Apples, Tomatoes, and the Curse of God

fruitYou’ve probably heard the story.  It’s the one about Adam, Eve, and the tree of knowledge, and it took place in the Garden of Eden.  In an act of disobedience, Adam and Eve took of the forbidden fruit, and they were banned from and booted out of the Garden.

The myth of that Eden experience is that Adam and Eve ate an apple, but the Bible doesn’t specifically name what it was that they ate.  I disputed the apple assertion earlier this year after I had purchased a tomato.  It had such a deep red and luscious appeal that promised a taste bud-tingling-experience.  I took it home, sliced it, and added it to a sandwich.

After I took one bite of this fine-looking tomato, I drew a deep theological conclusion.  When God cursed the Garden, He must have also cursed a certain variety of tomato.  I’ll call it the supermarket variety because they all have one dominant and pervasive feature:  They are tasteless.  There is no flavor to savor.

The dilemma of tasteless tomatoes is explained in part by author Mark Schatzker in The Dorito Effect.  According to Schatzker, for the past 70 years commercial horticulturists have been focused on yield, pest resistance and appearance at the expense of flavor.

While store-bought tomatoes are no longer tasty, manufactured flavor has been added to Doritos and your munchies, so you’ll crave more.  Schatzker says: “Synthetic-flavor technology makes bland ingredients attractive without supplying the myriad benefits of the real thing. The twin forces of flavor dilution and fake ­flavor have short-circuited the biological basis for mutable appetite . . . Our bodies learn to draw connections between flavors and the physiological responses they signal . . . We can seek out and find what we need, nutritionally, and stop eating once we get it”

Schatzker seems to suggest that it’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature.  I would add that perhaps we shouldn’t try to improve on the design of the Master Designer.

Psalm 84:11

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

The Spice of Life

charleston_hot_peppers_white_background2This is the time of year that fresh produce is being grown in the gardens around town.  When the tomatoes ripen and the squash and zucchini are harvested, new recipes are tried as backyard chefs’ fire up their grills. The key ingredient to the success of these culinary endeavors is that special spice you add to the entrée as it simmers on the grill.

Is there a favorite spice you use when you cook?  Spices influence and change the flavor of food.  If you were the spice of life, how would your influence be experienced?

  • Would it be felt as true compassion or random passion?
  • Would you be experienced as a warming fire or dangerous and easily provoked ire?
  • Would your presence be recognized as sweet encouragement or bitter discouragement?

The difference between a good meal and a bad meal can be the difference between the right spice and a bad substitute.  If the recipe calls for sugar, you can’t expect to get good results if you substitute cayenne pepper.

The same is true will a spiritual counterfeit and a genuine servant of God.   The influence of one is positive and the influence of the other is negative.

Jesus said that you should “Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned (Matthew 7: The Message).”

As the spice of life, are you genuine or a counterfeit?