This summer I went through the book, “Feminine Appeal” by Carolyn Mahaney with the women’s group at my church. It basically goes through Titus 2:4-5. I read it a few years back, I think when i was pregnant with Grace, and I LOVED it then. So I was excited to go through it with other women. I think i read it the first time in 2 days (staying up almost all night to finish it….i think i was at the end of the pregnancy where you can’t sleep). This time? I’ll be honest. I didn’t enjoy it as much this time. I put off the reading until last minute & then skimmed through quick so it would hurt less. I think the last time I read it I was either blissfully ignorant of the depth of my sinfulness, or I had just not yet reached a stage in life where I was having to put the principles in the book to work. Most likely both. More heavy on the latter, since most of my ‘problems’ were the chapters relating to our children. Anyhow, it wasn’t that I disliked the book, I just disliked the mirror the book held up. So it was a good thing, I’m just a booger so it was a tough read this time around. Anyway. What does this book have to do with jam? Nothing.
One of the things I really enjoyed/appreciated during our bi-monthly discussion group was how Cheryl & Betsy were careful to remind us time & again the concept of, “Principle vs. Method”. Principle being the overall idea or concept or uh…biblical PRINCIPLE being taught and method being ways that principle can be applied. Often we get this mixed up. For example, let’s take the ‘principle’ of saving money on groceries. Sally might clip coupons and shop at 4 different stores to save money. She does a great job of it and enjoys it and tells her friends about it. Her friends hear that and think, “If I’m going to save money, I need to clip coupons and shop in various stores”. There are other ways to save money on groceries, but many of Sally’s friends might accidentally come to the conclusion the CORRECT way is hers. That was a lame example but I’m too tired to come up with a better one. Anyhow, with all things but especially things regarding child-rearing and living out our faith and being good stewards of the things God has blessed us with, it is VERY easy to slip into the ‘principle/method’ mix-up. It’s always a good thing to be reminded that the way Sally loves her husband or cares for her children and home is going to look different from the way I do. Just because Sally didn’t make her own jam this year, doesn’t mean she’s not being a good steward. ..no, that’s not where jam comes in either.
The last week discussing this book Cheryl took some time to ask whether or not we felt method was being placed above principle during the course of discussing the book. She used an example about tattoos and we got a tiny bit sidetracked about how one person could be getting a tattoo out of rebellion, while another could be doing it as an expression of love or something equally honorable. That much like wearing makeup is no longer reserved for prostitutes, tattoos don’t relegate you to delinquent status anymore. Suddenly it hit me. Jam. Can making jam be a sin?
I made a bunch of raspberry and blueberry jam from berries we picked this summer. In fact, I’m fairly confident we have more than enough canned to float us through till next year. This was my first time ever making jam & my first time ever canning. When I realized it was working and we did in fact have jam that could sit in the pantry until ready to use, I did not feel warm and homey like a frontier woman or something. Nope. I felt like a subversive punk rock D.I.Y rebel. Down with ‘big AG’. I don’t need your sugar/fructose/corn syrup laden preserves or overpriced ‘all-fruit’. I’m opting out. I’m making my own. I live in the suburbs in 2009. I do not NEED to make jam. This was a political protest. Yep. You never know what a person’s motives are. I guess that’s why God says, “It is mine to avenge, I will repay…” (Deut. 32:35 NIV). Left up to us…well…One would probably assume I’m just being holly homemaker with my hot water bath canner boiling away.
**I’d like to clarify that i’m being facetious, and I do not think my jam rebellion sinful, as I’m not rebelling against God. Though sure, there’s probably some pride mixed in there that would qualify.