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Jerry Johnston: Milk before meat

Published: Sunday, July 18 2010 6:30 a.m. MDT

Milk before meat.

I've been hearing that "admonition of Paul" for so many years, I feel like the master of the obvious every time I repeat it.

Of course you give a baby milk, not filet mignon. Only a fool would do otherwise.

Well, today's world is apparently a world filled with fools.

When I read Facebook and see the intimate details people post about themselves, I almost blush. There used to be a gradual deepening of intimacy. You met someone, had some polite conversations. Then, as you got to trust and feel more comfortable with them, you would mention more personal things.

Milk before meat.

Romance was ever more cautious than that. Holding hands led to a hug, which led to a kiss. People learned about sex over years.

Now nobody bothers to "ease into knowledge." It's all there on the Internet from the git-go.

Milk before meat has become, "Where's the beef?"

If I sound like an old fogey pining for the past, there's some truth in that. But I worry about people today. They try to eat too much, too quickly. By not allowing themselves to slowly absorb relationships, information and experiences, I think they damage themselves.

I look at religion.

Traditionally, Jewish students would study for several years before they were allowed to open the mystic book called "The Kaballah." Now even Madonna flaunts a red string around her wrist — a token that once used to be given after years of great learning, sacrifice and dedication.

Mormons don't escape our "meat eating" culture either.

In the past, people got to know a few Mormons, saw how they lived, learned of their codes, read and — if they found such things appealing — they slowly learned and grew until they could digest the temple ceremonies and many of the deeper doctrines.

Now, people hear the word "Mormon," type the word into Google and read the deep, esoteric doctrines of the religion before even meeting a Mormon.

And when people get ahead of themselves, they are like babes in arms grasping a big old turkey leg and gnawing on it. That is an easy way to do yourself more harm than good.

Part of this new trend has to do with the impatience of people. We want it all, now.

But part of it is simply pride. People think they have what it takes to digest and understand things today that the ancients studied for decades.

We've lost sight of the "process." All we're interested in is the "product."

Babies don't choose milk over meat. They'd eat meat if it is set before them.

But they'd damage themselves without even realizing it. It's a lesson I think we used to know by heart — milk before meat.

Now, it's a lesson we feel we've out-grown. And I fear we'll end up paying a price for that.

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