What of Jesus? – An Easter reflection with reader participation.

Happy Easter!

On this Easter weekend, I think on the meaning of the season and I wonder about my question from my last post, How can a person today decide to want to emulate a man from 2000 years ago? Easter marks the time Christians remember the death and resurrection of Jesus, one of the two key events in the Christian year. The other event of course being the birth of Jesus. Anyone looking at this belief system from afar would obviously say that the main point of this Christian thing is Jesus. He is the reason for it all, but why?

Here’s my thing. When I think about the events that have occurred in my past in and in the past of my family, some of those we tend to attribute to God. If I think back, I have never really thought of Jesus doing these things. My mind just says God, not really Jesus. I know Jesus is in the mix but I’m not sure the PERSON I relate to is the Jesus person. Feels more like the Father person. The mystery of the trinity comes on the scene here as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one and distinct all at once. So maybe the fact that I don’t really relate personally too much to the Son part of the trinity, is not an offense really. After all, the are one.

But this does appear to mean that I might not have a relationship with Jesus, but instead just a belief in God. Maybe I was meant to live during Old Testament times. Back then believing and understanding a resurrected Jesus was not an issue. It hadn’t happened yet. There was one less miracle to doubt on. Easier, no?

Many accept the resurrection as being a part of the story. But I wonder how many today, on Easter Sunday, are identifying with a real visceral Jesus person that they know and can get their head around? So on this Easter, I ask you to join with me in an honest moment.

What does Easter and the resurrection of Jesus mean to you? Just a dramatic story you are told is what you are meant to believe? An intensely personal time for you? Do you feel you are relating to a resurrected Jesus, or do you just kinda relate to the idea of a God? I’m interested in what you all think.

What of Discipline?

In an earlier post I discussed what role cultural immersion has in our beliefs.  The basic idea was that if we immerse ourselves in any culture we will naturally start taking on the beliefs of those around us.  We become of that culture.  It has a role in forming us and our values.

And what of discipline?  I think when cultural immersion might only be getting you so far, discipline might get you the rest of the way.  Discipline is like a more intentional and overt way of teaching ourselves a behavior or a belief.  Where immersion kind of says, I will allow myself to be assimilated into the beliefs and values of the community, discipline is deciding to build yourself into something based on your own desire.  That desire however, could be coming from a value that really came from one of the cultures you are a part of.  So in a way discipline is the self-assimilation into a value or belief we ourselves have.

So how about this?  What if it is the case that if you invoke disciplinary rules for yourself, you are just leveraging this same mechanism as cultural immersion triggers but through a self-controlled lever?  That is to say, discipline is the set of actions we use to execute upon our personal decision to conform.  You decide on an end state, and you engage in the tasks that will get you there.  I’m sure some bristle when I use the word conform in this context, but I use the word conform in the sense that when it comes to discipline, you choose what you want to conform to.  In a paradoxical kind of way, you might even say that what you want to conform to is to be completely original.  So in this case you conform to non-conformity.  It’s kind of like groups of non-conformists – how can they exists as a group, right???  🙂

Is it hurting yet?

I guess I raise this because I recognize that the choice to be disciplined in anything, is like a choice to change yourself.  And so if you want to know what to believe and how to change yourself, what discipline would you exercise?  Perhaps you could decide to be disciplined in a study of those you wish to emulate?  After all, this is why Christians try and invest so much time in studying Jesus and his teachings.  To work at being Christ-like is to be Christian.  But what if you aren’t sure about Christianity?  In that case you should only choose to study Jesus if you decide of your own accord that he is someone worth emulating.  From a non-believer’s perspective you would have to choose that Jesus was worth emulating regardless of whether he was God or just a man.

Man, how do you decide that the life of a man that lived over 2000 years ago is worth emulating?  Just because there are many people who say he’s worth it?  That would be more of a cultural conformity.  Which I don’t mean to say is a bad thing.  I don’t think it’s a bad thing.  I just think this process for me these days is about making my own decision on all this.  So how do I decide this?  What information can even really be gathered in order to make this choice?

I go around and around and I come back in my mind to something I’ve always said about why people believe in God.  The decision to believe is a pretty individual thing.  Not that it isn’t informed by culture and discipline, but that the decision comes out of a personal encounter.  More to the point, it comes down to you deciding (consciously or not) that an experience you’ve had was something that was caused by an interaction with the spirit world.  It comes from a faith-based decision.

So maybe all I need is an encounter.  If and when this encounter occurs, maybe I can attribute it to God or maybe I won’t be convinced.  I can try and be open minded though.  Maybe that’s enough.  And maybe its not up to me to engineer anything at all, but rather it’s up to God to convince me.


Feeling like your coming in part way through the conversation?  There are earlier posts that share the “faith” tag with this post. Read them if you want to catch up.Click here to read the other posts with the “faith” tag.

Legs of the Turkey

Another foodie post.  On Sunday night I tried my first turkey leg smoke.  It wasn’t a full on smoke though.  Half smoker and half BBQ.

It looked awesome.  It smelled awesome.  It even tasted great.  I would have done a few things differently though.  More on that later.  For now I will let you feast your eyes as I describe what you see before you.


Smoked leg of turkey

I decided I didn’t want too much smoke in the meat.  So I did a short smoke and then a short BBQ.  The end result had the looks of anything out of a magazine.  I brined the legs first but only for around 2 hours.  They really needed an overnight brining.  I think that would have improved things.  I also found that the skin on the legs became kind of like leather.  The skin looks so yummy with the spices and the sauce and in the end, we kind of just had to leave it alone.  That part was more than just a little sad.  Next time I’ll pull the skin off, or google how to make the skin more edible and less like jerky.

Another thing I might try is to do a full on cold smoke for like 45 minutes and then do all the cooking on the BBQ.  I think that would end up with a better flavour profile.

One last learning for me was all about the tendons.  Most of you probably know this.  I’m kind of surprised I had no idea how many tendons are in a leg of turkey.  Turkey legs have something like 8 tendons in them.  Unlike a chicken leg, where I have never really noticed much with their tendons as they must render down during cooking more, the turkey has tendons that don’t render and can be best likened to being like huge fish bones.  No one likes picking through fish bones when they eat.

I learned that there is a right way and wrong way to deal with these tendons.  Doing nothing is the wrong way I think.  That’s what I did.  I read a few posts about removing them while the legs were still raw.  I also saw posts about how to remove them after they are cooked.  This is what I tried to do, but there is really no easy way that I could see of doing a full removal of tendons on a fully cooked leg before you serve it.  I suppose you could carve the legs up and serve just meat, but I kind of liked the caveman experience.  In reality there is no really issue with removing them as you eat.  They are too big to choke on.  Still, they are just kind of…irritating.  So next time, I’ll try a raw leg tendon removal.

All in all, it was delicious.