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Of Measuring Cups and Morality

It is not widely known that I am a fantastic chef. It’s not widely known primarily because it’s not true, but let’s not let facts get in the way of my delusion. As a master chef, I was once creating beef stroganoff for my family.

Granted, I use the term “creating” rather loosely. I was dumping frozen mix into our crock pot when the instructions called for adding one and one-half cups of water. It was then that I discovered that our measuring cup was no longer measuring. Time and much handling had worn away the markings painted on the outside of the cup. It’s still a nice cup, but there is no more measuring to be done with it.

“What a liberating discovery!” I thought. (Most anything seems entertaining when you’re cooking frozen stroganoff.) “I don’t need measuring lines! It’s my stroganoff; I can mix it up any way I please. If I really want to get wild, I can use a bowl or pitcher. Who says I have to use an old, worn-out measuring cup?”

You have that same freedom. Throw off the shackles of tradition! Make your stroganoff any way you like. Disclaimer: I am not responsible for how your stroganoff turns out. Mine came out just a tad overly moist. As in, “Hey, Dad, what kind of soup is this?”

Modern morality has often rubbed the lines off the measuring cup. Consider this from a Vermont professor of spirituality and religion: “We’re the authors of our own authority . . . You can give yourself authority . . . How do we reshape our sense of spirituality to fit where we are?”

In other words, there are no lines - no standards by which to measure behavior except those we choose to paint for ourselves. Rather than conforming to a standard, we establish our own. For the professor, that includes not only accepting sex outside marriage, but also declaring it to be a spiritual activity.

The professor is free to do that. You and I are too. But we should remember that the result may not be all that tasty. There are lines on a measuring cup for a reason; God gives rules for a reason. Results are better when guidelines are followed.

“I know, O Lord, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).


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