Gas Grills and intentional living

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Bryan is an artist, father, husband, and son (not really in that order). He works for the Department of Vetern's Affairs and writes and administers The Fireside Post with his father, Ohg Rea Tone. His writings have not been published, though they have been printed a lot.

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Gas Grills and intentional living


I was having a conversation with my friend who was in town for a visit this weekend. We were discussing my gas grill.

I bought a gas grill because I did some research on the most responsible way to cook meals. When you use your oven in the summer time, often the heat from the oven will cause your air conditioning to run non stop for an hour or so. In our apartment, our AC unit is pretty small and our ceilings are high, so when I use our gas oven the AC runs the rest of the night. So, you can avoid undue stress on your air conditioning by cooking outside, where its hot anyway. Charcoal and wood grills spew lots of carbon into the air, thus negating their usefulness as an ecologically responsible alternative to the gas oven. Propane grills have some of the best ratings for preparing meals in hot weather. Works for me, because I like to cook outside.

One of the rules we have for purchasing anything is that my wife is tired of having crappy, disposable stuff around that we hate for 18 months until we throw it away and buy some other undesirable product and repeat the process. Plus, buying something that you will end up throwing away does nothing for the landfill situation, so we are left with finding something at a reasonable price that will last as long as possible. Shortly after we moved into our apartment, I started the search for a gas grill. The classifieds and second hand stores turned up only rusty old cheap grills and expensive, but nice, used grills. It was almost the end of the season, so we found ourselves in the situation that a new grill was a better investment than a used one. We get a quality grill with a warranty that will last us longer than we intend to stay in this apartment. So, we bought a new grill and have been using it comfortably since.

Our pastor stopped by a few weeks ago, and as we went into the house via the back deck, he commented, “Hey, nice grill.” I hadn’t thought about it until then, but I had this nice shiny new grill on my back deck, glimmering in defiance against the backdrop of our minimalist lifestyle. I was communicating something about my value system with my purchase, even though I had reached the decision to buy the grill based on several key elements of the kind of life that I want to live.

So, this begs the question, how can I communicate my values to others and make responsible decisions in the process. you have always told me not to feel responsible for others’ actions, but to own my impact on them. So that is what I try to do. I don’t encourage people to buy new stuff, because we have enough stuff for everone already, we don’t need to contribute to the packaging craze. I also encourage people to make intentional decisions about how they live their life, which is what I was doing with my grill.

Perhaps this feels like mucking around in the details, and maybe it is, but I think that if we don’t evaluate what we do then we fail to live our lives on purpose. That road ends at a place where you could find yourself wondering what happened to your life. I know, because I have found myself there before, and it is not something that I want to repeat. I have considered selling the grill and buying something more modest, but I am not sure that I would break even, so modesty would end up costing me more. So, I probably won’t. But, I feel responsible for at least evaluating it and having the conversation.


There Are 4 Responses So Far. »

  1. Making an intentional decision, to me, means to evaluate all the options and make an educated choice. Without that process, then the choice made must be justified.

    Do you tell others your evaluation process or simply justify the reason you made your decision?
    Is there really a difference after the fact?

    e·val·u·ate /??vælyu?e?t/ Pronunciation Key – Show Spelled Pronunciation[i-val-yoo-eyt] Pronunciation Key – Show IPA Pronunciation
    –verb (used with object), -at·ed, -at·ing.
    1. to determine or set the value or amount of; appraise: to evaluate property.
    2. to judge or determine the significance, worth, or quality of; assess: to evaluate the results of an experiment.
    3. Mathematics. to ascertain the numerical value of (a function, relation, etc.).

    jus·ti·fy /?d??st??fa?/ Pronunciation Key – Show Spelled Pronunciation[juhs-tuh-fahy] Pronunciation Key – Show IPA Pronunciation verb, -fied, -fy·ing.
    –verb (used with object)
    1. to show (an act, claim, statement, etc.) to be just or right: The end does not always justify the means.
    2. to defend or uphold as warranted or well-grounded: Don’t try to justify his rudeness.
    3. Theology. to declare innocent or guiltless; absolve; acquit.
    4. Printing.
    a. to make (a line of type) a desired length by spacing the words and letters, esp. so that full lines in a column have even margins both on the left and on the right.
    b. to level and square (a strike).
    –verb (used without object)
    5. Law.
    a. to show a satisfactory reason or excuse for something done.
    b. to qualify as bail or surety.
    6. Printing. (of a line of type) to fit exactly into a desired length.

  2. i appreciate the quote… “own your impact…” i like that.

    I have had a struggle as of late based around the drinking of alcohol and whether or not it could be a stumbling block for others. i am a youth pastor and, while drinking is obviously not a ‘sin’, i do believe i have a responsibility to them … to “own my impact”…. If I cause one of them to open the door to their own weakness to alcohol…then i am not helping, but actually hurting the cause. Basically allowing one more thing to get caught up in the mix of the relationship with Christ… although not my responsibility. any thoughts?

  3. eblack –

    I have lots of thoughts. I think I will write a post in response, since this comment section is not the place for such a lengthy dialog. Great comment, and great question.

  4. eblack,

    I have talked to my son about his responsibility to others. It is correct to say “I am not responsible for the feelings of others.” The other side of the coin is “Others are not responsible for my feelings.” Both statements true enough.

    I cannot say, for instance, “You make me angry” and be legitimate. I am responsible for my feelings. But it would be unreasonable for an adulterous spouse to say, “Hey, she is responsible for her own feelings, I can’t help it if she feels jealous and angry.”

    It is true that the aggrieved spouse is responsible for their recovery from the devastation of their life circumstances – but I think the adulterous spouse has some responsibility.

    Our drinking of alcohol does not directly lead others to alcoholism. Alcoholism is a disease and we do not have the power to either make someone an alcoholic or to cure them of their alcoholism. It strikes me that if you question your drinking patterns around others then you have a legitimate personal reason to look at yourself and your drinking patterns. Early warning signs of the disease of addiction are evident when we begin to question ourselves – as the disease progresses and takes on a life of its own – we will be unable to see ourselves honestly. Pay attention while you have the capacity to be honest with yourself.


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