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20151101_171112It’s been at least five or six years since it happened last, and back then it only happened because certain members of the congregation were on edge and ready to leave anyway. But it happened today in our second service.

Someone got up and walked out offended by my sermon.

I’ll admit, it was a hard hitting homiletic today. I took the opportunity of All Saints’ Day to be somewhat truthfully appalling in an Orwellian sort of way. In other words, just as Orwell said, “In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act,” so also did I work to tear through the listeners’ expectations in a way that would reveal to them that they aren’t free, at least not in the ways that they would believe. I did this by listing every reasonably atrocious behavior I could until I was comfortable that everyone in the room had found themselves securely within the fellowship of human monster-hood.

A pastor knows if this has occurred while greeting the listeners following the service. Indeed, many came through the line today informing me that they’d felt the brunt with personal precision, and the grace was doubly munificent. Good.

But again, about half way through my list in the second service, which was really only a paragraph of my sermon manuscript (although it probably felt much longer because I worked through it very slowly), someone got up and walked out. She was visibly bothered, and she pulled what appeared to be a reluctant husband in tow. Neither came back. The truth regarding mankind’s condition was too much to bear, let alone hear described in a way that meets an individual so exactly, so directly. I only wish she, they, would have waited through the relatively painful measure to the very next paragraph. There they would have heard a better truth; a refreshing solution to the lies they left telling themselves.

There is an uplifting gild to this story, though. I went into that second service having already received a gifted Cardhu in a little bag near the foot of my desk. This gift, given before the first service, had established an unshakable tenor to my day. God obviously knew what was coming my way in only a few hours, and so He saw fit to move a friend to be kind to his pastor.

Again, the day’s demeanor was well balanced and I went home more concerned about whether or not I was going to like the gifted Scotch as opposed to being bothered by someone who did not realize that “truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it” (Flannery O’Connor).

I am happy to tell you that I was pleasantly surprised by this relatively affordable edition.

Just after the cork was drawn, straight from the bottle I nosed the unmistakable peck of a dry red wine. In the glass, it was the same. With a drop of water, strawberries emerged.

The palate poured warm chocolate on those strawberries and then dotted them with powdered sugar.

The Cardhu 12-year-old carries you through a medium finish, clawing a little bit on the roof of the mouth, but diverting with some remnant vanilla tones on the tongue. And while this is a strangely unbalanced conclusion, it isn’t enough to dissuade you from another sip.

Now to refine this truth…

It’s a nice dram, and I’ll most certainly enjoy every sip until the bottle is empty, but I think it is better suited to serve as a beginner Scotch for a wine drinker desperate to explore a different beverage expanse. I’m already well over such a line and need no convincing.