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  • Writer's pictureGreg Dover

Greg's Weekly Word: "rectifier"

This past weekend I had to chance to go to Louisville, Kentucky for the Clemson/Louisville football game. When we weren't at the game, we were able to visit some museums and other attractions...

Sunset over the Ohio River (taken from a hotel bathroom)

Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum

...and a bourbon distillery, to learn and see how one of Kentucky's most famous exports (besides bluegrass and horse racing) is made.

(Exit through the gift shop)

Thought this was interesting... (check out the title!)

We learned about how grains ferment, and then are distilled into a clear liquid, that is put into charred oak barrels and aged in a storage facility called a rickhouse (check back next week for another lesson from Louisville on this word!) for years, experiencing the changing seasons.

But one of the more interesting concepts we learned about in the distillery tour (other than the quote from "The Holy Bible Repudiates Prohibition") was the idea of rectifiers.

In the early days of bourbon-making, distilled whiskey was sold as a commodity (by the barrel) to people, who would then sell it to consumers by the pour. These middlemen were known as rectifiers, because they would purchase bourbon from a distiller, and then rectify it to create a taste, color, mouthfeel that met their standards. Of course, some less-than-honest folks would buy the cheapest of alcohol and use less-than-good methods to create a sellable product (e.g. putting tobacco spit or rusty railroad spikes in the barrels to give the liquor a darker color, or some kind of sweeteners to give bad bourbon a better taste).

In the strict sense of the word, though, rectify means "to correct; set something right." Which is exactly what we are called to do with our lives and in our life of faith. Of course, some of us may want to take shortcuts, and try to make our faith and our lives look better than they are - with easy answers and sweetened platitudes...with the "blessings" (trappings?) of a so-called successful life...even with a checking-the-box church participation.

And yet a true, authentic, mature faith becomes so over time. It might need to be aged over time, sitting with difficult questions and struggles through the different seasons of life. It might need come into contact with something that has been burned and charred - with the ash of suffering and hardship.

But ultimately, the proof will be in the end product. As Jesus said,

Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. (Matthew 12:33)

Our lives - how we live - is the testimony to the quality, maturity, and authenticity of our faith. And if we are willing to struggle and wait - to allow our faith to grow and mature and become more robust and vibrant throughout our lives - then perhaps our lives and our world will be rectified...made right.

And maybe then we will all be able to "taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8).


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