Monday, March 20, 2006


Buffaloed, or, Lenten cheating?

As regular ER-udites know -- hey, I just coined that! I christen y'all peeps of mine ER-udites! -- as y'all know, my Lenten pledge was to desist eating beef and pork.

Beef. Pork.

And I haven't had a bite of beef or pork since before Ash Wednesday. It's something I think about every day, which, I think, is the main purpose of Lent.

I made the pledge thinking I might have a lamp chop or two during Lent -- lamb not being either beef or pork.

At the store where I went to get a couple of lamb chops, they had buffalo! I bought a buffalo steak and a little buffalo barbecue.

I laughed out loud when I saw it in the butcher's case, thinking, "What a surprise! The Lord does have a sense of humor."

Saturday night, I had a buffalo steak and potato for supper. Today for lunch, I had a little buffalo barbecue -- I'll freeze the rest for later.

Dr. ER claims I have gone back on my Lenten pledge because buffalo is red meat.

But I didn't pledge not to eat red meat. I pledged not to eat beef and pork.

My conscious is clear, although I did feel a little bad about it when Dr. ER gave me a hard time.

I honestly interpreted it as a funny redneck kind of Lenten blessing: "Here, ER," I thought I heard the Lord say, "You have been good and faithful in your Lenten pledge. Have a little buffalo steak and be merry."

So I did.

Again, my conscious is clear. No beef. No pork. But I'm interested in what y'all think.



Buffalo is bison is bovine.

Beef is flesh of bovine.

Maybe beeves and bisons are closer kin than I thought?

But, just below beef in my dictionary is "beefalo," which is "an animal developed by crossing the American buffalo, or bison, with beef cattle."

I think I'm safe. There wouldn't be a special word for beefalo if it was no different than crossing an Angus and a Hereford or something.
I think you would have made a dandy lawyer.
Besides, it seems to me that lamb in particular is out during Lent, and should not be consumed again until Easter.

Unless you're Irish Catholic, in which case corned beef must be consumed on St. Pat's, and the next day on St. Joseph's (protector of all virgins, mind you), if you own an Italian restaurant, you must give away free fish dinners.

I'm wandering. I find that buffalo makes for a fine taco filling, if seasoned properly, is what I think of all the above.
I think it's between you and God, and for you to determine in your own heart whether you are skirting the intention of your decision or not. If you feel you are maintaining the pledge you made, then you are golden. I'm not a stickler for the semantics of the pledge so long as you don't start game-playing trying to find a loophole around your commitment, whatever it is.
Trixie, Well, I am adhering to my intention. And I am not looking for a loophole. For example, I'd never heard of the Sundays of Lent as "mini-Easters" thing, until after I'd made my pledge. If I were looking for a loophole, there's one.

Rich, I'm not Catholic. I am making this up as I go along. Lamb has an "of God" metaphorical meaning that I am aware of but not particularly freaked-out by.

I think my pledge, sincerely made, remains sound. I didn't bring home a stack of buffalo steaks, mind you. However, if it's techically beef, why, then, I'll abstain from it, as well.
splitting hairs with god, er? risky biz, that....

"I think it's between you and God"

as the atheist in the bunch, i can't help but find that comment to be deliciously (pun intended) ironic! (no offense intended.)

I don't understand why, KEvron. The whole purpose of spiritual denial during Lent is to strengthen the personal relationship one has with God. Whatever a person chooses to give up as a symbolic sacrifice truly is between that person and God. I can't tell E.R. if he has erred in substituting buffalo for beef. That is, again, between him and God and what his intention was when he made that choice. Honestly, I'm more concerned -- rather, I care more -- about what spiritual discipline is taken on during this time. I think E.R. is doing fine in that area, and I believe his response, so why should any of us have any room to say anything about it?
Buffalo is not beef, although they can cross-breed. You know that cross-breeding doesn't make two animals the same thing.

Plus, buffalo is healthier to eat than beef.
"I don't understand why, KEvron."

how to put it without sounding jerky....hmmm....uh, we are our own god. that's how i see it. therefore, "between you and god" is kinda funny to me, especially in this context, as i believe er may be trying to fool himself! (nuthin' but love, er!)

"....why should any of us have any room to say anything about it?"

uh, 'cause he made it the topic of his post?


I see yer humor, KEvron.

Makes me profoundly sad, though, to consider the notion that each of us his own god. What a sorry, sorry bunch of gods this world is saddled with, if so.
Shoot, I might wind up a dang vegan after it's all said and done. Not. But wouldn't that be ironic? You just never know what turns yer life will take when you start with one big unexpected detour, like avoiding pigmeat and beef for awhile. ...

I stumbled onto Pythagorean vegetarianism in a European history book the other night. That feller thought beef was the worst of the worst!
I woudn't eat buffalo, myself. Not because it resembles beef in any way, though. I just don't care for the taste. Too gamey. I don't know. Maybe gamey isn't the right word, but I don't know a better one right at the moment.

Why not eat chicken or turkey?
Eating Bison is truely parsing the pledge. Bison as a species is not exactly seperate from any other "beef" producing bovine. A "rule of thumb" definition of a "species" is that it can not sucessfully inter-breed with another specices. Bison and Cattle of any ilk can interbreed sucessfully (but choose not to in the wild), meaning that their offspring are not sterile. Now are bison a "cultural" species in that they choose, on their own, not to breed with herfords for example? Quien sabe'?

There seems to be a difference between bison meat and beef, until you compare it to grass fed only beef and then the difference is drastically reduced.

Perhaps you should be given the benifit of the doubt, based on the old world "beef" versus new world "bison" except that there are bison in the old world. They are called wisent, and may be the progenators of the American bison or vise versa.( Or they may have wandered back and forth numerous times.)
So your technicality is based in the sematics of what a type of meat is called in English, or rather American English.
Lent is intent, I recognize your intent, but the technicallity is arguably shakey.
By they way, making deals with God always seems to have unintended consequences. Ask Moses.
Buffalo is a little stringier than beef.

Welp, I've learned a lot about the similarities between beef and bison.

Not splitting hairs, although to continue to eat it now, with plenty of info, would be a violation of the pledge, I think.

Ergo, pass the chicken, fish and turkey.
Maybe God was saying to you "feed my sheep."

You, wanting to have a respite from your self-denial, interpreted that instead as a signal to indulge.

I think Lent is meant as a way for us to focus on our devotion to God, what we mean to do to prove to Him we are devoted to Him.

It's a little bit irreverent in tone to be looking for ways to get around that -- and irreverent in the extreme to spend a whole post on justifying it. Instead, if you stumble, just start over, don't breast-beat on the self-righteousness of what you've done.

I say thus, since you asked for feedback.
Buffalo is so much better than beef (cow, if you will) that it should be considered something different.

Eat up ER.
Anon, thank you for the feedback, but if you read into any of this that I was looking for a loophole, I have utterly failed in getting my point across.

My point was this: My wife suggested that buffalo was a violation of my pledge. That surprised me because it never OCCURRED to me to be so. What I asked for was input on THAT.

I neither sought respite from self-denial nor interpreted the surprise of finding the unsought alternative as an opportunity for such.

And I'd say, in light of my striving for honesty and honesty in discussing all of this that your assessment of it as irteverent:

Gee, thanks for your understanding and support.

I did not stumble. I walked forthrightly into a situation. With more information and thought, I choose now not to walk into that situation again.
"honesty and openness," I meant.
"I laughed out loud when I saw it in the butcher's case, thinking, 'What a surprise! The Lord does have a sense of humor.' "

This led me to conclude you were looking for a loophole, thinking that it's about YOU in terms of the Lord providing a way to get through Lent.

He might be.

It just seems a bit puffed to see it that way, unless of course your prayer was for just such.
Laughed out loud with genuine glee -- because the Lord does have a sense of humor, and the Lord does want the best for us.

I was not looking for a loophole. I was looking for lamb -- as I had intended from the outset to not include meats other than beef and pork, since my earnest, simple pledge was to avoid beef and pork -- knowing that I would eat mostly fish, chicken and turkey for meat, knowing further that I would make at least one run to this out-of-the-way store for lamb, but really not thinking about the possibility of stumbling across other nonbeef, nonpork meats.

I do not profess to have a pious bone in my spiritual body, so to speak -- nor much of a reverent one, "reverent" by most churchy standards.

I guess I see how you could come to the conclusions you have by reading what I wrote. And, sure, I can be pretty puffed up.

But you misunderstand me totally -- or, again, I am woefully unable to get my point across. I haven't once thought that there was any true difficulty in "getting through" Lent -- although I have faux-whined to my wife about wantin' a good steak -- and I do plan to make a beeline for the Golden Corral, or the Whataburger, on Easter afternoon. I chose to forgo something that would be constant, at times difficult, but mostly just annoying. I did not want to set myself up for a fall -- there are other things I could pledge to give up for 40 days with little or no hope of succeeding, such as alcohol or nicotine gum.

The point of my Lenten pledge was this: to think, every day, in a special Lenten way, about God and my relationship with him. I am meeting that goal, all meat aside.

What I'm interested in is why you, Anon, seem so intent on finding some way to "bring me down"? On the vast majority of posts on this blog it is all about me, by definition -- to that I freely admit. I think you're wrongly imposing that template on this particular post.

He said, realizing anew the dangers of attempts at honesty and openness -- as much as is possible on an anonymous blog -- in a forum such as this.

If you wish me well, or if you wish me failure or harm, you may have the last word, Anon.
And it's this sort of misunderstanding that caused me to say that this is between you, E.R., and God alone. We can all give you our opinions, but especially during Lent, we don't get a vote on someone else's relationship with God. Y'know, He's right there ready for a conversation with you and He would much rather hash it out with you directly than hearing our opinions. He's the one that knows your heart and He's not going to be the one to take pot shots at your intentions, especially if you keep the dialogue open with Him.
Could be that the Lord sent you buffalo in order to enlarge your understanding of how a seemingly simple pledge can have so many convoluted ramafications. Including seeing how it is seen from the outside by those you show yourself to on your blog.
Writters have a saying paraphrased from Nietzche, "That which does not kill me, is research for my work." Maybe Seekers should adopt that to say, "That which does not kill me, is understanding in my quest."
Quest on, brother....
Trixie, I DID ask for input. I am always surprised when people take that opportunity to be judgmental, especially in a context such as this.

Drlobo, absolutely.
Well, I just learned something.

ER apparently thinks of "input" as something other than judgmental or critical. So when he asks, "what do ya'll think?" he must be seeking approval, support, encouragement. Not what someone really THINKS.

No wonder George W doesn't care for the input of the American people.
Guilty, again, I am, of not being clear: "What do y'all think" was meant in reference to whether buffalo was beef or not.

Of course I was shocked to be admonished for looking for a "loophole" when I was no.

So, you didn't learn what you think you learned, Anon. I should be very explicit when I ask for input.
...and then, so I am not in any way as erudite as ER, he tells me I didn't learn.

Oh, well, guess I was the one who was buffaloed.

Think I'll give up the Internet for the rest of Lent and hope God reveals himself some other way!!

(Written only hoping I can have the last instead of ER getting it.)


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