Why we are here:

Our signature Bible passage, the prologue to John's Gospel, tells us that Jesus (the Logos) is God and Creator and that He came in the flesh (sarx) to redeem His fallen, sin-cursed creation—and especially those He chose to believe in Him.

Here in Bios & Logos we have some fun examining small corners of the creation to show how great a Creator Jesus is—and our need for Him as Redeemer. Soli Deo Gloria.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

America has welcomed it with adulation!

Forgive me once more for a detour from forest and meadow nature into the jungle of fallen human nature. The following may be described as free verse, for surely no one is likely to pay for it. But in fact, we shall all pay the consequences for our nievete.

The Trojan Horse

America has joyfully welcomed the Trojan horse.
Its door has opened, with hardly a creak.
In less than a week, stealthy soldiers have spewed forth.
A pronouncement here; a pen stroke there--
More babies will die.
The immune system is weakened.
More evil will surely follow.

Let the reader draw his or her own conclusions.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Buried in beans

Let me explain. The girls originally were standing next to or sledding down a gumdrop mountain. The fact that now they are buried in coffee beans certainly needs some clarification.

The original picture was a Christmas card. The altered (caffeine-rich) version is a thank-you note for the girls and their parents for the Christmas gift of two cans of Trader Joe’s Arabica beans. And tasty beans they are! So good, invigorating and mind-altering a brew as to inspire a synaesthetic couplet:

See those beans; feel how they glisten.
You can almost smell them, if you listen!

That bit of rhyming weirdness could lead in either of two directions in this post: a scintillating discussion of synaesthesia—or a maudlin meditation about why coffee beans aren’t beans.

In favor of synaesthesia is the fact that I have recently re-read a book on the subject by an old student of mine (Kevin T. Dann: Bright Colors Falsely Seen). The discouraging thing is that his writing makes mine look like a fourth grader’s.

In favor of coffee beans: I just took a sip of Trader Joe’s organic, fair traded, shade grown Ethiopian medium dark roast, medium bodied floral aroma 100% Arabica coffee from the Yirgacheffe region—the birthplace of coffee. Whew! Can you smell it?

I just flipped a bean (does a coffee bean have a head and tail?—take a look at one and judge for yourself) and the beans won. Synaesthesia will wait.

Here is the brutal truth: coffee beans are not beans, just as peanuts are not nuts. In fact, peanuts are beans, but to spoil the parallelism, coffee beans are not nuts; they’re drupes. Confused? Blame the botanists. They have come up with a phantasmagoric array of descriptive terms designed to help biology students fail their exams.

Peaches, cherries, olives and even almonds are drupes. They have fleshy outer layers and a hard inner layer enclosing a single seed. Mostly we eat the fleshy layer of drupes. We usually don’t even see the fleshy layer of an almond—we eat the seed inside the stony layer. By the way, coffee beans have two seeds—does this take away from their drupiness?

What about coffee? It’s like the almond; we get rid of the fleshy layer and use the highly processed seed. And wow, talk about processing. When we sip our morning brew, we seldom think about all that has happened to those little brown nuggets from tropical plant to can or sack on the kitchen counter. Maybe a few clicks to useful websites will help. For drupes, click
here. For coffee beans, click here. And for a more general article on the beverage, click here. Not that I’m trying to get off easy, but good old Wikipedia will always do a better job than I can.
After reading all those articles, didn’t we learn some new things? I know I did. Sorry to get so pedagogical, but that’s what I am—an old retired pedagogue.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that plants are marvelous creations and that their Creator has given them all PhDs in chemistry. Just engineering a caffeine molecule is quite a feat. The plant does that to provide an insecticide to fend off leaf-eating bugs. It has no idea that humans are going to use its seeds for a tasty stimulant—but the Creator of the plant surely did. Here’s the Wiki article on

Now it’s time for another mug of Trader Joe’s and maybe for me to take a couple of #2 pencils and tap out some inverted flam paradiddles on the plastic lids of the two coffee cans. The beans inside even produce a snare effect. Cousin Herb would approve. From synaesthetic couplets to inverted flam paradiddles? Whew, what a powerful brew!

Thanks Tom, Julie, Mady and Lulu for the coffee—and for the idea for this blog post!