Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Theological Nightmares

Much to my wife's consternation - I have taken a shine to the show "Kitchen Nightmares" or the BBC's predecessor - "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares." The show has Gordon Ramsay (of Hell's Kitchen fame - and a fab-o chef in his own right) show up at floundering restaurants and spend a week there - revamping the place - fixing what needs to be fixing in terms of equipment, approach, menu, staff, etc.

Now, Ramsay is foul and curt - but you know what? He is an excellent preacher of the law - at least as it applies to the civil art of running a restaurant. He is rentlentless is seeing that people fulfill their responsibilities - and acknowledge where they are lacking. Coarse and vulgar in so doing - but still dead on accurate.

Perhaps my favorite scene so far comes towards the end of an episode. It's a restuarant in New York, and the general manager has been lazy and not doing his job while the restaurant falls apart. First point - Gordon tells the guy that he has been stealing from his boss with his shoddy work (alright people, what commandments does this tie into?). But the best scene comes at the end - and everyone else in the place has turned their act around, they see what they ought to do - except for this manager, who still is deflecting blame - and his boss is about ready to fire him (and not even replace him - he's that useless) - and this manager comes up and starts getting all defensive how he's been a good worker.

Gordon walks up, leans over by his ear and whispers "You're guilty." Oh, I'm not guilty. "You're guilty." Over and over - until the guy just quits and runs away, just convinced that Gordon was just a meany who cost him his job.

This is the way the law works. It's not nice. It's harsh. It's persistant. It doesn't make us feel nice. And it never lets go - it is persistent in showing us our guilt. Now, the Law is quite useful in civil matters - it shows us where we are doing stupid things - but it never lets up. And it can annoy people. But we need to remember that we need that annoyance - that our lack should stand out to us, that we should learn to flee it. Watch Kitchen Nightmares and learn how the Law works.

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