Friday, January 25, 2008

Cafe con Leche

Whenever we wake up early enough, or I can convince Valerie to go to work late, we go by the Latin Cafe to get Cafe con Leche in the morning. It gets me pumped. I'm pretty sure its the caffeine that gets me so pumped about the day...but either way it makes me feel like I'm about to be elected president or something.

This morning the Cafe con Leche has led me to an idea.
People want proof. I'm not sure why we want proof the way we do, but I think it has something to do with conflict and trust. Our need for proof develops because from a young age we run into conflict with people that are not always good. Our brothers and sisters may lie, our parents are not always consistent with their commitments, attitudes, or morals. So as children we realize we are by ourselves. We are on our own for survival, so before we can accept something, we need proof.

In a less social way, we want proof because the world is complex. Our "experiments" do not always yield the same results. This is why scientists use statistics...they help "corroborate" our conclusions.

So, my big idea this morning after having my Cafe con Leche, was that our need for proof has led us very well in most cases. It has not only helped the individual survive and develop, but it has helped shape our societies. Social structures have developed because of a balance between trust and scrutiny...that is why we have contracts. I would venture to say that every agreement or compromise comes with some sort of contract, whether it is legal, understood, or even developed and held in our own mind. This phenomenon is reenforced every time these "contracts" are broken and every time they are upheld.

I think this idea, that every transaction we have in our professional or personal life is bounded by legal, social, or personal contracts, means that our lives are shaped by subtle conflict. We are always wondering whether we can trust our colleagues, friends, family, spouses, or even our own ideas and theories.

While I believe that this system has helped us to not only survive, but develop as a culture, it has the possibility to fail us.

I think God is outside this system of conflict. If what the bible says is true, then he knows us better than we know ourselves. I don't think he is eager to offer us the type of proof we require from the rest of the world. What I mean is, I don't think he is going to climb inside our box, because the boundaries of it are our conflict and our contracts. I don't think God makes contracts. I think he wants us to trust him without making a contract. If he knows us each as well as the bible says he does, he shouldn't require a contract. He knows what he's getting into with us. This is why Christians are so focused on the Crucifixion of Jesus. God knew from the beginning we would break any contract he made with us, so rather than jumping into that system, he destroyed it with Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross.

If he is really always trustworthy, we don't need to make contracts with him. I think I like Cafe con Leche so much because it gets me pumped up to take a risk with God, and trust that he's good.