The Green Grass Grows

Ecclesiastes 6:6-9

I can’t write too much today. There’s a lot to do. I have to mow the grass, especially after that big soaking rain we had a few days ago. Before I do that, I need to air up that leaky tire on the mower. I really should repair the tire, but that would involve getting a jack and a lug wrench and all my tire repair supplies. Frankly, as slow as the leak is, it’s easier just to switch on the air compressor and top off the tire.

To properly groom the yard, I need to use my rider, a push mower, and a weed-eater. The problem I had last week was that the weed-eater wouldn’t run reliably. It started, ran for a few seconds, and then died. I’m guessing I have some sort of fuel problem, but I’m an English teacher rather than a small-engine mechanic.

The sad irony of all these tasks is that they don’t have any sort of permanence. The grass will need to be mowed again next week and every week until probably October, and my equipment can be counted on to require maintenance or replacement. It’s endless, which is what Solomon pointed to:

And if a person lives a thousand years twice, but does not experience happiness, do not both go to the same place?
All of a person’s labor is for his stomach,
yet the appetite is never satisfied.
What advantage then does the wise person have over the fool? What advantage is there for the poor person who knows how to conduct himself before others? Better what the eyes see than wandering desire. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.

Ecclesiastes 6:6-9

It’s Just Gonna Grow Again

Why do we work? According to Ecclesiastes, all of our “labor is for the stomach.” Obviously I don’t literally eat all of my labor’s products, but basically I work in order to consume in various ways. And when I give away some of my income, I’m providing for someone else’s stomach.

I eat and eat or consume and consume, and is the appetite ever killed off? Not at all. Wisdom might mean that I can more efficiently or effectively labor and therefore have more to consume. That’s the economic idea behind getting a good education. You go to school so that you can get a better job and then consume more. But whether someone has a little or a lot, they almost universally want more. The appetite is never satisfied.

Getting in Tune

So does all of this mean that we should stop mowing the grass and drop out of school? Should we cease to work and shun wisdom? I don’t think that’s the message to take from this passage. But if we think that we’re going to achieve some sort of permanent bliss by working hard and acquiring knowledge, we’re deceiving ourselves.

Wealth and wisdom are virtues, but they are not ends in themselves. If my work and my learning do not lead me to happiness, then I might as well be poor and stupid. In fact, I might be better off poor and stupid, since I won’t have as much to lose or as much awareness of my unhappiness.

Of course then we get into the nature of happiness, but that’s a matter for another day.

I Scream for Ice Cream

Ecclesiastes 5:18-20

My soon-to-be-80-year-old father-in-law–and, wow, wasn’t that a lot of hyphens?!–enjoys him some ice cream. He’ll eat it, a quart at a time, twice a day. His wife does the same, although at a slower pace. These people have actually considered keeping a separate freezer just for ice cream.

Never mind that this man is diabetic or that this woman is frustrated with her weight and the health problems that attend it. They just keep eating the ice cream. And why not? Isn’t that what Solomon was talking about in today’s passage?

Here is what I have seen to be good: It is appropriate to eat, drink, and experience good in all the labor one does under the sun during the few days of his life God has given him, because that is his reward. Furthermore, everyone to whom God has given riches and wealth, he has also allowed him to enjoy them, take his reward, and rejoice in his labor. This is a gift of God, for he does not often consider the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with the joy of his heart.

Ecclesiastes 5:18-20

Eat, Drink, and Enjoy!

These family members of mine follow the directions that Ecclesiastes seems to lay out so clearly. They eat ice cream. That’s not all they eat, but they definitely put the ice cream away. They drink. They’re not consumers of alcohol, so they pour large amounts of coffee into themselves. They enjoy–or “experience good”–by watching endless reruns of Gunsmoke and The Andy Griffith Show for him or bizarre reality shows, including something titled Dr. Pimple Popper, for her. That’s living large!

Clearly, my in-laws are in the midst of a season of “living biblically,” right? And this entire ending to chapter five provides a much-needed corrective to the parable of the rich fool. The farmer in that parable was called a fool by Jesus for kicking back to “Take it easy; eat, drink, and enjoy yourself” (Luke 12:19). Where’s the difference? Have we discovered yet another of the contradictions that prove the ultimate untrustworthy nature of the Bible? Let’s not jump to that conclusion too quickly.

Both my in-laws and my initial reading of the Ecclesiastes passage missed a critical prepositional phrase. Solomon’s audience is encouraged to eat, drink, and enjoy in the labor one does under the sun. We’re not called to simply retire to our recliners and do nothing but entertain ourselves with ice cream and pimple popping. We’re called to labor.

Some would argue that, having put in a good many years of such labor under the sun, they have earned their rest. Rest is certainly a biblical idea. We’re supposed to get a day of rest at the end of every six days of labor. But we are enjoined to rest from our labors permanently only when we also rest from the ice cream–that is, when we’re dead.

Getting in Tune

I say all of this not to criticize my in-laws. They are responsible for their own doings. I’m saying this to criticize myself. You see, I have my own version of ice cream. Right now it’s a Five Guy’s cheeseburger, but in a while it’ll be something else. I have my own coffee, Diet Dr. Pepper, and my own Dr. Pimple Popper, which lately has been Stranger Things. Is there really any difference?

Some people have an inability to stop working. Their motor runs incessantly and they need to be reminded to take a break now and again. But most of us are oriented the other way. We tend to find rest our natural state. We need to be reminded to get ourselves off the couch or away from the computer and back to productive efforts.

Our food, drink, and entertainment should be sweet, but they’re only really sweet when they come after a good season of work. Otherwise, those things are simply a desperate attempt to escape the reality that death is lurking somewhere down the road.

Work is a Four-Letter Word–Ecclesiastes 4:5-6

Driving east out of Kansas City on I-70, you can exit at Sterling Avenue. Where the off-ramp ends, you’ll always see one or several people holding signs that indicate their needs and particular pleas for assistance. In the rain, the snow, the baking sun, I don’t believe I have ever seen that corner empty. It must be a productive spot.

One of the reasons that these apparently homeless people frequent that intersection is that a little camp exists in the brush of a gully between the off-ramp and the interstate. You can’t see them from the road unless you look at just the right moment as you zoom by on I-70.

Yesterday, Solomon seemed to be praising people like these. If all labor is just driven by and the source of envy and strife, then aren’t those who don’t labor the most righteous? But today, he seems to cut back the other way.

The fool folds his arms
and consumes his own flesh.
Better one handful with rest
than two handfuls with effort and a pursuit of the wind.

Ecclesiastes 4:5-6

Those lines of poetry are a bit confusing. The first two appear to criticize that person on the corner. Those grubby folks with their signs, living rough and risky, are consuming their own flesh.

The second pair of lines, however, goes the other direction on first glance. Is the lazy person foolish or wise, choosing one handful? Or are these two lines in the voice of the lazy fool? I’m not sure, but certainly there’s some conflict in these verses.

So which is it, Solomon? Is work wisdom or folly? In Proverbs, we hear an unequivocal condemnation of laziness:

a little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the arms to rest,
and your poverty will come like a robber,
and your need, like a bandit.

Proverbs 24:33-34

Why Work?

What does work do for us? Sure, it puts money into the bank account, but it also fills our time and uses up our energy. When I think about my work, I see myself grading bad freshman essays for more than 30 years. It’s mind numbing and keeps a body indoors. Why do I do it? My hope is that as I continue toward retirement, I’ll build up finances that will allow me to live however I want in those later years. Great plan.

But then I see my in-laws with their deteriorating health. I see a cousin who is recently retired and dying from cancer. I see others who get to retirement financially set but without a clue as to how they might spend their time and money. Some retirees seem determined to use RVs and lottery tickets to fuel their happiness.

Let’s just face it: work seems to be something that causes problems if you do it and even bigger problems if you don’t.

Getting in Tune

So do you think that our man Solomon was aware that he was pulling on both ends of this rope? I’m guessing he saw it clearly. This work-or-no-work conundrum is one that every human needs to try to solve. And that, I’d argue, is the point.

Jesus does not call us to “seek first the kingdom of work,” but he also has harsh words for the rich fool with his self-indulgent retirement plan. When we read the accounts of the early church selling assets to help each other out, we know that if that generosity wasn’t accompanied by paying work, then the operation was not sustainable.

Clearly we’re called to find a “Goldilocks” approach to labor: not too little, not too much, but just right. In his wisdom, Solomon doesn’t tell us what “just right” is. Instead, he starts us thinking about the matter, so that we can get closer to our own “just right.”

So what’s your “just right”? Are you sure it’s right?

Tale of Two Levines–Ecclesiastes 3:9-11

Yesterday on Facebook, my (soon-to-be) former pastor shared a graphic from a preacher named Luke Levine. Essentially, the post trumpeted the power of social media as a communication tool and questioned Christians who would waste it on themselves rather than using it to spread the gospel. In trying to locate that image, I searched “Luke Levine social media” and was greeted, mostly, with images of a shirtless Adam Levine during Maroon 5’s Super Bowl performance. It seemed oddly appropriate.

What does the worker gain from his struggles? I have seen the task that God has given the children of Adam to keep them occupied. He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also put eternity in their hearts, but no one can discover the work God has done from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes 3:9-11

What do we gain from our struggles? If you’re Adam Levine at the peak of your band’s popularity, you gain a ton of money. If you’re an ordinary person, you gain enough money to pay your bills. I know that Jesus tells us not to worry about food and clothes, but he certainly doesn’t tell us to quit our jobs or fail to plant our fields. Work is a good thing, an appropriate thing, something the Torah says we should do six days out of seven.

Work is a good thing but it is a limited thing. I even enjoy listening to Maroon 5 (provided that I don’t pay too close of attention to the lyrics), but if Adam Levine and company believe that they’re accomplishing anything more than earning a bunch of money, then they’re sorely mistaken.

I know, you have some music that you grew up hearing and still love. Bachman-Turner Overdrive was playing on Spotify for me this morning. That music makes people happy. The food you cook makes people happy. The clothes you sell make people happy. The air conditioner you repair makes people happy. Happiness is good, isn’t it?

While we attend to the necessary things of the flesh, we have to remember eternity

In general, happiness is good so long as it isn’t based on something destructive, but happiness or mere survival are very temporary things. You don’t starve to death this month, which is good, but that doesn’t mean you won’t die in 40 years. Happiness and survival will come to an end.

But God has put eternity in our hearts. He has let us know that we’re meant for something bigger and more important than what is “under the sun.” He’s hardwired us to recognize that there’s something more than what we do when we go about our average day.

I would hazard to guess that even this Luke Levine guy spends more time dealing with matters of a temporal nature than of a spiritual nature. That’s the way it is when we inhabit this flesh. Even the greatest prayer warriors need to keep themselves clothed and fed and housed and hydrated.

The problem comes when we believe that this temporal and temporary stuff is all there is or is the most important part of what is. Solomon has spent a good deal of time systematically claiming that everything “under the sun” is pointless. But he didn’t say it wasn’t necessary.

While we attend to the necessary things of the flesh, we have to remember eternity, whether with our music, our social media, or something else.

The Sleeping Man–Ecclesiastes 2:24-26

A few minutes ago, Bo the Poodle and I took our daily drive to QuikTrip. Bo stands in the back seat, his head out the window, making strange noises at squirrels, while I use the trip to refill my soda cup with Diet Dr. Pepper.

This morning, as I parked at the end of the store, I saw someone whose trip was not progressing quick–or quickly. In years past, many people placed little racially insensitive “decorations” in their yards: a sleeping Mexican, seated with his sombrero covering his head and knees. The guy at QuikTrip, minus the sombrero, looked very much like this figure as he apparently slept on the sidewalk, his back leaning on the building.

So now, a few minutes later, I wonder if this sleeping guy, who I’m going to assume doesn’t have an air-conditioned home and pillow-top bed, is really the smart one. Let’s look at what Ecclesiastes has to say about the work that people do.

There is nothing better for a person than to eat, drink, and enjoy his work. I have seen that even this is from God’s hand, because who can eat and who can enjoy life apart from him? For to the person who is pleasing in his sight, he gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy; but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and accumulating in order to give to the one who is pleasing in God’s sight. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.

–Ecclesiastes 2:24-26

Here I am writing this. Later, I’ll write an adult lesson for church. Then I really need to get started on a month of curriculum for children, due in a few weeks. And somewhere along the line, I’ll have to start grading my summer school students’ work. Around the house, I have a wheelbarrow of dirt that needs to find a home and some ivy, ripped off an old tree, that should be cleaned up.

Without God, everything is a vanity, a futility, a vapor.

What will the sleeping man at QT have done at the end of the day? Unless I miss my guess, he’ll have shuffled aimlessly around town and picked up handouts and leftovers wherever he can. He’ll probably have to sleep somewhere else tonight to avoid a run-in with the authorities. This might prove his hardest task for the day.

So is today’s passage telling me that God is better pleased with this man who is eating what others gather and accumulate? I don’t think so, unless he is also given “wisdom, knowledge, and joy.” But it does tell us that if our activities do not bring us those things, then we’re doing something wrong. It does tell us that if we cannot enjoy our work, then perhaps we’re in the wrong line.

Ecclesiastes does not call us to sleepwalk through our lives, but there is more than one way to sleep through life. You can waste your life sleeping on a convenience store porch or you can waste it slaving away at work that no one will care about six months hence.

Finally Koheleth has brought God into the picture. Without Him, everything is a vanity, a futility, a vapor. Only when we center our lives humbly around what comes from God’s hand can we truly wake up and transcend the futility.

A Reason for Sunday–Ecclesiastes 2:22-23

Yesterday, I mentioned the work that Jim performed, transforming a 110-year-old dairy barn into a wonderful home. About a week back, I spoke about the ramp that I was building to allow handicapped access to the deck and therefore the interior of that home. Yesterday, I completed that ramp, applying two sets of boards between the railing and the floor to keep particularly careless scooter drivers from plunging to their deaths off the side.

So, aside from the momentary praise of my wife–which isn’t a bad thing–what do I get out of all the work that I put in on that ramp. For one thing, my bank account is several hundred dollars lighter. For another, and more lasting outcome, I’ll probably see a procession of people with blue handicapped placards in their cars parking at the foot of the ramp and rolling up to bless my home with their presence. Already, my mother-in-law has used the ramp to come over for lunch. What other travails await me?

My biggest chore yesterday was not the installation of those last 12 boards. They went in with little challenge. No, the biggest chore was getting all of the leftover wood and the vast array of tools and screws picked up and taken back to their dwelling place in the basement. As I did all of that, I had some time to think on my ramp.

What does our work give us other than a few dollars that buy transitory things and illusory security?

It will never look better than it does right now. It will never be stronger than it is right now. It will never be more plumb and level than it is right now. If I’m lucky, I won’t have to perform any adjustments, repairs, or reinforcements to the ramp for five years, but those tasks will come. The moment you put wood, even pressure-treated wood, out into the elements, it begins changing, and not for the better. I don’t know if that’s what Solomon had in mind, but it’s what pops into my mind when I read Ecclesiastes 2:22-23:

For what does a person get with all his work and all his efforts that he labors at under the sun? For all his days are filled with grief, and his occupation is sorrowful; even at night, his mind does not rest. This too is futile.

Part of me wants to accuse Solomon of being melodramatic. “You were the king, man! Snap out of this gloomy routine!” I want to shout. I understand what he is saying, but I feel as if he overplays his point. On the other hand, I’ve never been a king.

An old country song might describe the perils of being a king, whose mind does not rest:

How many times have
You heard someone say
If I had his money
I could do things my way.

But little they know
That it’s so hard to find
One rich man in ten
With a satisfied mind.

It seems that most people work at either mind-numbing or back-breaking jobs, or if their work is more in the head, then they can’t lay it down when the end of the shift comes along. And what does our work give us other than a few dollars that buy transitory things and illusory security?

Perhaps the real glory of the Sabbath is that it allows us to take a time out from this pointless work “under the sun” so that we can focus on the One who is beyond the sun.

Steward of the Barn–Ecclesiastes 2:18-21

I think Jim might drive by our house, pictured above, from time to time. I don’t know that he does. I haven’t seem him, but it seems reasonable that he might. About 15 years ago, Jim bought a decrepit but structurally sound former dairy barn and turned it into a wonderful home.

He refinished the original floors on the main level, preserving the rough, stained nature of a place where work had been done for decades. He installed staircases to the loft and to the basement. Where only smallish windows had allowed the sun in, he put in large ones that fill the open hayloft with light.

Jim also installed a greenhouse on the south side of the barn, equipping it with fans and thermostats. When it gets too cold in the greenhouse, a fan pulls warmer air in from the basement. When it gets too hot, a fan pulls that air out. He didn’t settle for ordinary heating and cooling but opted for a geothermal heat pump system. So far, our utility bills have been quite reasonable. One other bit of overbuild was in the electrical system. Jim put in far more capacity than we will ever need or use, but should we ever want to run a commercial kitchen, a server farm, and several welders simultaneously, it’s nice to know that the amperage is available.

Our work today is necessary, but it is not permanent.

Why did Jim leave this marvelous place? It wasn’t because he or his wife didn’t like it anymore. You could tell talking to them that they still maintain a love for the barn–which is why I envision him driving by on occasion. Apparently, he found that the work and expense of maintenance were just more than he could continue. Still, he recalls how he turned vision into reality, so he (maybe) drives by. That’s what takes me to Solomon today:

I hated all my work that I labored at under the sun because I must leave it to the one who comes after me.  And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will take over all my work that I labored at skillfully under the sun. This too is futile. So I began to give myself over to despair concerning all my work that I had labored at under the sun. When there is a person whose work was done with wisdom, knowledge, and skill, and he must give his portion to a person who has not worked for it, this too is futile and a great wrong.

All of my work, efforts that seem so significant, so permanent, so necessary, will one day be passed over to someone else. Will that person care for things the way that I do? Or will they allow what I’ve labored to create to be swept into the dustbin of history?

If Jim’s happiness depends on his work here outliving him, then he may or my not be pleased with how things turn out. If my happiness depends on whether my students continue to follow the lessons I so carefully placed in front of them, then I’m almost certain to be disappointed.

Our work today is necessary, but it is not permanent. Like so much in Ecclesiastes, it is a vapor, futile.

Mowing the Wide World

Powell Gardens, outside Kansas City, covers some 970 acres. Tanner, a teenage worker there, set out to mow the whole thing–with a push mower. Perhaps that’s not completely accurate, but yesterday, when Penny and I visited this lovely place for our 37th anniversary, we saw this young man (who might have been named Tanner) mowing a wide border of grass around a large swath of vegetable rows. Given the rain that Kansas City has enjoyed in recent weeks, the grass was thick and tall. Tanner would have plenty of mowing to keep him busy all day.

I stood and watched Tanner for a couple of minutes. He shoved his mower into the tall grass. You could hear the engine start to struggle. After a couple of steps, the grass would bunch up and stop the blade, killing the engine. Tanner’s shoulders rose and fell as he drew a heavy breath. Then, without even pulling the mower back to get away from the problem, he began jerking on the starter rope.

When, after several difficult pulls, he succeeded in restarting the mower, he’d repeat this process. As I stood there, I saw him clog and start at least four times, having covered perhaps 15 feet of grass.

I wanted to offer Tanner some advice, suggesting that he only cut a narrow swath with each pass, that he set the wheels to maximum height and then move them to mow it again lower, or at least that he only mow in the direction that threw the cut grass away from the uncut.

Of course all of these strategies would have involved much more walking. Instead, Tanner opted to rely on his own strength and endless pulls on the starter rope. He might still be there this morning, mowing the grass six feet at a go.

Sometimes the best way to do things is a way that makes no sense to us in our flesh. All those things Jesus teaches about turning the other cheek, loving your neighbor, and going the second mile seem to fly in the face of logic. Then try out this instruction from Exodus 23:11-12:

Sow your land for six years and gather its produce. But during the seventh year you are to let it rest and leave it uncultivated, so that the poor among your people may eat from it and the wild animals may consume what they leave. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.

So God is telling an agricultural people to willingly give up more than 14% of the productivity of their land. You might as well ask Apple to only sell iPhones six years out of seven. When you have a productive asset, you want to use it! But God’s way, perhaps especially when it runs against human sense, is the best way.

I wouldn’t suggest that my mowing advice for Tanner was God’s way, but don’t we all behave like Tanner now and again. We might hear the counsel of God, but we know that our own way is more efficient, more effective. Instead of following God’s plan, we shove our mower into the tall grass and rely on our own strength. Yes, we sometimes get the job done that way, but what other opportunities do we miss when we mow like Tanner?



Work with Your Hands

I don’t mind confessing that my hands hurt. This morning, I spent several hours trying to make some semblance of order in my mother’s disaster of a backyard. Then, after a trip to Costco, we did a couple of tasks in the garden. First, we weighed the eight rabbits that we bought this week. One of the beasts drew blood as I held it for a close and rather personal inspection. That rabbit, which we affectionately dubbed #4, is female if you’re curious.

Having finished the warmup acts, Penny and I attacked the main event. She wants to set out her tomato plants tomorrow and she wasn’t happy with the support system that we had installed. The new arrangement involved pulling up ten t-posts and re-setting eight of them. Then we arched three cow panels, sixteen-foot-long grids of heavy welded wire and attempted to wire them to the posts. The idea seems fairly simple. It turned out rather complicated, and I’m pretty sure that our procedure was not the most efficient we could have followed.

Now my back aches from pounding in posts and my fingers ache from twisting wire. I also smell a little ripe as the day is warm. And did I mention that I was wounded in action trying to handle a rabbit?

It is at moments like this that I understand why both of my grandfathers, born toward the end of the 19th century, made their way from the farming that had supported their ancestors back into the mists of history and toward anything else. These men, when they were on the farm, would have laughed at my day as a light load.

So why would I, a person who doesn’t have to do heavy lifting outside, choose to encounter these chores. I understand that lots of well educated people piddle in the garden, but most of them don’t wrestle with cow panels. They wrestle with hosta bulbs.

There’s something to be said for being physically tired at the end of the day, to have your work involve less email and more perspiration. In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul gives some instructions for daily life to his readers:

But we encourage you, brothers and sisters, to do this even more, to seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.–1 Thessalonians 4:10-11

Work with your own hands. I like that, even though I’ve pretty much always earned my living throughout my life by jobs far from manual labor. Was Paul a fool, urging people to take on mundane jobs? Was he encouraging the Thessalonians to settle for less than they could be if they engaged in some extracurricular activities and studied for the SAT?

My colleagues at school think that I’m underselling my talents raising rabbits and putting in a large garden. They also think I’m being foolish investing my writing skills creating children’s Bible study curriculum. But that is the work of these hands.

Embrace the Pigness of the Pig

This summer, Penny and I visited Polyface Farms, the home base of Joel Salatin, beyond-organic farmer to the stars. Alright, while Salatin might not do much hobnobbing with Hollywood A-listers, he has been in a good selection of movies. I’m convinced that there’s a law prohibiting anyone from producing a food- or agriculture-related documentary without inserting at least one snippet of Joel.

After leaving the farm that day, I grieved for part of my drive back into Staunton, Virginia, the city where we were staying. You see, the farm’s shop did not have any t-shirts reading “The marvelous pigness of pigs” in my size. The shopkeeper assured us that they’d be getting those in eventually, but we were heading home before that.

Only on the way home, as we made a fourteen-hour expedition from Staunton to our house, did I realize–thanks to Penny’s handy use of Google and decent cell reception in West Virginia–that my coveted t-shirt actually reflected the title of Joel’s latest book: The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs: Respecting and Caring for All God’s Creation.

Before reaching home, I had ordered a copy of the tome. Penny followed suit, requesting it from our library. We’ve been reading through it over the past several weeks.

After writing and speaking for decades as a voice for sustainable agriculture and clean foods, Salatin with this book has “come out” as a Christian. Honestly, I don’t think many people who had encountered him were terribly surprised, but in that book’s pages, he lays out the theological underpinnings for his agricultural practices.

Although I plan to take up some, if not all, of the individual chapters in days to come, I thought it would make sense to consider my own “pigness” or the pigness of my students. Do you have “theological underpinnings” for your profession? I ask, because I’m not entirely sure that I have them for my primary work as a college English teacher. Certainly I have not worked out that theology and its implications on day-to-day, semester-to-semester life as thoroughly as Salatin has in this book.

So your homework assignment, as you wait for the book to arrive, is to consider what it means to be a Christian car mechanic, HVAC technician, lawyer, financial planner, gym employee, banker, or whatever it is that you do with your time. Whether you enjoy the pigness of some bacon at the same time is entirely your own affair.