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  • Writer's pictureJonathan.Crabtree

The PhD, Pub, ‘Preach’

Cooking is science. By combining ingredients with specific instructions, one can formulate a hypothesis as to the final form of the food. Diligent observations during the experimentation and testing of the idea will yield future results. In the last few years, I have hypothesised, experimented, and drawn many conclusions about some of my favourite dishes. In the previousyear, I have expanded my cooking repertoire and recipes, and the unlikely combination of some ingredients amazes me. For instance, here in the U.K., baked beans (in a tomato sauce) taste delicious on a piece of toast and melted cheese on top. Beans and toast? Also, baked beans are a breakfast item; surprisingly, it is delicious. Some ingredients I have not considered a possiblematch, like beans on toast, disprove my theoretical hypothesis.


Apart from cooking, there are other ‘ingredients’ that seem unlikely to work together, but somehow they do. By ‘ingredients’, I mean tangible abstractions. These ingredients are concrete in that I can employ my senses to detect their presence, much like smelling, tasting, touching, or seeing food. These ingredients are abstractions because, to some degree, their genesis lies in the mental faculty of thought processes. These ‘ingredients’ exist as my heart’s desires, to quote Psalm 37, and the combining of these ingredients will yield something deeper within our souls in due time.


What are those ingredients for you? What engages your heart, soul, and mind?


For me, it’s the research for my PhD, my weekly interactions as a barman at the pub, and the increasing preaching opportunities in our local church. These ingredients seem to work best in their own right, but together, they suggest an unusual (perhaps unexpected) result. What is that result? I honestly have no clue, but Jesus does. Somehow beans on toast are an exceptional delicacy, two unlikely ingredients marrying to formulate a new cuisine. Perhaps the question isn’t, ‘Why does it taste so good?’ and maybe it’s, ‘How does it taste so good?’ Answering, ‘why’ is sometimes the philosophical entrapment of science, while asking ‘how’ can determine concrete answers, such as asking how a bridge works or something similar. The answer to the ‘why’ comes in time, as the mind is engaged with the question of ‘how.’


That’s where I am, yet I’m asking both ‘how’ and ‘why.’ For the life of me, I cannot produce a result other than the words from Psalm 37: ‘Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.’ Somehow these ingredients co-exist in their purest forms; they are mixed in together like a cake batter, yet the taste/smell/feel/touch/sight of each ingredient separately are distinguishable. If cooking is science, the experimentation of a hypothesis, then life embodies a similar principle. History proves this in many ways: the key ingredient is time (patience). With cooking, patience is a virtue which will undoubtedly produce something. With life, patience is necessary to discover the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of the fundamental abstractions we often wonder about.


As a follower of Jesus, patience is necessary in growing one’s faith in Christ. For with patience, comes trusting that Jesus who provided, is the same Jesus who provides, and the same Jesus who will provide the desires of our hearts, as we delight ourselves wholly on and in Him. So, what are your ingredients that need a little bit of patience?

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