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Thursday, 17 October 2013

Things We Wonder About

   After they read or hear something explained, I hear people say, “Oh, I always wondered about that.”  Some of the things are simple enough to find the answer ourselves, but the wondering doesn’t last long enough to prompt that kind of action.  Here are just a few trivial examples some of you might be able to relate to:

If whole grains are better for you, why did people ever start making “white flour” and “white rice” in the first place? 
   This answer came to me via one of my sisters.  She was motivated enough to find out that whole grains are more subject to spoilage.  In order to preserve grains, especially in times when refrigeration was not yet common, people came up with a way of removing the bran and germ of the wheat or rice.  It could be stored much longer that way with less risk of going bad before it could be eaten.
   Especially during the summer time, it is still recommended to store larger quantities of brown rice and whole wheat flour in the freezer!

Why does a hamburger not have ham on it?
   It seems that “burger” is a word in its own right, since cheeseburgers and chicken burgers have appeared in the fast food world.  But when we go back to the origin of the word hamburger, we find that the root word is “Hamburg”, a city in Germany.  This type of minced beef was served on the Hamburg-Amerika line of ships, which traveled between Germany and New York City.  Eventually, the classic beef sandwich took on its present form and was named after a European port.

Why is a Christmas plant, the poinsettia, so sensitive to cold?
   First of all, the poinsettia is a tropical plant brought north about 150 years ago.  Its bright colour and star-like design seemed to be built-in marketing for Christmas in the northlands, but it is native to Mexico.  Another reason it is associated with Christmas is that it flowers when the days become shorter.  The Christmas cactus is so-named for the same reason, but it is obviously a tropical plant as well.

The things we wonder about can be trivial like the examples above, but they can also be  about more serious things, like questions of faith.  For these wonderings, it is very important to wonder long enough to seek out the answers.  Yes, there are many mysteries in the realm of faith, but having a heart that seeks after the truth will bring a person closer to God.  It is not all about academics and what you know; it involves knowing God personally.  Don’t settle for less.

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