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The Carbon Cook

When I was a teenager, my father would ride my case for trying to cook and watch TV at the same time. “You can’t cook and watch the boob tube at the same time,” he’d warn with emphatic flair and color in his choice of vocabulary. Sage advice, indeed! I still occasionally stray from my father’s philosophy on the culinary arts, only now I do it to answer the siren call of the computer (i.e. I get distracted by Mahjong as the bacon crackles in the skillet). Such is the strength of my convictions. Nevertheless, my clever efforts in the kitchen assure our family of a good night’s sleep knowing that the smoke detectors work quite well.

Forty years later I can still hear my father’s voice. I know what words he would use to guide me in almost any given situation. I know his carefully selected intonations. “Use your noggin, knothead!” was his go-to tool that frequently inspired me to immediately stop whatever I was doing and use common sense before suffering some eminent, and completely unanticipated, injury. I knew he could be gruff and direct at times, but his heart was always tender with me.

Too often I think about old sins. It’s frustrating how sins from the past can torment us in the present. While mulling over those old sins I catch myself thinking on some deep level that God can’t or won’t forgive me, that somehow my sins are more egregious than the rest of humanity’s transgressions. I don’t feel good enough. That’s when I sense God say, “Don’t insult me, knothead! I sent my son to permanently separate you from your sins.” Well, maybe God wouldn’t say “knothead,” or maybe in my case it’s a foregone conclusion. But you get the gist of what God might say in response to our thoughts of self-loathing and feeling unforgiven—“Really? You are still letting Satan shame you after all I’ve done for you?”

1 John 2:2 says, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

And Psalms 103: 12 says, “. . . as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”

Just like nothing can separate us from the love of God, nothing can reunite us with our sins.