Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Matter of Taste: Part One

I admit the following things about my television viewing habits at my own peril, but I do so for the good of the blog and for you, my lovely reader.

Lately, because of the serious demise of network television, I have been perusing for shows to keep me entertained.  I have ended up primarily watching 2 shows: Project Runway and Chopped.  For those of you with more "refined" taste, let me explain a little bit about these shows.  Project Runway challenges a group of contestants to design and make garments in a series of crazy challenges. Each episode eliminates the contestant whose design was a flop. Chopped is a cooking show that has contestants make an appetizer, main entree, and dessert, and after each course the contestant whose dish is lackluster is "chopped."  Both PR and Chopped have a panel of distinguished judges who give critical feedback and, ultimately, decide who failed to measure up.

So, I know next to nothing about either fashion or cooking.  I wear clothes and eat food, but after that, I'm pretty clueless.  Occasionally, while watching one of these shows (or others like them), I'll see a fantastic dress come down the runway.  Or I'll see someone cook an interesting-looking dish.  Before any of the judges have a chance to speak, I'll make a judgement of my own like, "Wow, the dress that the designer made out of fish net and coffee filters sure is gorgeous.   I bet the judges will love it."  Or, "I can't believe they found a way to make that amazing looking flambe out of asparagus, gelatin, and strawberries.  It must taste really great!"  I'll compare it to other contestants, sure that the judges will diss the ones I've picked as "lacking" and praise the ones I like.

 However, more often than not, the judges go in the complete opposite direction.  At first, I'm baffled.  I think to myself, "Heidi Klum, how could you possibly like that outfit made of purple goose feathers?"  But Heidi will go on and explain how it is "fashion forward" and say that it is innovative and creative and exactly what they're looking for, whereas the coffee filter dress is so 2008.

I have to say, the judges usually know what they're talking about.  By the time they explain why they did or didn't like the entry-at-hand, I am usually nodding along with them, all of a sudden able to see why the goose feathers were a better choice than the fish net and coffee filters.  The contestants themselves often experience this as well, as they develop the ability to see themselves clearly when given honest feedback in comparison to their competition.

Often on one of these shows, you get to hear a few minutes of the judges' deliberations in which they discuss the merits of various contestants.  I have heard, many times, the judges talk about certain contestants like this: "So and so has excellent technique.  He has superb knife skills and knows everything possible about the technical aspect of cooking.  But he just has no taste!  Who cares if he can cook an asparagus/gelatin/strawberry flambe to perfection if it tastes rotten?"  They have an excellent point.  One that, if it is sent off to metaphor-land, has a lot of really huge implications.

So, yes, I'm about to make a leap from reality television to my faith.  Hold on to your hats.

I am a person of faith.  Christian faith.  It is something that I think about every day.  It is something that has an impact on the way I live my life and the way I see the world.  I know a lot about what I believe.  I read about it, talk about it, wrestle with it.  I have excellent "technical knowledge".

But what good is this technical knowledge, really, if I don't have a taste for God, or the things that God has a taste for?  If I know a lot about the Bible or Christ's life or the early church, but do not, like God, have a taste for goodness, truth, and humility, what do I know?  If I know a lot about God, but have no taste for getting to know Him, should I even bother?

I know what you're going to ask me next.  Go ahead, I dare you.

"But what if I have no taste for God?  What if the reason that I spend so much time on the "technical" part of my faith is because that's the part I have the control over and can do something about?  How in the world do you become a person who has a taste for God?  Isn't that something that--like those judges--only the elite, the refined have?  Is it something that a few are born with?"

No, I don't think so at all.  Unfortunately, I'm going to leave you hanging, but come back tomorrow because my next post will address these burning questions.


Rich said...

Don't leave us hanging too long...

pablos39 said...

Love your blog and it is something we all need to think about! You missed Matt's message at Christmas and it was somewhat along these lines.

The Waid Family said...

You lost me at Project Run Way. . . kidding. Looking forward to Part II

Sarah said...

Yes, good teaser at the end...waiting to hear more!