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Chris Carpenter
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A Grande Plan

By Chris Carpenter Program Director - I refuse to say the word “grande” in any commercialized sense of the word.  I have no problem using it to reference a place like the Rio Grande, a person as in grande dame, or to discuss a French institution of higher learning – grande ecole. But I will not subject myself to ordering an overpriced, medium cup of coffee using this five letter term that makes me feel like I just uttered a four letter word.

Call me stubborn, call me brash, but I don’t see the need or the benefit to change common words for the sake of making people feel more diverse or culturally inclusive.

I have always been the type to make quirky declarations about something I perceive to be an injustice.  Once, during my college years, I decided that someone needed to protest the poor food quality of our campus cafeteria.  I vowed I would eat nothing but salad at every meal for the duration of my remaining college days.  I lost 24 pounds in the first 30 days but found myself longing for something more substantial – a cheeseburger, potato chips, a burrito the size of a baseball mitt.  I fought off the urge for several more days but soon found solace in secret late night Chinese food runs with my roommate.

“What happens in Cathay Pacific stays in Cathay Pacific,” I implored to him. 

He would do anything I asked because I was funding the deception for both of us (he was an athlete on a strict diet).  He wanted nothing more than to let the good times keep ‘egg’ rolling along.  Soon, I was 18 pounds heavier and my roommate got benched when his coach found out he was violating his training regimen.  All for a few extra helpings of the kung pao chicken.

I have another friend who says one thing but always does another.  While he is well intentioned, he just doesn’t seem to possess the intestinal fortitude to follow through on anything.  I’m sure you have friends like this too.  The check is always in the mail, a phone call is always forgotten, or whatever help he/she provides you with is less than half of what was expected.

One time I asked him about his shortcomings – why did he always over promise but under deliver?  His answer was priceless.  He said that it was better to be well intentioned than nothing at all.

Kind of like me.   

I know that at some point I am going to slip and say the word “grande”.  Before I know it I will say it a second time when ordering.  Soon, it will become as ordinary as saying medium.  It is then that I will realize I have lost my valiant battle against corporate marketing practices of the jolly green coffee giant.

Sin is a lot like that.  You believe you can be perfect, or almost, if you try hard enough.  Nothing can slip through on you!  Perhaps you have a problem with something you know is wrong in God’s eyes.  You resolve that this behavior is going to stop right now and there will be no further forays into these sinful thoughts and desires.  But soon you find yourself saying, “just this once”.  Before you know it, once becomes twice becomes so many times you lost count.  You feel hopeless, like there is nothing that can change you, divine or otherwise.  So, you keep plodding along, making promises to yourself that you know you can’t keep.  Unfortunately, when this type of attitude triumphs over you, the bottom of the barrel is usually within sight.

In I John 1:8-10, John the apostle writes, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

Sin is a reality for both Christian and non-Christian.  We have a broken relationship with God until we confess our own sin.  We can never be good enough to meet God’s standards – even our best intentions and most valiant efforts miss the mark of God’s perfection.  But God, in His goodness, provides a way of cleansing for our sins so we can have fellowship with Him.  Best of all, we can walk in the light of God’s truth and perfection.*

What a grande plan!

Tell me what you think

* Portions contained within this article from the Transformer Study Bible.

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