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Mashed potatoes, gravy and responsibility
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Rev. John Bressler

For those of you who enjoy old movies, allow me to remember an old 1973 film, "Sleeper," with Woody Allen and his then very popular gang. Allen was awakened from a 200-year cryogenic sleep with good news and bad news. The good news was he no longer owed any credit card debt. The bad news was that he was out of a job and in a completely new environment where he didn't belong and that was very strange. He had to be taught how to live in his new world.

During the rehabilitation phase, he was fed all the fat foods available and told to smoke cigars because back in the old days the doctors were all wrong and truly healthy food was a diet of meat and potatoes, deep fried in lard, butter, cream sauces, gravy by the boatload and topped off with dishes of Rocky Road or triple chocolate cake.

I don't know about you, but I can't wait for the day when the AMA declares that yogurt, tofu, okra and veggie burgers are the no-no list. I don't believe I would start smoking, but a cheek full of some mild chew or a tad of snuff might just fit the bill.

I can almost imagine Julie leaving a grocery list. "Doofus, I am having some of the ladies over for lunch, so would you be sure to pick up some fatback for the beans, a couple dozen eggs, four pounds of bacon — be sure it's not that lean stuff — a tub of 'I'm Glad It's Butter' and two cartons of unfiltered smokes."

I remember a recent TV interview that a doctor crossed his heart and hoped to die and said that real caffeinated coffee in large quantities counteracts the bad stuff in alcohol. "Four cups of the hard stuff each day can cancel out liver and heart problems associated with drinking!"

The stock in Starbucks must have risen 50 percent overnight!

Our good friend Paul wrote that wine is good for one's health, but I also believe that he meant wine in moderation. It should be the middle-priced wine and better than the stuff our neighbors like to stomp out in their backyards. Who knows where their toes have been?

I suppose that by now everyone truly understands what is bad for us insofar as health is concerned. A quick look in the mirror lets me know that where I used to pinch an inch, I can now grab a slab.

But are we as aware of that which can destroy us?

In Paul's letter to the Romans, he gives us a considerable amount of writing to those who seemed to think that God's grace is so limitless that the more one sinned, then the more grace was available. Their logic was, "Since I was a miserable sinner and God still forgave all those sins, now that I am a forgiven sinner, I can sin away since God will continue to forgive and forget."

While the thought process is pretty admirable, I get very uneasy about being a tad too cavalier with God's grace.

While God is omnipotent in all of life, that does not allow me the liberty of turning my back on the reality of responsibility and accountability, which is ultimately mine.

I suppose the medical profession will always argue about the latest cure and that misunderstood diagnoses will change when new research and new discoveries are approved and accepted.

However, I do stand fast with the teachings of the Bible, which do not waver when it comes to the wages of sin and the grace of God.

I still miss mashed potatoes and thick gravy.

Thanks, God!

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