store.

It seems that skinny nanny-state freak in New York doesn’t like people being able to drink the stuff in sizes that don’t disappear in three sips. I’m safe in Ohio, for now, but this gives me one more reason to avoid the Big Apple. My car needs gas anyway, so I think I’ll stop at the station after lunch and, for good measure, come back to work with a massive dose of the stuff that I’m craving.

On a more serious note: this is another bureaucratic assault on liberty. Just looking at what is and is not affected under the proposed ban makes compliance look like a nightmare. As is usually the case, enforcement will be arbitrary and in some cases, disproportionately harsh. I pray that this is not a bellwether for the further erosion of liberty and suppression of the free market nationwide.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The First Encyclical

In the weeks that follow Easter, the Lectionary readings lead us through the early spread of the Gospel as recounted in Luke’s Acts of the Apostles. In the fifth week (last week to those keeping track), the readings are taken from chapters 14 and 15 and tells of the Council of Jerusalem. We Catholics like to think of the Council of Jerusalem as the first ecumenical council.

The apostles met in Jerusalem to discuss circumcision and whether it, and the Mosaic law in general, should be imposed upon new Gentile believers. They eventually decided that the Law of Moses did not apply under the New Covenant, and circumcision was not necessary. The first encyclical letter was drafted stating that the only thing required of converts was that they abstain from meat sacrificed to idols and from sexual immorality.

Imagine that! The very first encyclical authorized by the Church was about sex! The letter, as recorded by Luke in Acts 15:23-29 doesn’t even say anything about circumcision, which was the whole reason the convening the council in the first place!

That brings us to Paul and Timothy. With the ink still wet on the documents of the council that decided circumcision was not necessary, Paul takes Timothy, whose mother was a Jew but whose father was a Gentile, and circumcises him! (Acts 16:3) His reason, says Luke, was to avoid offending the Jews. Was there a foreskin check at the synagogue?! Yet Paul doesn’t hesitate to tell the Galatians that he rebuked Peter for refraining from eating with Gentiles when the circumcision party was in town (Gal 2:11-13), even though Peters motives were probably very similar to Paul’s (i.e., to avoid giving offense).

I’m starting to understand why Mark wasn’t keen on travelling with Paul.

Friday, May 11, 2012

On Account of the Flies

It seems that I have my meme for the rest of the year. I’ve noticed that there seem to be more flies buzzing around than in the past. Therefore, anything bad that happens henceforth will be on account of the flies. Without a doubt, the flies (and all nuisance insect life in general) are dense due to the mild winter that we had. And if the winter was mild, it has to have something to do with global warming (even though I understand that the European winter was pretty harsh).

Jamie had a melt-down at the grocery store and Erin broke a jar of salsa con queso in aisle 1? It had to be on account of the flies!