Saturday, May 28, 2005

42 Below, Martinis and Wisdom

We partook of the closing ceremonies of the 42 Below Martini Festival in Singapore.

Previously, a jelly beauty could be cashed in for a free 42 Below martini at selected bars. The dodgy token of choice for the tearful farewell was a white furry long thing but kept the free lovelies coming, providing clearheaded experiences of creative angles (good for hiding from the paparazzi, since I'm shy like Cowboy Caleb while the others were trying to avoid lynch-mobs, like cowboys and celebs).

As is well known, the management of the velvety hipster 42 Below is purposely DOK (Dam One Kind).

They make dam farny DOK adverts like:The Story of 42 Below (which has been duly whined about)

and country-specific adverts designed apparently to sell their stuff to the locals by insult.

They've taken the mickey out of:

the English

the French

and the Germans

They've also taken the piss out of:

diet freaks

human rights activists

and gays

but this hasn't always gone down smoothly with their target audience. Chelsea hotspot, Brite Bar, boycotted the brand for what it viewed as shameless pandering to the gay community. In response, James Dale, the President of 42 Below DOK-ness wrote an uncreative singleword-profanity-ridden email to the owner of the bar. He followed this up with his own little web site dishing out advice and propogating more of his singleword profanity.

Then, following complaints against a previous 42 Below ad by the makers of Abolut Vodka to the NZ Advertising Standards Board, 42 Below "repented" with a DOK ad. The first ad related the findings of a vodka blind tasting in the UK, the results of which were published in the UK newspaper The Independent. In that initial ad 42 Below highlighted the favourable results for its brand and also mentioned that Absolut was judged "least favourite".

After complaints were made, 42 Below "retracted" their previous ad like so:

Snort-worthily DOK.

Heck, they're DOK even to Fosters, their distribution partners.

Amongst maroon and silver silk cushions, diaphramous draperies, opium beds and Tang Dynasty cast-offs in the Forbidden City, an unwise mate, in a fit of misdirected adventurous-ness double-ordered manuka honey lemongrass martinis. Foul.

Of course, this is misuse of the concept of wisdom as God sees it.

We usually associate wisdom with the ability to make the right decision about something. Choosing a tasty cocktail, or in more life-changing spheres, choosing the right job, right house, right life-partner.

But more importantly, wisdom is the ability to make the right decision about the most critical issue of all: what we think of Jesus. The weighty significance of this issue is enunciated in this parable told by Jesus:
everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash. (Matthew 7:24-27)
Jesus' claims about himself demand a decision. There's no sitting on the fence about it: he's either a lunatic, liar or he's the Lord. If we don't make a decision for him, we remain his enemy and God's enemy, plain and simple. A wise person therefore makes a decision for Jesus.

A decision for Jesus then affects every other decision that we subsequently make. Our conversion to Christianity is the conversion of the mind and the heart; the whole willing and thinking side of our being is completely turned around so that where once, drowning, we grasped at straws like work, drugs, alcohol, sex, or cosmetic beauty to give us meaning and value in life so that our whole being was caught up with these things, we now rest on a solid foundation of Christ, valued by our relationship with the faithful and eternal God.

And our wisdom as God's people isn't about brainlessly "waiting upon the Lord" for signs as to the right decision to take, but about using our redeemed mind and heart, fed by his Word, to discern the right decisions to make. God has never spoken of wisdom as the idea that he will make our decisions for us. Jesus however did say that hearing his words, receiving them and doing them is true wisdom.

Christian wisdom and true wisdom is conforming the mind and heart to the gospel. Growing in wisdom means to learn to apply the truth revealed in the Bible to every aspect of our thinking and doing.

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