I know a lot of people that set goals or follow religions or rules only to try to find all the loopholes once they realize how inconvenient it might make life. I know I do it with certain things, like my support of free speech unless you say things that bother me, then I’m like “please shut up”.
I don’t know how many times I have had friends who are parents say to their kids “if you don’t stop that right now we are leaving!” And then I can just see in their eyes that look of “kid, you better stop because I really don’t want to leave” and I know they are wishing they would have thrown out some other threat.
Or, take for example, Christians (any religion could be applied here, depending on the participant). There are so many times we don’t really think about the meaning behind the laws. I heard some pastor talking about the role of women in ministry (I commend him for his firm stance on a politically incorrect subject right now); he said that he didn’t see it as God’s design for women to be in spiritual leadership over men*.
So, that would mean a woman shouldn’t be a pastor and he also said a woman shouldn’t teach a mixed gender Sunday School. But, he said, a woman could be a seminary professor. That gave me pause. I thought “How does that make any sense? She can teach “Genesis 101″ to a group of Christian males and females at a school but she cant teach “Genesis 101″ to a group of Christian males and females if it is inside a church building? That is splitting hairs if I ever heard it!”
That would be a case of obeying a letter of the law without thinking very deeply about the heart behind what God intended. The intent is for men to be leaders. To be protectors. To work to lead their wives spiritually and lovingly Christ leads and loves His church – when you take the letter of the law without the heart it seems cold and silly.
Anyway, I got to thinking about why I am fasting from fast food. If I eat a whole bunch of ice cream at home, why not just eat it while I am out? If I am going to buy a hot pocket for dinner I might as well buy a jr. bacon cheeseburger, right? Then I started to think, am I splitting hairs with this? I don’t want to do this just so I can say that I did it; I really want to live a healthier, wholesome life and I know fast food doesn’t add either of those things to my life or the lives of anyone around me.
But does coffee count? I love Starbucks. LOVE IT. I don’t go all the time, maybe once a week, but I look forward to it! I try to get healthier options, like Iced Coffee with Raw Sugar instead of Classic, and I for sure don’t eat their pastries, but would it still be better for me if I cut it out completely?
The reasons I justify coffee is as follows
- I can’t make coffee at home – I don’t have a coffee machine and I don’t drink it enough to bother getting one. Plus my hubby doesn’t like the taste of coffee. He is an oddity!
- I can’t make yummy drinks even if I did have a machine – I like the taste of espresso and steamed milk, and I can’t do either of those things at home unless I invest in a good machine. And, once again, I don’t drink it enough
- I’ts a good time to meet with the ladies. Coffee dates are the best!
Those are all fairly good reasons and it sure would be difficult to meet with my ladies if I said we couldn’t meet for coffee – parks are great, but summer here lasts for about three months; and then what?
I want to cut out things from my life that are hindering my holistic being, and I feel coffee places add a bit of friendship, culture, laughter, delight and nummy-ness. I have a lot of great memories stopping in at cute coffee shops, and I feel my life would have a bit of a hole without them. Sure, not all the places value Fair-Trade or Organic or Local Trade, but finding those places is half the fun!
*1 Timothy 2:11-13; Titus 1:6-7