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Friday, April 18, 2008

Serendipity & Wine

Talk to any wine buff and a point sure to pop up will be the supreme joy of purchasing a bottle of some relatively cheap plonk, made by some unfamiliar vintner, setting it down in your cellar, and after a few years uncorking it to discover that it has been transformed into a well tasty, underpriced gem (as an aside, note no miracle here!). This is what I’m hoping for with one of my latest acquisitions, the label of which is eponymously named Johnny Q.

This 2006 Shiraz from Tharbogang NSW (no idea!) also has another drawcard: its rather entertaining blurb on its rear label. Let me quote from it.

‘In the beginning, there was the wine creator…a sumptuous Shiraz created with your enjoyment in mind. For 6 days and 6 nights the fruit was harvested, crushed and left macerating on skins to develop a long lasting deep colour, intense bouquet and delicious taste. On the 7th day Johnny Q rested.’

Now, I’ve been known to drink a fair bit of this stuff, and I even once tried to ingratiate myself with the housekeeper at Chateau Petrus in Bordeaux in order to obtain a grape-picking job at vintage, but I really know very little about wine production. And so I’m quite happy to accept Mr Q’s oenological account as history, its platitudinous and self-praising aspects notwithstanding.

From the language used - the tight but sufficiently informative details of the passage, as well as its commonsense and everyday usage - it seems entirely the case that Johnny isn’t lying or expecting the reader to access some extra-textual code obtained from some sort of sacerdotal “expert” that unlocks the occult meaning and event sequence of Johnny’s wine-making “week”. It just seems to be, well, saying what it means and meaning what it is saying.

And you know what? I can’t imagine Peter Jensen, Rob Forsyth, Gordon Cheng or any other of the Sydney Anglican Heretics, for one moment, questioning the veracity of Johnny Q’s little history. Yet – and here it comes, guys – while they would whole-heartedly believe this guy, they obstinately deny God’s historical blurb on the first page of the Bible. Think about it: They would take at face-value the word of, in all likelihood, an alcoholic, yet torture and eviscerate the very words of God’s Spirit. Talk about the overturning of commonsense!

I think I need a drink!

7 comments:

Warwick said...

John the wine sounds tasty. I will see if I can buy some.

Shiraz is my second favourite after Durif and it's always interesting to find a new innexpensive one. I wonder where Tharbogang is?

I think Johnny Q must be a Biblical vintner what with working six days and six nights and then resting the seventh.

A horrible thought has just occurred to me! What if the SAD T/E crowd are right and the 7th day hasn't ended? If so JQ is still resting so there won't be any 2007-8-9 etc. So I had better search hard for some 2006.

Critias said...

I like the connection you make between miracle and time. It reminds me a little of an old engineering saw: anyone could build a dam, but it takes an engineer to build the right dam economically and practically. So, anyone could make wine, given enough time (more or less), its no surprise if a storm dies down after a few days. The big surprise, the only surprise in the work of God is speed, I think!
One of the things that God created was (IMO) time: the separation of things on that dimension of duration; so the great feature of miracles is doing what we cannot: skirt around time (except rising from the dead, or making life at all: no amount of time would help here).
So that's the essence of the miraculous, perhaps: done in no time; for which one needs wisdom (akin to the engineer's training) as well as capability (power).
Thus, I guess, the great drama of the creation: it happened in a very brief period but not only that, it really happened and sets the scene in every way for our encounter with God.

Eric said...

There is, I think, a bit more to this question to explore.

I think the speediness as a character of miracles goes to agency. God speaks, its done, God's agency is credible and likely.

On the other hand, if God speaks, then millions of years later, its done; or according to evolution, still being done; then the question of agency is an open one. God speaks, then nothing clearly and demonstrably happens that is connected with his having spoken. There seems to be little point in the information of his having spoken.
I suppose a Barthian response is to fall back to an ahistorical faith: a faith not of God acting with events from his hand congruent with our existential position, but of just ... faith! This sort of faith attracts no one.
What it does to saddle God with indeterminate agency is that the door is closed to confront materialism with its shortcomings, and expose its puffery to examination. Sadly, the intellectual resources of the SAD seem devoted to encouraging materialists in their excape from God, but not opening the door to the God who acts comprehensively in space-time (in material-space-time, more accurately). SADs let them think that the universe could have made itself, and, if it did, it looks exaclty the same as God having spoken; but not different.
But there is nothing in the universe that does point to self-making. That's the sad part of the SAD program.

Warwick said...

There are times when I think comments made here (including some of mine) are a little harsh. Then I remember I was brought up Anglican, and after my adult salvation attended a wonderful faith-filled Anglican church. We used to meet outside of services where we sang hymns and prayed, and discussed our living faith.

The liturgy became alive for me.

When I relocated I ended up at a different denomination but retained a deep and lasting admiration for the Anglican style of worship and faith.

I then spent 13 years with Answers in Genesis, speaking at hundreds of churches here and OS. I spoke in numerous Anglican churches some of which were led by committed Bible-believing man who took God at His Word. But I met others who had compromized their faith alloying God's Word with the opinions of men. I was reminded of -let your yes be yes and your no be no- tell it like it is, call a spade a spade or whatever. But these men were double-minded because they did not trust the foundational book of Genesis.

I remember one church where I made a lengthy case for 6-24hr creation days giving all the references which have been given over and over here. When I was finished the minister got up and said the congregation did not have to believe in 24hr days because Scripture says- in the day the Lord returns-therefore day only means a time-period of unknown length not 24 hrs. He had not listened to my case, nor was he able to contradict it, preferring to hold onto his traditions of men/Bible alloy which, from his demeanour, gave him no rock like confidence. How could it? If God got Genesis so wrong what else is wrong? Maybe the liberals are right?

This cancer which has now widely spread throughout the SAD is not something to be ignored but a disease to be fought against. It is a rot which undermines the living faith of people causing many to walk away from the church.

Why be a Christian, with all its difficulties and constraints if it is not the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Why indeed?

I met a man at a church in Sydney's north-west who was becoming confused about creation/evolution. The minister ducked the issue-a side issue he said. So this man walked away planning never to return. He later saw a pamphlet which said that Dr Wieland from the then Answers in Genesis was coming to a local church. He attended and received answers to all his questions which brought him back to church with his doubts gone and his faith enlivened.

Conversely I have had theistic evolutionists tell me of people who have lost their faith because of the 6-day creation message. I asked for their names, that I might speak with them, but they were nameless. Not one of these mockers was able to come up with a real person. It was all hype.

So let us not be deterred but continue to tell the truth.

neil moore said...

Bravo, Warwick.

Neil Moore

Ktisophilos said...

Warwick: "Conversely I have had theistic evolutionists tell me of people who have lost their faith because of the 6-day creation message."

I've heard that too. But if theistic evolution were so great, then why haven't they managed to restore this lost faith? Conversely, there are many people who lost faith because they can see through the weaselly compromisers, but their faith was restored through uncompromising biblical creation. CMI has a number of examples on their site, and their accounts are well worth reading:

Sonia
‘Joel Galvin’: Faith shipwrecked by compromising ‘Christian’ colleges; restored by creation ministry
Lita Cosner

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