Okay. I know this is a food blog. But we need to talk.
First, let me top off your glass of Merlot. Say "when".
Good. Now, here's the deal.
I lost some followers after my most recent blog posts.
But I find it hard to believe it was because they were offended by my holiday tips. Heck, if it was my left-of-decorum sense of humor that offended them, I'm sure they would've turned heel many blog posts ago.
No. I think it was because in these last couple of posts I alluded to the sports phenomenon called "Tebowing", and cited an oh-so-whimsical quote about Grace from the often left-of-decorum novelist Frederich Buechner, and then there was that Christmas carol penned and sung by Bruce Cockburn with a little help from Lou Reed and Roseanne Cash.
In other words, I dragged God into my blog.
Some folks appreciated it. Some folks were silent. But it appears that some folks were pissed. Why? As one e-mail expressed it, by reflecting on a highly successful quarterback, and quoting a well-respected novelist's musings on Grace, and posting a yuletide tune, I wasn't being, well, very "tolerant".
You've seen the bumper stickers. The ones that proclaim "tolerance" with the stylized letters representing different religious beliefs. I was behind a car sporting one such bumper sticker in the parking lot of Target just this past weekend. But the driver must've used up all of her tolerance at the previous store, cuz when a white Kia Rio with two missing hubcaps scooted into the parking place that she was obviously coveting, she rolled down her window and yelled something that vaguely sounded like "You muffin shucker!"
So much for, um, tolerance.
You see, I don't like the words "tolerance" or even its cousin, "tolerate".
Why do I dislike these seemingly pacifying words? Because tolerance and tolerate seem to infer that you are "putting up with something that you'd rather not have to".
In other words, you don't like something, so, to be a good sport or citizen, you have to just take a deep breath, suck it up, roll your eyes, and tolerate it.
I have zero tolerance for "toleration". Or what I would call The Tolerance Principle.
Let me explain. I may like something or dislike something. If I do, I will let you know. And I may agree or disagree with you. But, again, I will let you know.
However, like or dislike, agree or disagree, if what you espouse is held in conviction, I can respect it. But you can bet your $3 bumper sticker I won't simply "tolerate" it.
The Tolerance Principle particularly raises it's ugly head during December when many folks shy away from expressing their deeply held beliefs lest they offend someone. So, whether it's a big wig corporation, the bubbly cashier at the local market, or the guy ensconced on the bar stool next to yours, many feel they have to resort to non-offending euphemisms like "Season's Greetings". (Of course, whenever I hear the words "Seasons Greetings" I immediately think of the salutation one would say to a particularly attractive jar of cumin or nutmeg).
But back to many people's penchant to not offend. Here's my take.
Ditch the euphemisms and wish me whatever is important to you. Christmas? Hannukah? Kwanzaa? Winter Solstice? Hey, I'll respect it. At least you hold onto a conviction.
For nearly a decade I lived in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood. Throughout the year, I was exposed to examples of that deeply-held tradition as my neighbors celebrated their festivals and faith.
But I tell you what, I sure as heck didn't role my eyes and "tolerate" those overt religious displays that were so different from my own. Nope. Instead, I respected them. In fact, my neighbor and good friend Neil's love for his sacred tradition inspired me to fully embrace my own.
So...if someone's faith inspires them to do well by their neighbor, I'm not gonna tolerate it. I'm gonna celebrate it.
Okay, there you have it.
And now I'm gonna say it. Again.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
Love it. Hate it. But for Christ's sake* please don't tolerate it.
Now...who's up for a little celebrating?
* (I don't mean to say this in a flippant way - He loved us too much to "tolerate" much of anything...)