The State of Texas has done it again.
Highly credible internet sources (duh!) report that Texas resident Andrew Chifari ordered the most expensive Starbucks drink in history, a $54.75 monstrosity containing 60 shots of espresso, chocolate syrup, protein powder, and apparently gold leaf.
That’s right: the state that gave the nation Ross Perot, Gary Busey, and the Cadillac Ranch managed to produce someone with both the imagination and the cardiac fortitude to create and consume a 128-ounce caffeinated beverage, all on a free-drink coupon. The teeming masses of our grateful and quite frankly stunned nation should have expected this development. After all, this is Texas, a place where gun ownership, excessive highway speeds, and endemic artheriosclerosis exist more as social obligations than options.
Welcome to the state fair of Texas! What fried food item can I get you?
Two fried pickles, a fried Twinkie and…let’s see. Got any fried dung on a stick?
Sure! Pork be alright?
I’m sorta partial to beef, if ya don’t mind.
No problem, hun. Be out in a jiff. You need ammo with that?
Just a box or two.
An armed man driving at high speeds while 60 chocolate-sweeted shots of espresso race through his plaque-narrowed arteries is simply part of the beauty and appeal of Texas’ unique culture.
I raise no objections; I am, after all, Texas-bred and Texas-raised. My mother always transforms into a humiliated 6th-grader whose pants have fallen down while in front of the class when I mention being Texas-bred. “Ethan! Those people don’t need to know where your father and I….well…where you were bred! Some things are private, dontcha know.” I defend myself by pointing out that I’ve never given out the address.
Back to our main story – irrational judgmentalism.
So what if Mr. Chifari has gone to such extremes that the National Tuning Fork Association signs him as their spokesman. Provided the low-frequency vibrations from our protagonist’s skeletal frame avoid unsettling any tectonic plates, what does it matter if he elicits a response from a Geiger counter? Are we his doctors, tasked with warning him that the 4,500 milligrams of caffeine in his glass exceed the Mayo Clinic’s daily recommended 400 milligram cap?
Who are we to judge that which is not truly wrong?
Paul takes us all to task on this very subject in Romans 14. An apparent source of dissension had arisen among Christians, seemingly centered on rather mundane habits such as eating and drinking and celebrating certain holidays. I say “apparent” because we have no solid evidence for why Paul chooses to address the matter; in the great human tradition, we’ll just assume our conclusions are correct.
Paul can get wordy, so here’s the Cliff’s Notes version:
“In all matters that could conceivably be subject to debate, find a way to accept each other without using the fact of your disapproval as evidence of the other guy’s sin. Pursue, eat, drink, believe, create what you will in all areas in which the authoritative commands of God are lacking. Again, in all matters that can be disputed, accept one another’s choices as choices made for the glory of God, allowing Him to determine whether we’ve messed up. After all, who are we to evaluate someone else’s servant?”
The key phrase in all of this is “…matters that can be disputed…” In the US, everything can be discussed. Freedom of speech and individual rights come together to breed a worldview that rejects absolutes. As Dave recently penned, not all things have a rational, dissenting point of view. There ARE absolutes. However, once we get past those absolutes, the sky is the limit.
Use bongos in worship. Follow a vegan diet. Host a Bible study for unapologetic sinners. Hire people who agree with your theology. Hire people who don’t agree with your theology. Use Toby Mac during worship. Join a megachurch. Be bivocational. Profit from your books sales. Don’t profit from your book sales. Support the Affordable Care Act. Oppose the Affordable Car Act. Exercise a ton. Don’t exercise at all. Avoid problematic personalities. Engage problematic personalities. Create art that challenges theology. Don’t create art at all. Whatever. Just understand: God determines the the morality of the choice, not you and certainly not me.
Unless we’re talking about coffee – coffee sweetened by anything at all is just gross.