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My son and daughter-in-law gave me an Instant Pot for my birthday and Mother’s Day presents rolled into one. It’s an imposing thing, reminding me somewhat of the round bread maker I had years ago that looked a bit like C3PO. Only, this is a different color with no clear dome on top. 

I will often give mechanical and electrical things names. For example, my computer is TheaJane, while the printer is Mabel (named after a dear aunt who could talk the ears off a doorknob, every word worth hearing). When a machine misbehaves or breaks down, I will call it something else, a word I will not use here because it might offend a friend in our EFM class who happens to have a donkey. 

Anyway, this new widget is too new to have earned a name yet, though I’m tending toward Darth since it scares the bejabbers out of me. 

I’ve used electric frying pans, microwave ovens, electric grills, toaster ovens, panini grills, electric can openers, crock pots (slow cookers), and a few others, but Darth is in a class by himself. Darth cooks, sears, steams, makes yogurt, stews, and does stuff I can’t even remember. However, it does act as a pressure cooker, and therein lies my fear factor. 

I have never used a pressure cooker, although Mama used one occasionally. Unfortunately, she died before she could teach me, and I do not know whether to be grateful for that or not. Thankfully, my son has embraced the technology wholeheartedly and has used his own Darth for several years, now. I feel lousy for asking my son how to use it, but he has become a kind of evangelist his Instant Pot almost daily. I’m feeling a bit of pressure to take the step – after I read the book I bought to tell me how to use the thing without blowing up the house.

I was actually only joking about my son being an evangelist for this kind of cooking. He doesn’t get enthusiastic about culinary things very often. But, since he does most of the cooking in his house, I tend to listen to what he has to say. Of course, I’ve experienced many evangelists in my life, so I tend to pick and choose who I am willing to listen to, not to mention the subject they are preaching about – whether appliance, philosophy, political stance, financial, diet, or religion. 

The word “evangelize” causes me to react about much as the word “pressure cooker”. I understand what it means, and how it works, and that it can be a very beneficial thing. 

Jesus didn’t know about pressure cookers, but he did know about evangelism. It was his stock in trade, so to speak. He was earnest and honest, interesting to listen to, and interested in listening to others. He had a message to sell, but he didn’t use the tactics we see these days. He might be scornful of someone who rejected his message, but he would turn to others more receptive. He used persuasion more than coercion. Of course, he died because of pressure, a fear that he was a threat to not only the empire but the Temple, its structure as well as its hierarchy. 

We’ve had our share of pressurized politics. Unfortunately, none of it seems to go away. Pressure is the mechanism to convince followers and skeptics that red is green and the loser is really the winner. The current government will take everyone’s guns away and, by the way, their hamburgers and beefsteaks, and any number of dire consequences.  I hear that social justice is socialism in very thin disguise, and the more that is given to the poor, the less the rich will get, and that isn’t the way God wants it. Is any of this the message that Jesus offered?  

Something that has been running through my brain with all the thoughts about pressure is that nothing changes without some form of pressure. So when is it good, and when is it destructive? It may be suitable for making a fantastic boeuf bourguignon, but how much does a concept, ideal, or even a necessity need to make a beneficial and change to a mode of thinking in line with the teachings of Jesus?

Sooner or later, I will get the hang of this new (to me) way of cooking, but will I ever be able to see what is right and good through what amounts to what I could see while trying to look through the pressurized water coming through a fire hose right in front of me? Yes, I know that prayer, Bible reading, listening to wise preachers and theologians, and simple faith answer the question. But, unfortunately, for years, I followed the wrong ones. It was pressure to understand the Bible one way and quote specific verses in a literal manner to prove that this particular thing was sinful. Yet, other verses approved of something else that is now almost universally condemned at the same time. 

Some of the things that changed my perspective felt (and still feels) a bit like I am under that fire hose, while other changes came as gently and gradually as a stream gently flowing into a pond. I may  be wrong about some things, but I don’t feel the pressure so much any more. I guess maybe I’ve surrendered to God, and if I feel resistance to something, I don’t let the pressure get to me. Instead, I think, read, listen, and pray about it, and then just let God take over. It saves me a lot of headaches.

Now to turn Darth over to God – and the stuff I’m reading in the guidebook on how to use it. Today boiled eggs, tomorrow boeuf bourguignon. 

Image: Fire hose on maximum spray, unknown author.  Source:
.  Image found at Wikimedia Commons. 

Linda Ryan is a co-mentor for an Education for Ministry group, an avid reader, lover of Baroque and Renaissance music, and retired. She keeps the blog Jericho’s Daughter.  She lives with her three cats near Phoenix, Arizona.


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James McGrath

Surely you meant R2-D2 rather than C-3PO (although I may be mistaken since I’ve never seen your Instapot…)

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