Sweet Kale Chopped Salad

Is there anything lazier than eating salad out of a bag? The answer is, “Yes!” The lazier course would be not eating salad at all. I can go to Costco and pick up a bag of this delightful Taylor Farms Sweet Kale Chopped Salad, and I’m good to go for something like six servings. The nutritional facts say that the bag has about three servings, but our experience has seen us getting plenty for four bowls. Toss in the dressing and you’ll only be doing 130 calories worth of damage to your daily count. What a deal.

I like to throw in a few ounces of grilled chicken. Even then, I’m still under 200 calories. Sunday, Penny realized that our ever-helpful son had eaten part of the leftover chicken she had planned to throw on our lunch. She let me have the remaining chicken and cut up a bit of tilapia that we’d grilled the night before. Both versions of this salad were completely satisfactory.

So back to my original question. Is salad-in-a-bag lazy? Obviously it is a lot less work than cutting up all of the various vegetables we find in the Taylor Farms bag. But realistically, are you going to buy  broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and chicory. Are you going to have all of those in your fridge at the same time and in edible condition? Will you have the dried cranberries, roasted pumpkin seeds, and poppyseed dressing that the bag includes? Even if you have all of those ingredients, let’s be honest, you’ll probably think about all that chopping and instead opt for a couple of frozen burritos instead.

This package will run you about $5, so if you are, like us, getting six servings from it, then it’s a pretty reasonable $.85. The meat will add a little bit to the price, but you’ll certainly get a very healthy lunch on the plate for well under $2.

I tend to agree with Michael Pollan who warns us away from foods that have a health claim on the package. This package boasts about containing “5 Superfoods.” I’m not entirely sure that I believe that kale or anything else is a great deal more than a fad. Good for you? Yes. Superfood? What does that even mean.

Here’s what I know. For $8, I can make six salads that don’t carry a lot negative nutritional baggage and have some good stuff about them as well. Just as important, this thing requires enough chewing that I feel like I’ve really eaten something. That means I’m not inclined to be sticking my hand in a cracker box in half an hour. Finally, it’s easy enough to prepare that I won’t wimp out and drive through Burger King instead.

Is salad-in-a-bag lazy? Maybe. But if it works, then it’s good enough for me.

The Grand Inconvenience–Mark 1:9

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. –Mark 1:9

Baptism, we can all agree, can be an inconvenience, a nuisance. First of all, the person being baptized needs to bring a change of clothes to church or slip into some white pajamas that the church provides. Regardless, there’s the awkwardness of changing clothes in a strange spot. Women, I am told, suffer even more as they have to deal with messed up hair and compromised make-up. If all of that were not enough, most people get baptized a grand total of once making it a fairly unfamiliar experience. “Put your left hand here and your right hand there. Hold your nose if you want to, and don’t breathe while you’re underwater.”

The minister might have an easier time of the matter in one way. With a pair of waders and a robe, he can get back into the action fairly quickly. Still, the minister needs to remember what to say and how to stand and what to do if a third grader does a cannonball into the water. Unless he has some clever lay person do the job, the minister needs to deal with keeping the floor from being too slippery (can’t have the church being sued) and making sure people have towels and such (can’t have new believers catching pneumonia).

Yessir, baptism can be a mighty inconvenience. It might involve inviting family that we really don’t like very much and probably some kind of special meal after church. You’ll almost certainly have to show up early or duck out of Sunday School early. Still, it’s a one-time event in most cases, so surely we can put up with all these annoyances.

Do I exaggerate? Perhaps, although I’m not at all sure. What I do know is that the trivial Sunday-morning annoyances that might accompany a baptism in 21st-century America do not compare to what Jesus dealt with. Let’s forget for a moment that Jesus had no actual need of baptism. Was he showing identity with himself? Instead, I would focus on the first half of that verse, where Jesus travels from Nazareth to a place on the Jordan, probably down near the top of the Dead Sea if tradition has it right, just to allow John to perform a symbolic ritual that really didn’t apply to him. This would be somewhat akin to traveling the breadth of the United States in an un-air-conditioned car to join a club to which you already belong.

Apparently, Jesus found baptism to be very important, not because it actually did anything to make him holy but because it fulfilled all righteousness (Matthew 3:15). If Jesus could yield to  that sort of inconvenience, how much more should we, who actually need to repent and experience the forgiveness of sins, the experiences that baptism symbolizes, do so? Baptized or not, let us never look on this one of two sacraments Christ left his church as inconvenient.