Survey – the questions are all wrong.

My afternoon was interrupted by a survey call a week ago. I informed the guy that I’m on a “no call list” but he told me that my opinions matter, so I went through with it. In a way I wish I hadn’t. I learned that my opinions only matter if they fit in the boxes he had to tick off his survey.

He said that the survey would only take a few minutes. When it was over, half an hour was gone. Perhaps he was lying about it taking a short time just to get me to do it. Perhaps it took so long because the questions were all wrong.

The survey was about reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil. The choices were using more ethanol or fracking.

I of course am opposed to fracking, for numerous reasons. It poisons the water supply, it harvests yet another non-renewable resource (natural gas), and the product itself is dangerous and hard to transport. Natural gas isn’t the answer, and in order to use it for our cars we’d all have to buy new ones. You can’t get more wasteful than that. What would we do with all the old ones that won’t work anymore?

But I’m opposed to ethanol too. The more land we use to grow corn for ethanol is less land we use to grow food for people. Empty stomachs rate higher than empty gas tanks.

At one point he said as part of the survey that the corn used for ethanol wasn’t the same kind of corn used to feed people – and that it was also used to feed cattle. I had even more problems with that. Cows aren’t meant to eat corn. They develop E-coli in their guts when they eat that. It isn’t how they are designed. They are meant to eat grass. But then, that isn’t even the point. Again, there is a distraction there. The more meat we eat, the more unhealthy we are. Skip the whole issue about feeding corn to cows. Skip the cows entirely.

See my frustration? No matter what he said, it was wrong.

So, what about ethanol? It isn’t oil. We would reduce our “dependence on foreign oil” and “become more independent” as he said. Ethanol isn’t an efficient fuel. For many older model cars, just using it voids the warranty. It is a cheap filler.

So from my perspective, he was asking the wrong questions. Really, if we want to become less dependent on foreign countries by our need for oil, we need to stop using up so much energy.

My husband takes the train or the bus to work. Mass transit is more efficient. It is better to use one vehicle to take forty people to work than forty vehicles. When the weather is nice he takes his bike. As for me, I bought the house close to work. It is a short drive. Not only am I saving fuel, but time.

Both of us fill up our gas tanks only once a month. It isn’t everything. Everything would be not using gasoline at all. Because of how American neighborhoods are laid out, that is nearly impossible. The grocery store is too far away to bike to and get everything. We drive as little as possible, being mindful of combining errands and catching rides with friends if we are going to the same events.

It is something, and something counts. We are reducing our use.

Better than that, we as a culture need to start using renewable resources. Solar. Wind. Water. Oil and natural gas will be used up. Probably not in our lifetime, but does that matter? We need to think about future generations. What are we leaving our children, and their children? An empty husk of a planet? We had the party and left them the mess to clean up.

The guy administering the survey was just reading off the script. I had a hard time with them because they weren’t the right questions. If the choice is get more oil or go for more ethanol or go with fracking, it is still wrong. I argued with the questions in my frustration. There simply wasn’t a way to answer the questions the way he was asking them. I could tell he was trying to shoehorn me. I kept questioning. I kept getting frustrated.

I doubt I woke him up. I doubt he was even listening to what I was saying, because I wasn’t really answering his questions. The call “was being monitored for quality assurance purposes”, but even then I doubt I was able to wake the monitor up and make him think. I’m pretty sure they think I’m another quack who just doesn’t understand the questions. The problem is that I understand them too well.

I’m pretty sure my answers are being tabulated and calibrated and measured and made to fit whatever theory they had before they even started calling people. Surveys don’t prove anything. If you know what you are doing, they can mean anything you want them to.

I wish I’d not even talked to him. I feel like I wasted my time. I feel like my personal space was invaded for half an hour. To let someone talk mindlessly at you on the phone is just as invasive as letting them in your house. It is all space.

Baking with Jesus

When I bake banana bread, I think of Jesus. I remember him saying this in Luke 6:37-38 –

37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over—will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” (HCSB)

Only somebody who has measured out flour would talk like this. Jesus baked bread with his Mom. I think how amazing it must have been for Mary to include her son in the kitchen to help her with the cooking.

Children aren’t much help in the kitchen. They make a big mess. Kitchens are dangerous places. Hot surfaces, sharp knives, raw ingredients that shouldn’t be eaten – kitchens aren’t places for children.

And yet kitchens are great places for them. Kitchens are where they learn about the alchemy that is cooking. Kitchens are where they learn about measuring and proportions and following the order that is a recipe. Cooking teaches more than just being able to feed yourself.

Cooking teaches independence. I’m amazed at how strong I feel now that I can cook. I don’t have to rely on someone else to take care of me. I don’t have to wonder what went into my meal. When I cook, I cook from scratch.

For Jesus to know about measuring flour means that his Mom included him. For Jesus to talk about measuring flour means to me that he fully intended his message for everybody. It isn’t for the elite. It isn’t just for men. It is for the average, everyday person, just making do and just getting by.

He includes us all.

I know plenty of women who refuse to listen to the words of Jesus because they think his words aren’t for women. They’ve gone to churches and heard from the pulpit words that say that women should be silent and they have no business with the church other than cleaning it up and cooking for potlucks. They’ve heard that they are worthless and that they are sinful and it is because of the sin of Eve that we are all cursed.

And none of this is from Jesus.

Jesus loved women and loved his Mom especially. Jesus’ message of love and acceptance and forgiveness and grace is for women and men and young and old and rich and poor. Jesus’ message is for everybody. Jesus says you are good enough, smart enough, and gosh darn it, God loves you.

If someone says otherwise they aren’t speaking for Jesus, because they don’t know Jesus. If they did, they’d know better. If they read the Word for themselves instead of having it spoon fed to them, they’d see through all the lies they have been told.