Cultured or Curdled?

I suppose you could chalk it up to collegiate shenanigans. Three boys in a room, barely past the teen years, with an inordinate amount of time on their hands, don't always add up to maturity.

One of our threesome got up early each morning for work. Considerate to a fault, our companion would prepare and eat his cereal there in the dark, predawn hours so we would not be disturbed. But we were. The incessant crunching and smacking, and spoon noises, and… well, you get the picture. What to do?

Our plan was simple—place a quart of milk in my car until it began to curdle, then slip it into our dorm fridge to cool off for our roommate.

Early the next morning we lay with heightened anticipation in the dark as his fingers, unaware of impending doom, closed around the waiting carton in the fridge. We heard granola clattering into a bowl, the carton opening and a sound of something pouring. A spoon rattled, and then… pay dirt—a sort of strangled swallow, halfway between a gasp and a gargle.

I'm happy to report the curdled concoction did no lasting damage to our roommate who survived with an unreasonable (and very immature, I might add) compulsion to get even—which he did, many times.

Curdled milk—who wants it? Awful, nasty stuff happens when it sits too long in a warm spot. My dictionary defines it as: "to go bad or sour, to spoil," which tells me people can curdle, too. Church members can curdle. They become sluggish and sour, pickle-faced porcupines full of nettles and barbs that erect a wall around themselves and their church. Jesus doesn't use the word "curdle," but He comes close when He admonishes the Laodecians that they have become lukewarm—in danger of curdling—and He is tempted to spew them out of His mouth.

How much better is the adjective "cultured"—something grown with care, whether it be yogurt, penicillin or people. It inevitably defines who we are and what we become. Ellen White's profound insight that by beholding we become changed has no greater promise or danger than here. By beholding we can be changed by the world, or by the Word. What we behold is up to us.

As we behold the testimony of Commission Culture in this GLEANER's feature, there is hope for us all. If God can change a stony heart into one that is warm and vital with energy, if He can bring Lazarus forth from the tomb, if He can create a new heaven and a new earth, if He can change the water into wine, He can certainly transform curdled milk into something sweet and pure; something cultured and commissioned to draw others to Him.

By beholding we can be changed by the world, or by the Word.

April 01, 2008 / Let's Talk