God is like…

For no apparent reason, Brian and I decided to learn about wine. Up until now my knowledge of the subject consisted of (a) wine is made from grapes, (b) wine can be red or white, and (c) red wine goes with red meat and white wine goes with fish. The first thing we learned on our journey is that letter (c) is actually not a hard and fast rule. Oh, and that wine can be made from things other than grapes, too. So much for knowing stuff…

The main thing we learned is that in discussing wine, “aromas” are discussed rather than “flavors”. Weird, huh? This is not, however, the weirdest part of the whole thing.  We were given a chart titled “The Wine Aroma Wheel”. The wheel resembles a pie chart, dividing the possible aromas into categories such as floral, vegetative, nutty, and chemical. Wait! Chemical??? Really? Yes, really. (Now remember: these are all aromas you are likely to find in a bottle of wine.) Some of the aromas listed in the chemical category include wet cardboard, burnt match, diesel, kerosene, plastic, tar, wet dog, and filter pad.  Mmm, yum! Other categories include: “microbiological”, which includes such yummy things as sweaty, mousey and horsey; “vegetative”, which includes cut grass, green beans and tobacco; and “earthy”, which includes moldy cork, mildew, and dusty. I made a comment to the expert we were talking to about how awful mousey or horsey wine sounded, and she assured me that there are plenty of wine connaisseurs that actually prefer such wines! Eeewww…

 Another thing we learned was about the whole swishing around thing wine enthusiasts do. While it looks like bad manners, there is actually a good reason for it, or so I’m told. If you just do the Sip and Swallow, like you do with iced tea or soda pop, you will get one taste from the wine, plus whatever after taste it may leave. However, if you hold the wine in your mouth until it reaches body temperature, and swish it around so it comes in contact with your whole mouth, you will notice several aromas/flavors showing up. That’s when you will begin to sense the overtones of berries, pineapple, or wet dog. Even the after taste you pick up will be different after the Hold and Swish. You will also notice things like if it coats the inside of your cheeks (showing significant sugar present), or if it makes your teeth feel funny like cranberry juice does (showing significant tannins present). So, the theory goes, if you really want to experience and understand a particular wine, you need to take your time, let it linger in your mouth, and swish it around a while.

So what does this have to do with God? It made me think of Psalms 34:8– “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good;” It’s easy to get in a hurry with God, treating Him like we do most everything else in our fast-paced society: run to church, spend the hour or two required of us, dash out the door for a quick lunch and then get to the yard work before we get back to the office for the week. In other words, Sip and Swallow. If that’s how we handle our relationship with God, we’ll have a shallow, one-note idea of who He really is, missing all the intricacies and depth of the Reality that is God. If, for instance, the pastor tells us “God is love,” and our whole response is, “Cool! What’s for lunch,” we might walk away thinking God is a smooshy, soft pillow of a guy, always sweet and gentle, never saying or doing hard things. So what happens when, in love, God has to bring discipline into our lives? Often there is confusion: sometimes denial. “God is love, and this really stinks, so it’s from the devil!” and off we go fighting the hard thing in our life, not realizing it’s actually God who, in love, knew we needed a course direction to keep us out of trouble! Fighting God never works, by the way…

I propose that instead of Sip and Swallow we try a little Hold and Swish with God. What if we were to take a Bible verse like “God is love” and hold onto it for a while. Think it through. Ask questions like, “What does love look like between people? Is it possible it looks like that with God?” or “Does a good parent give their child everything they want?” You could even ask Him questions directly, like “God, if you’re love, how come _________ (fill in the blank)?” As you dwell with Him, spend time with Him, swish around the ideas and scriptures you know about Him, you just might begin to have a fuller idea of who God is, and of what His love is really like. You’ll begin to see that He is many faceted, and not as two dimensional as you may have originally thought. You just might find that, like a fine wine, God has many complexities that make knowing Him well worth whatever price it takes…

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Filed under God Stuff, Random Ramblings, Weird Stuff I Know

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