Add nicotine to hops.

One of the striking features of OPC and PCA General Assemblies — in this era when the fundamentalists did win the smoking wars — is the number of presbyters who light up all manner of tobacco products and seem to know that fellowship increases with the amount of second-hand smoke. 

That is a reason why I will take the Young Restless as more seriously Calvinistic (pardon the adverb) when they add nicotine to hops.

– Dr. D.G. Hart; Another Way to Tell the Difference between the Young Restless and Old Reformed

My belief that there is a beer in the fridge

Dr. Alvin Plantinga was recently interviewed in the New York Times, and I included my favorite section below:

I’m interested in the fact that beliefs cause (or at least partly cause) actions. For example, my belief that there is a beer in the fridge (together with my desire to have a beer) can cause me to heave myself out of my comfortable armchair and lumber over to the fridge. 

But here’s the important point: It’s by virtue of its material, neurophysiological properties that a belief causes the action. It’s in virtue of those electrical signals sent via efferent nerves to the relevant muscles, that the belief about the beer in the fridge causes me to go to the fridge. It is not by virtue of the content (there is a beer in the fridge) the belief has.

– Dr. Alvin Plantinga; Is Atheism Irrational? 

Trueman (briefly) on Luther

In the struggles of early 1522, Luther preached a famous sermon on March 10 which contains one of my favourite quotations, revealing the secret of Luther’s Reformation success:

In short, I will preach it [the Word], teach it, write it, but I will constrain no man by force, for faith must come freely without compulsion. Take myself as an example. I opposed indulgences and all the papists, but never with force. I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philip and Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing; the Word did everything. 

There you have it: the success of the Reformation depended upon the sheer power of God’s Word.  And, of course, on the quality of Wittenberg beer.   Not sure how much ground for optimism that gives for the ongoing reformation among the Southern Baptists — perhaps sweet tea has a similar effect — but I hope it is of encouragement to more than just the Lutherans out there.

– Dr. Carl Trueman, Reformation 21, “To be tired of Luther…”

How bad is big?

With Thanksgiving, then Black Friday, and then the ever-creepy sounding “Cyber Monday” approaching, I was pleasantly surprised by the emergence of Small Business Saturday.  According to the anti-corporate prophets, this is the day when the nation of consumerists repents of their soulless, transnational purchasing ways and supports the true believers — local and small.

It should be noted that I love small businesses.  I would genuinely like to support them more than I do.  Especially the beer ones.  I plan on finding a way to buy beer from a small, independent business that day.

My gluten-filled problem isn’t with the business itself, but with the idea that with greater size comes only evil.

The video above, which I hope you will take the time to watch, is about one of my favorite BIG businesses, Guinness.  The beer one.  The one that makes a delicious creamy stout that somehow has less calories than a pint of Miller Lite.  If that isn’t a blessing from above, I don’t know what is.

Guinness is a company that started small, but has since grown into a worldwide brand.  They started with a simple vision, to make a drink that was more nutritious and less intoxicating than gin in order to combat the widespread drunkenness in Ireland at the time.  Few could have imagined what only a few short centuries would bring.  Watch the above video to get a more in-depth story, or there are some great historical accounts through the Guinness website.

So now we come to the main question: How bad is big?  To go a bit further, how big do you get before you stop being a small business?  Lastly, why do size and ethics have to be seen as mutually exclusive?

What makes a business bad is not necessarily their size, but how their worldview shapes their practice.  A large beer company may have a product abused by its consumers for evil intent, and the company would not be overstepping its bounds to condemn such abuses.  Planned Parenthood does not have that luxury.

Support small businesses if you can, but don’t feel guilty if you later find yourself reaching for a multi-national pint of Guinness at the expense of a beer a hipster hasn’t even thought of brewing yet.  Cheers.