Sunday, January 9, 2005

January 9, 2005

9:47 PM Got an email this afternoon with some additional information about salt and its properties as it dissolves:

I am just a common biochemist and housewife. I will leave the theological ramifications of salt in solution to you. Table salt is one type of salt called sodium chloride (NaCl). When it is in solid crystal form in the shaker, it forms crystals of NaCl. Salts are chemicals that separate into ions when they are dissolved in water (or soup). Ions can have positive or negative electrical charge. Chemically, table salt consists of two elements, sodium (Na) and chlorine (Cl). Sodium chloride in solution (salt plus water in the soup) becomes an equal ratio of positively charged sodium ions (Na+) and a negatively charged chloride ions (Cl – ). So not only does the salt change the soup, the salt’s form and relationship to its environment is affected by putting it in a new situation, away from the other dry-salt crystals. There are of course other interesting chemical properties that would be a challenge to apply theologically (it would be fun to see you try) When there’s an electric field on the solution, the positive ions flow one way and the negative ions flow the other way, giving an electrical current. Also, if too much salt is added to a water/salt solution, it will become an over -saturated solution and the excess salt will start to settle to the bottom (form a precipitate that cannot dissolve without addition of heat). There are not enough water molecules to go around to accommodate all the salt. Maybe this means that we should look in the pot before we leap into it, to make sure that our efforts would not be duplicated?? And what does it mean that more salt can be added and taken up if the soup is hot??

9:37 PM This morning I talked about the importance of getting “out of the saltshaker and into the soup.” When I was a college student in Chattanooga in the early 70s, my friend Dudley Lynch gave me a set of cassette tapes of Paul Smith (longtime pastor of the People’s Church in Toronto) preaching 1 Corinthians 13 at Mt. Hermon Conference Center in California. Dudley pastored a Cumberland Presbyterian Church near Russellville, Alabama where I grew up. On one of my trips home from college, he gave me the tapes and I remember listening to them in my car. In one of the sermons, he developed the “out of the saltshaker” illustration in great detail. I also remember that when Marlene and I were dating, I took her home to meet my family. We listened to those Paul Smith tapes on the drive. Funny how things like that stick in your mind. I also remember being enthralled because it was one of the first times I had ever heard good Bible teaching. I haven’t kept many things from that period of my life, but I still have those cassette tapes somewhere. Well, I’m not totally sure about that, but I remember seeing them in a box of old stuff a few years ago. Can’t recall the last time I listened to them, but I remember a great deal of what Paul Smith said on those tapes 30+ years ago. That’s good preaching. 9:26 PM We leave for China in four days. After I came home from church after the third service, I told Marlene that I wished we could leave right then. We aren’t quite ready but we’re close. Marlene has been collecting supplies that we’re taking with us to give to Josh. We have our passports and visas and our tickets. We still need to get some travelers checks. And there is a long list of small things we have to do. But we’re mostly ready to go. The bigger news this afternoon relates to the weather. Evidently a major ice storm will hit the Chicago area tomorrow night through Tuesday. The Winter Storm Watch from the National Weather Service says we may get a half-inch to an inch of ice. It also includes these sentences:


I can’t remember a warning like that, especially for an ice storm. Very unusual. When we lived in Texas, that sort of thing happened every year or two. Here in Chicago, we get lots of snow but not that many ice storms. So we’re going to try to get all our last-minute shopping done tomorrow. This of course will impact airline schedules. Alan flies in from Memphis on Wednesday morning. We leave for Beijing on Thursday. Hopefully the weather won’t impact either of those flights.

Do you have any thoughts or questions about this post?