Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Niceties of Tea

A Tea Field in Uganda
“Now, that is a fine cup of tea, Mother,” said Alfred,” what kind is it?”

“That is Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire Tea,” said Mother, “that they also make Yorkshire Red and Yorkshire Gold Tea.  Both are similar to this one, but this is their standard tea.  Even though it is not the most expensive, it is the one best suited for our water,”

“I couldn’t help noticing Mother, that you always pour your milk in the cup before the tea, whilst I always pour it in after the tea; that make you a pre-lactarian, and me a post-lactarian.”

“Oh, Alfred, said Mother, “it probably doesn’t make any difference.  Mildred McCauley pours the milk in before the tea because she doesn’t want the hot tea to crack the china cup.  Just between you and me, I think she had better buy better tea cups.  I commented to Mildred that she was obviously a pre-lactarian.  She looked at me indignantly and retorted, ‘I am not!  I’m Church of England!’”

“Oh Mildred,” said Alfred laughing, “What would she know about tea?  If you ask her what time it is she would probably answer, “Wednesday.’”

“That reminds me Alfred,” said Mother, “that Peter Goyle made an odd reference the other night at Bible study.  I thought he was talking about tea, but I think I might not have heard him correctly.’

“What did  he say, Mother?”

“Well, he made some remark about Calvinists arguing about Prelapsarian and Postlapsarian points of view.”

“I know, Mother, I know,” replied Alfred, “then he got off on Supralapsarianism and Infralapsarianism.  Peter can be quite tiresome at times.  I have no idea at all what he meant.  Horace Whittington can be quite witty.  He turned to Peter and remarked, ‘Peter, do your best to eschew obfuscation![i]’ then he changed the subject.  Good thing to!  I like Peter, but really!  He has a great deal of left over Presbyterianism in him.  But I did ask Horace later what Peter was referring to.

“Horace said, ‘Prelapsarian and Postlapsarian are obscure ways of referring to the Fall of humankind, which in that terminology is the ‘lapse.’  I noticed, Mother, that you have been reading C. S. Lewis’s book Perelandra.  That story is set in a world where the Fall hasn’t happened, that’s a Prelapsarian world, if you like.”

“Good grief, Alfred,” said Mother.  “Did Horace say anything about supra-whatever-on-earth-it-was that Peter was referring to?”

“Yes,” said Alfred, “He said don’t worry about it unless you’re planning on arguing with Calvinists.”

“Humphh!” said Mother, “Most people are too argumentative anyway.”

“That is simple proof,” said Alfred, “that the world we live in is Postlapsarian, after the Fall.”
“Well,” said Mother, “That’s all a little too complicated for me.  All I know is that it would be hard to argue with whether or not The Fall ever happened.  You know I dabbled in Christian Science, but it didn’t seem very scientific to me, after all, everywhere I look I see signs of sin, sickness, and self-centeredness.  It’s sort of like the Fall of Adam and Eve divided the world into pre-stupid and post-stupid.”

“Mother, I agree with you,” said Alfred, “Although I rather like the medieval idea that if Adam didn't eat the apple Mary would never have been our Heavenly Queen.”

“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin,…  so death spread to all men because all sinned … But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many” (Romans 5:12-15).  

[i] Eschew obfuscation = avoid confusing terms!

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