Sunday, May 20, 2007

Farmer's Market Saturday

I was going to write about my trip to the Dane County Farmer's Market yesterday, but my pictures wouldn't upload until today. Here I am on Saturday morning, approaching the Capitol from King Street. This hill is a wonker to pedal up on a one-speed, but I'm getting used to it again.

The Dane County Farmer's Market is the biggest such market in the country. Vendors line the sidewalks on all four side of the Capitol. All the vendors have raised or made the food or flowers their selling themselves. There are no crafts for sale and all the produce is local. It is absolutely amazing and makes all the "farmer's markets" where folks are selling produce from halfway around the world look pretty pathetic.

And here I am at my favorite pit stop on the Square, Cress Spring Bakery. Cress Spring makes real sourdough from naturally occurring yeasts already present in the flour and air -- no baker's yeast added. It is excellent stuff. My usual practice is to buy a four-pound loaf of mixed grain bread called "Big Country" to last me through the week (you can see Big Country loaves in the display case in the foreground), plus a chocolate brioche and a chocolate chip scone (two if I'm going on a long bike ride) for breakfast/mid-morning snack. But this week, I bought a 1.5-lb Expedition loaf and 1.5-lb caraway rye. I'm living on the edge lately.

Ralph Ovadal is a local preacher who likes to go to the nude beach in Mazomanie, a bit west of Madison, to tell the sunbathers that they are going to burn in hell. His followers were at the Square on Saturday morning, passing out this brochure written by Mr. Ovadal himself. I read the brochure and, frankly, it didn't make any sense. All about how human beings think they can control whether or not they get into heaven, but they can't control it at all, because the Heavenly Judge controls everything, but if you pray to the Heavenly Judge to let you into heaven through the Blood of Jesus Christ, then you can go to heaven. And I thought, "Um, Mr. Ovadal, aren't you saying that humans can, after all, determine their post-mortem fate by either choosing or not choosing to say the prescribed prayer? And doesn't that contradict everything you previously stated?"

I used to get really pissed off about this kind of sloppy theology, but now I just shrug my shoulders and think, "Poor fools." I used to get wound up in how people like Ovadal were misleading their followers and separating them from true fellowship with God, but now I think, "Oh, well, these followers obviously long for another person to tell them exactly how to live their lives, and they're going to find it no matter how much I fume." And I used to think a lot about how legalism was just another form of idolatry. But now I proclaim it.

I was thinking maybe I should print up little tracts that say, "Jesus Wants You to Have Non-Procreational Sex," and hand them out at the next Farmer's Market. Of course, I don't believe that it would be true for everyone who received a tract. But it would be no less a lie than the hocus-pocus, mumble-a-few-words-and-follow-a-cultic-Christian-leader-and-go-to-heaven crap that is more frequently distributed on the Farmer's Market's hallowed grounds. And it would occasionally be the truth, which is a lot more than I can say for the brochure I received from Ovadal's followers Saturday morn.

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