Pre-pandemic, we ate roughly 20% of our meals at home. Between lunches at the Family doesn’t fight alone shirt and I love this office, dinners out and Saturday morning bagel runs, we didn’t have much need for a robust arsenal of at-home recipes. And while we initially leapt at the opportunity to try expand our culinary repertoire, what began as a novel distraction quickly faded into a tedious chore. Hello Fresh. I know, I know—in a previous life, I would have scoffed at the idea of needing basic ingredients mailed to me in prepackaged. Edwards Deming claimed that much of the information needed to run a business is unknown and unknowable. He explained this by posing a question: “What is the specific value of employee training? What is the optimum expenditure on training programs? Obviously, employees need training in the specifics of particular tasks. How much training is enough? How much is too much? Deming insisted that a manager must operate on chosen theory without proof. A better illustration of Deming’s contention is provided by the former Chairman of Wegmans Food Markets. I have accompanied my wife to picnics at Robert Wegman’s home. After the meal, he addressed the crowd: “I have all my middle managers here and I want to make your jobs easier. There is only one thing you need to do to make this company successful. Just one thing. That is to make life easier for the people who work for you. If you do this one thing, then we will have happy and satisfied employees who will give our customers the service they deserve. Anyone who knew Mr. Wegman knew he operated the company this way. There was no hard proof, but this philosophy felt right to him. Wegmans is consistently rated as one of the best companies to work for. It is also rated as the best grocery store chain by customers. For me personally, I see my life as an engineer and my life as a Christian as similar, but not identical. In both aspects of my life, I am a seeker of truth. As a process engineer for a maker of medical products, I need to run experiments to gather data to justify claims about products and to demonstrate safety and efficacy with repeatable data. As a Christian, I am also seeking the truth, but I am unable to run experiments to verify matters of faith. I don’t accept anything on blind faith.
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But there’s something cathartic about the Family doesn’t fight alone shirt and I love this service’s easy-to-follow recipes—not to mention the welcome convenience of fewer anxiety-ridden trips to the store. Considering the size of our apartment, I wasn’t particularly interested in investing in an elaborate work-from-home desk setup during the quarantine. Sure, I could have carved out a corner for myself, but the idea of cramming an ergonomic eyesore in our already over-crowded space gave me more anxiety than the chronic back problems that would likely emerge as a result of hunching over my laptop for months on end. I consider what people have written about a given subject in ancient scriptures and in modern articles. I remain open to various interpretations of scripture including literal, figurative and mythical. (The myths in the Bible are not literally true, but they express fundamental truth.) I sometimes call myself an evangelical Christian, but I define this term the way Jimmy Carter does. I look to the life, words, and example of Jesus as the primary authority in matters of faith. As an engineer, I am required to determine the verifiable truth. The process is very rational. As a Christian, the search for truth is not about gathering hard data, but more about gathering ideas and looking for what fits. I believe that God loves us and that love is a very rational act. The so-called “scientist” is merely one who devotes his energies to reverse engineer what he can discover about the existing physical universe. However, the “scientist” can observe and formulate all the rules and laws he wants to about this universe, but his formulated rules and laws don’t give him knowledge into those things outside of the physical universe. He cannot discover or measure the nature or personality of the Engineer who designed the universe in the first place, since obviously that nature is not subject to his physical measurements. Again, reverse-engineering this physical universe which the “scientist” has access to does not grant him any ability to speak about unobservable things not part of his observable physical universe. What one in his “scientist” role can know is what he (or someone before him) can observe and measure. Since the things outside of the physical universe cannot be known by using reverse-engineering methods derived from scientific instruments or mathematical formula, how can they be known? Those things are known only by direct revelation by the One who engineered the physical universe in the first place. While my husband (who normally works from home) already had a standing desk set up in our bedroom, I discovered a new use for our West Elm coffee table: the pop-up function that had long been reserved for lazy dinners devoured in front of the TV provided the perfect, Zoom-friendly boost for my laptop. If you had told me six months ago that a spicy Saturday night with my husband would one day include a game of Scrabble.