Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Opening Soon!

Keep checking the Beaver Falls Coffee and Tea website for opening day announcements. They should pop up at any time now.

See you at the bar.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Tea, anyone?

Today began my long tea research project. Actually, "begin" is a misnomer, since I've been interested in the leaves for quite some time and have been doing what can be called "haphazard" research at best. Anyway...

At first, I thought I was limited to only brewing the tea at 200 degrees Fahr. because the little spigot on our drip brewer gives that sort of water. However, green tea leaves burn at 200 degrees. The optimal temp. is 175 degrees Fahr., which causes a slight problem. How to get the temp down in a timely manner? Using a little brain power, though, I figured I could use the espresso machine milk-steaming wand (properly cleaned, of course) to bring filtered cold water to the proper temp. Apart from the hideous noise that this process made, it worked quite well. The green tea tastes perfect. Now I have to figure out if this process will ruin my steam wand (which I doubt it will, but I must ask).

So, if you are in the mood for a properly steeped cup of tea, stop in.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Gideon Strauss, every once in awhile, posts links to friends and acquaintances that draw up lists of their 25 top loves. I've used the concept at Geneva to good effect. It is particularly useful in helping folks to start to think about possible callings, or ways to change the way they are currently pursuing whatever it is they are pursuing. For me, the idea of listing loves has helped to remind me of what I find bedrockly important and some of my own polemic idiosyncracies. However, I think that the list is just a start on the way. My own question, which has grown up out of my reflections of what is important and what is shaloming is: what commitments do I have? Commitment should follow love, otherwise lust will quickly take its place. So what are my top 10 commitments? (I decided ten just to get started...)

I am committed to:
1. A Jewish peasant political and religious rebel who was killed by the powers that be of his day, only to be vindicated as the true power of God by God himself.
2. Living the way marked out by #1, even if it is fitful and sporadic.
3. My wife of three years, who also is passionately in love with #1.
4. My daughter of 8 months, who I pray will find her own story involving #2.
5. Creating an atmosphere of comfort and conviviality in Beaver Falls through providing a welcoming place and a welcoming set of beverages.
6. Creating an atmosphere of tensed leisure for my students to grow, experiment, succeed-and-fail, and ultimately gain the wisdom offered by #1 through #2.
7. Understanding what it means for me to be "truly human" in all my multi-aspectual beingness.
8. Helping in the Spiritual renewal of my home (taken as both my family and my neighborhood/city).
9. Non-violent resistance to all forms of evil, the foremost of tactics being prayer both individual and corporate.
10. Spreading understanding of #1 and ways of doing #2.

This is not nearly all of my commitments and not necessarily in hierarchical order (my wife mentions that I didn't mention friends! Worry not, though, I was thinking of them when I spoke of neighborhoods). But these commitments (and others) give shape to what answers I can question and what questions I can answer. It is, thankfully, a rooted list: God, family, neighborhood, city. I'm sure, though, if I expanded this list, that there would be commitments that I have that are antithetical or contradictory to this list (my occasional commitment to sullen, surly solitude coming quickly to mind). Part of struggling to be truly human in a fallen-in-process-of-redemption world.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Espresso basics

That great and strange resource known as Wikipedia has a nice article, full of interesting information to quiz your local coffeeshop or chain store, about espresso. The list of terms at the end is worth the price of admission. However, there is one sentence that, if you know a bit about coffee roasting, makes no sense:

"Espresso is typically a blend of beans roasted anywhere from very light to very dark." It is good to know the espresso is just "typically" these things, but may sometimes actually be something quite different from coffee. Who knew?

The section on Baristas is particularly interesting. In many parts of Europe being a barista is social equivalent to being a chef. One goes to school or has the trade passed down in the family. Here, obviously, it is a bit different, usually being a entry-level or high school job. We hope, at least in our little corner of the world, to change that. Bethany and I certainly are in it for the long haul and we hope that our employees will get good enough training to eventually run/own a third place wherever they call home. We shall see, I guess. At the very least, I would like to eventually send one of my employees or Bethany or myself to the National and/or World Barista Competition.

Biffity-cat update

The eternally sleeping BiFC&T website has updated pictures in the gallery section. Please ignore the grammatical faux pas on the front page; it was apparently written by those Russians who have been harrassing Jason. Leave him alone! What has he done to you and your proud country that you must torment him so?

Also, I steamed milk for the first time today. Once again, not bad, not great. Always room for improvement. And, yes, we will have Soy on request.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Today I am a man...

...a coffee man.

Our espresso machine, drip airpot brewer, and grinders were installed today. It was one of the most exciting days of my life (with conversion, marriage, baby birth, and a few other things taking justifiable precedence), one that said we were finally there, the day had finally come. Part of our vision of the good life was filled out today, coincidentally right before Thanksgiving.

As I'm sure T.J., Big Al, and Jason can tell you, pulling your first shot of espresso is a rush and a half. I guessed on the tamping pressure (based on seeing other folks do it) using a cheapo plastic tamper (our good ones are in the mail) and pulled a decent first shot. Wow. Never thought that much flavory goodness could actually come out of beans. Truly incredible.

It wasn't the best shot I've ever tasted, but it wasn't the worst. That bodes well, as far as I'm concerned. Here's to the future of coffee in the Beaver Valley!

"Great City. Great People. Great Coffee."--one possible tagline for BiFC&T

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Participational Democracy

I am a part of a small branch of the Reformed tradition known as theonomy. As a whole, the group has gotten the reputation of not liking the idea of democracy. This is based, usually, on RJ Rushdoony's thought that "democracy" sought the lowest common denominator in any situation (if equality is to be had, it is easier to level the high than bring up the low), which would lead to forms of socialism and communism. In this sense, I agree that "democracy" or "mob rule" are bad things. Why? Because vox populi is not vox Dei. The voice of the people could very well be (and often times is) the voice of sin and evil. However, I still believe that a form of democracy grows out of the Christian religion.

I am opening a coffeeshop soon (in the dispensational sense). Part of the concept behind the establishment is that it will, hopefully, function as a "neutral" place for people in this neighborhood/city to meet, mingle, and associate (the three keys of little "l" libertarianism). That is, it (hopefully will be presupposed by the rest of the argument) will enable people both in and out of the kingdom, all of whom share the imago Dei, to collaborate on how to live, work, and play in this corner of God's creation. Ray Oldenburg, in his book The Great Good Place, describes coffeeshops and their ilk as levellers, that is, as class and status relativizers. No matter who you are outside of a shop like that, you are an equal on the inside.

Every man, no matter if he is a follower of Christ or not, is seeking to live the good life in his self, in his family, in his neighborhood, and in his nation. He may have a flawed understanding of what the "good life" is, but he is still working for it. No other man, in my understanding, has the right to force him to conform to a particular vision, unless he has already come under contractual agreement to conform to such (hence the penalties for switching divine loyalties in the Deuteronomy and Hebrews). In a neighborhood gathering place, these ideas and visions can be tried in a comfortable, welcoming space with neighbors. Bad ideas can be rejected, good ones can too. Some will be accepted and tried out, whether it involves having Guy X fix Woman Y's electrical wiring or Woman Q watching Woman O's children for an afternoon. Maybe it will involve a heated political discussion that ends on friendly terms (since no one is host, no one has the right to kick the other "scoundrel" out). This, I believe, is true democracy; one that does not get its legitimization from the polls or ballots, but one that lives on the streets and actually gets things done. It is a truly libertarian vision (in my opinion), since it involves voluntary associations that can be made or broken with little to no community damage. This is the sort of democracy that avoids the "common denominator" problem, since no man has any claim on another to cowtow to his position. A man's claims can be rejected in this sort of setting without rejecting the man himself.

All of this grows out of the idea of the imago Dei. In Richard Middleton's important book The Liberating Image, he argues that ancient cultures such as Babylonia used the idea of imago Dei as a way of demarcating the king as divine representative on earth, with the common run of folk being lesser forms, worthy to be ruled. He argues, rightly I think, that the Bible democratizes that concept--no one man is imago Dei, but since all men are from Adam, all men share the image (same as they share his rebellion). The image finds focus, later on, in the Davidic king, but is more symbolic than actual--even the king is under the law (Deut. 17). In Jesus, the image is again democratized, since every believer is renewed in the image (which was tied to rulership in the beginning). The Church, then, plays the important role of being the ruler, through Christ, of creation by serving the creation, which includes fellow images, whether in Christ or not. In this way, the Bible gives rise to a very subtle, but important form of democracy: every man and woman has responsibility of their own affairs and the right to advocate their vision of community life. They cannot force this vision unless their is a community contract that stipulates so (I think that this is the importance of the neglected ancient act of "covenanting").

This may be part of the reason that so many governments in the past have banned coffeeshops. Too much intelligent thinking by the "common" folk usually leads to a loss of the arbitrary power that elites hold. I'm running a coffeeshop and proud of it.

Monday, November 20, 2006


If you read this post, please leave a comment that says where (city, state) you are reading from. I'm just curious to see where from people read.

Update: 11/21/06

Apparently, I only have two people who read this blog. Thanks to you both!

Update: 11/23/06

Apparently, I am a jerk. Thanks to all of you (more than two!) that read this blog!

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Servant

Right now I'm investigating the relationship between the Servant passages in Isaiah (chaps. 40-55) and Philippians 2. In Phil. 2, there is a part that says "he took on the morphe (form in classical Greek, status/rank/position in Koine/NT Greek) of a servant", which can be taken as a reference to the Isaianic servant. NT Wright brought this to my attention through his book, The Climax of the Covenant.

The way I'm going about it is to read the Isaiah passage non-Christologically. That is, I'm not reading it looking for possible references to Jesus. This is hard to do for a Christian raised in American exegetical circles, where everything is a reference either to the cross, the resurrection, or the second coming. In any case, I'm trying to read the passage as it would have been read when it was written, so that from there I might make some New Testament applications and, possibly, shed some light on the challenging Philippians 2 passage.

My first observations are that this passage (in Isaiah) is a poetic retelling of the whole story of Israel up to this point. You have God's calling of Israel to be His people, His promise of covenant blessing (which includes Israel's place as head of the nations), you have copious references to their failure to be God's light to the Gentiles, and you have constant reaffirmations of Israel's predestined role to fulfill God's purposes of bringing justice and shalom to the whole earth. All of this is set, at least the early chapters (I've only read to chap. 47 so far), in the context of an anti-idolatry trial, where YHWH God effectively steps from the dock to the judge's seat against the pagan gods. In the larger context, even, these false gods are primarily (but not exclusively) the pagan gods of Babylon who were to carry the servant away in exile (the even larger context starts in chap. 39 where Hezekiah foolishly shows all of Judah's treasures to the Babylonian emissaries).

Secondly, the use of imagery and themes from the Exodus is prevalent. The Servant is to be delivered from exile through another Exodus, so that "he" can complete "his" work.

Thirdly, I am interested in a provocative and potentially important (Christologically-speaking) passage in chap. 43. It reads "Fear not, for I am with you: I will bring your descendants from the east...[and all four directions--an image of the end of Exile]...everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him." Who is called by the Name of YHWH God! Who shares/is His glory! All of this predicated of the servant/people of Israel. I must read more...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

You can never go home again...

There is some truth in the phrase that makes the title of this entry. Leaving home and coming back you are a different person. Hopefully you are wiser and more mature. Not always though...but that isn't what this post is about.

Even though I'm not a Starbucks fan, I'll still drink their coffee on occasion. Coffee, despite its caffeine content, is a relaxing pasttime. I prefer, chain store wise, Caribou Coffee: it tastes better. However, after today, I don't know if I can ever drink at either place again.

In preparation for the grand opening of BiFC&T, we visited a friend of ours down in Indiana, PA at his small coffeeshop/roastery named The Commonplace Coffeeshop. (For reference sake, Big Al works there.) At this place, Bethany, Jason, and I tasted different, custom-made espresso blends in both straight and latte form. Why? Because this shop is providing our espresso blend. Our regular coffee will be provided by Grounds for Change, but our espresso is oh so local and fresh (and still fair trade organic).

I can never have a latte not made with The Commonplace's beans, ever again. I know Bethany concurs and I have a feeling that Jason will give us a hearty "Amen!" Wow. The smoothest, richest, tastiest latte I have ever imbibed. This latte kicked sand in the eyes of the big coffee boys...and then stole their girl. I cannot go home, at least not to the big chain guys, again. I'm pleased to say that one of the three blends we tried today will be featured as the original BiFC&T blend.

And I think we have an opening date. Look for announcements soon at a blog near you.

Monday, November 13, 2006

My Town

Good ol' Wikipedia has an article about Beaver Falls. Mostly demographic stuff (some of which is depressing), some pop culture stuff (such as Mr. Belvdere--does anyone have the graphic from the show's opener that shows him holding a sign that says "Beaver Falls or bust"?), and other things too. There is one sentence, though, that I wish the mavens at Wiki would attend to:

"the city has suffered a goodly amount of economic malaise lately due to the decline in the steel-making capacity in the Pittsburgh region where Beaver Falls is situated"

Goodly? I feel that the same person who wrote this also wrote Jason a inclusive love letter recently. Goodly?


Update: 11/14/2006

Jason has changed the "goodly". Thanks!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Incarnational Language

One must be cautious when critiqueing those who have gone before...

I just finished reading Athanasius' On the Incarnation of the Word of God. I could say a lot of things, good and bad, about this slim little read, but I'll keep my comments brief here. (On a side note, the introduction by CS Lewis is invaluable.)

In my earlier post, On Language, I spoke about how I thought it was "sloppy" to speak of the incarnation in terms of the "Son of God" or "Christ" becoming flesh or incarnate. This is true, if for no other reason than the only text which has any mention of "becoming flesh" is John 1:14--it speaks of the Word, not the "Son of God", not the "Christ", becoming flesh. I posited that this may be a slight difference, but it is a difference all the same (by the way, I don't think it is a slight difference, but it is beyond the scope of these remarks to argue for it here). Athanasius avoids that error, at least in the title of his book. However, there is one expansion on that original post that I need to make. Athanasius, and later (and possibly earlier) Christian tradition, speaks of the Word "taking on a body". He also speaks at length about how the Word could not die, but the body that the Word took could--in other words, the Word did not die in the crucifixion, just the body, but it was joined enough (see the later Chalcedon creed) to make the atonement effectual. The Athanasian creed even states: "One [nature], not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh: but by taking of the Manhood into God." Here's my thoughts...

The text in John 1:14 reads: kai o logon sarx egeneto (that is, and the word became flesh). It does not say the word "took on a body." The key word is egeneto or "became". The word's root is ginomai, which means (according to GreekBible.com) "1) to become, i.e. to come into existence, begin to be, receive being 2) to become, i.e. to come to pass, happen 2a) of events 3) to arise, appear in history, come upon the stage 3a) of men appearing in public 4) to be made, finished 4a) of miracles, to be performed, wrought 5) to become, be made". (Obviously, some of these options in the semantic range cannot work, such as "come into existence", since John 1:1 says that the Word was before it was flesh.)

I must admit to being a bit puzzled by this. Why would Athanasius take such pains to say (repeatedly) that the Word of God (or his preferred phrase, God the Word) took on a body, but not the plain meaning of the word in both Greek and Latin (Latin is incarne, enfleshing, same meaning as sarx egeneto)? The larger question, I think, is what exactly does "egeneto" mean in this context? Does it mean "became" and if so, what exactly does that mean? Does it mean "to come upon the stage" as in "the Word came into the world as flesh"? Once again, what exactly would that mean? Is John 1 about the incarnation proper (the first Christmas, if you will) or about Jesus' baptism, since John the Baptist keeps popping his head up through the poem? (This is an ancient debate, I am learning.)

Whatever John meant by this pregnant phrase (pardon the incarnational pun), at the least I think that every Christian should be careful about the way we speak concerning our Lord. Having read deeply in christological studies of various levels of historical orthodoxy, one thing is very clear: language matters. People have been put to death over literal iotas and for arguing the the use of one word is preferable over another. Language matters.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Good theological blogging

Most of what I write on this blog theologically is woefully underexplicated and supported. However, that is half because I cannot stop speaking tongue-in-cheek and half because I don't want to face the full implications of what I think. However, there are blogs that do a good, credible job of working through tough theological issues that are beyond my purvue. One of my friends from college and church, Ian Graves, has been doing such work, especially his recent work on eschatology. You can find his blog, Strange Nation, here. I'll be adding a link to his blog on my sidebar soon, also.

Qere Ketiv

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Local Comedy

I think that Jason will also post about this, but I thought I'd try to beat him to it.

We all went to see Dodge Intrepid and the Pages of Time tonight at a local coffee shop. It is a serial radio-style comedy set in the early 1940s in Beaver County. Very funny. Very insightful and witty commentary about this area, without being crass or "put-downy". Usually when people poke fun at Beaver County, they intend to say "This place (for whatever reason) sucks" (sorry Keith!). These folks were able to balance light criticism with genuine affection for this place. Much recommended--they have PodCasts of their first three seasons.

One of their members recommended that we have poetry slams at BiFC&T.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Economics of the Cup

Keith Martel, here and here, has been having an interesting and important back and forth concerning free refills of coffee at coffeeshops. I thought I'd throw my two cents in (hey, I thought these were free refills), since supposedly I'm supposed to know more about this topic. There are three points that I think need to be brought up: (1) what are we paying for in a cup (2) the americano versus drip debate (3) waste. I don't intend these comments to be taken as a pro-con of free refills, but more as important background considerations to the debate.

(1) Jason and Keith have an interesting interchange in the comments section of Keith's post about the cost going into a cup of coffee. The specific numbers and there accuracy isn't my concern. The thing that does concern me, however, is what numbers need to be added to the analysis. Jason and Keith's breakdown is good enough as far as it goes, but as a business owner, the overriding concern in pricing is not necessarily profit, but place. Each cup of coffee sold provides for our inventory, our labor costs, our tax costs (which are huge and ever growing), our mortgage on the property, the utilities, the care and improvement of the shop/property, the ability to buy more varietals of beans/leaves (for tea, that is--we're not that kind of coffeeshop), debt payments (hey, coffee doesn't grow on trees, at least not in Beaver Falls), and a modest profit to (a) eventually train and skill more people and more locations possibly and (b) get something for the work we put in. Our primary concern is our place and only secondary (if even that) on pure profit. The thing that most consumers or customers or whatever you want to call them don't realize is that every penny they spend on a product isn't for that product: it is for a place. Every time we go to the grocery store, we are supporting the farms and factories and places that the grocer does business with. That is the vital importance of farm markets: our monetary influence goes farther when it is passed between neighbors you, by constraints of space and time, have to share the same geographical area. Every cup of coffee bought at a coffeeshop supports some farmers instead of others (which is very significant concerning some of the social dilemmas that Fair Trade is causing in Latin America and elsewhere); some paper companies and some forests and not others; some corporations and not others. Everytime you buy something, you aren't supporting an abstract product, but a real, concrete place.

(2) Many of my friends prefer the Cafe Americano to any other espresso drink. It is relatively simple (since it doesn't involve the art of steaming milk), but easy to mess up. It is a shot (or two) of espresso mixed in with hot water to make whatever size drink you order. Basically, it is a strong cup of coffee. Most espresso consultants that we have run into have recommended offering the Americano to customers when they order drip coffee. There are a variety of reasons for this. Some are economic (you can sell an Americano at a higher price than a drip cup for less materials cost), some are quality based. Frankly, coffee through an espresso machine--if done correctly--tastes better than drip coffee. The extraction and pressure and saturation and heat time of the espresso machine allow for more favor and less burn to come through in the cup (although, it must be said, most espresso bars burn their espresso so badly or over-extract that the differences are minimal--ideally, though...). So, theoretically, an Americano is going to taste better than a cup of drip. Plus, an Americano doesn't sit in an airpot (or on a burner *shudder*) becoming rancid and tepid and over heated. The difficulty with this in the free refill debate is that each Americano requires barista attention, whereas the drip can be ignored and only requires one period of attention for a large quantity of brew. I've never seen any coffeeshop offer free Americano refills. You are paying for an art and a skill, not just for a caffeine buzz.

(3) This leads into the third problem: waste. Jason and Keith bring this up and rightly so. No coffeer worth his grounds will want to see good coffee (or coffe that you had a hand in preparing) wasted, whether by staleness or the infamous airpot dump out. If he puts up with it, it rends his heart a little bit each time a drop goes down the drain. So what to do :43 minutes after the brew has been made, when the coffee is on a quick, downward slide to viscous sludge? The point is to avoid the problem entirely. This can be done with free refills. However, the owner (and the place) misses that profit from that cup, even though it is good community relations. Keith brings up an interesting point, though, that the PR might be more profitable than the lost cup cost. For most business owners, that would require a pretty dramatic paradigm shift. Since it is largely unprovable, it remains in the entrepenuerial space of "risk." Thankfully, that is a quality that defines entrepenuers. What about what the Little Italian says? 10 cent or 20 cent refills? Is that a good compromise? I'm not sure at this point, but from the ledger it looks a whole lot better than 0 cents.

As of right now, I don't think that BiFC&T has come to a decision concerning the whole issue of refills. We want to be a community place, we want to do well, and we want to do good. Thanks to all involved for helping us think through these issues. And, Keith, bring in your own mug or we will supply you with one in the store. We plan on using real mugs for our in-store customers. Maybe I'll even give you a discount or a refill!

Bottoms up.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


One of my favorite questions, which ultimately may not have a absolute answer, is "what does it mean to be truly human?" Having a growing baby and being an undergrad professor puts a poignancy on the question, also. One of the things that I am beginning to see as essential to being fully human is embracing the limits that time places on us. I mean this in the sort of "meta" sense of birth-infancy-childhood-adulthood-elderhood-death. Each stage, of course, brings its own limits and freedoms, many of which I cannot begin to imagine as my earlier (and belated) stage of adulthoood.

However, in our society (and I would argue it is ultimately a product of our dirty dualisms), we tend to stick to childhood, or that made-up developmental stage, adolescence. What, though, does it mean to be an adult? In this article, the author contrasts the difference between childhood and adulthood, arguing that our society is one of "Big Babies." I don't disagree. I know that I also I am still stuck, in significant ways, in childhood. As a consequence, I still am somewhat deformed as a human. Thankfully, developmental sluggishness isn't a permanent situation.

What does Bywater list as the "essential" traits of any adult?
Don't be affronted Being affronted (or offended, or complaining about 'inappropriateness') is no response for a grown-up. Only children believe the world should conform to their own view of it: a sort of magical thinking that can only lead to warfare, terrorism, unmanageable short-term debt and the Blair/Bush alliance

Mistrust anything catchy, whether it's the Axis of Evil, advertising slogans, or blatant branding ('New Labour'). Catchiness exists to prevent thought and to disguise motive. Grown-ups can think for themselves

Ignore celebrities, except when they are doing what they are celebrated for doing: acting, playing football et cetera. Skill does not confer moral, political or intellectual discrimination. (Except in the case of writers. Writers know everything and can lecture you with impunity.) If a celebrity is not celebrated for doing anything but being a celebrity, smile politely but pay no notice

We should not assume that market forces will decide wisely. The market is rigged by manipulation and infantilisation

Consider our own motivations. We may rail about being treated like children, ordered about, kept from the truth, nannied and exploited… but are we complicit in it? Could the reward actually be infantilisation itself?

Autonomy is the primary marker of being grown up. Babies, children and adolescents don't have any. We don't want to be in their boat

Suspect administration Its purpose is to free the organisation to do what it's meant to do: but the triumph of the administrators - the lawyers, the accountants, the professional managers - means that too many organisations now believe that what they are meant to do is administer themselves. This is a profoundly infantile attitude

Do not love yourself unconditionally. Such love is for babies and comes from their mothers. Ignore fashion, particularly in clothes. You don't want to look like a teenager for ever

Never do business with a company offering 'solutions' as in 'ergonomic furniture solutions which minimise the postural strain associated with sitting' (chairs) and 'Post Office mailing solutions' (brown paper). The word suggests we have a problem, but since we are grown-ups, that is for us to decide

Denounce relativism at every turn. Shouting 'not fair' is childish. Demanding respect without earning it is childish. Don't fear seriousness. Babies aren't allowed to be serious

Watch our language. Is there really much difference between a six-year-old in a fright-wig and his father's waders shouting 'I'm the Mighty Wurgle-Burgle-Urgley-Goo' and an ostensible grown-up demanding to be called 'Tony Blair's Respect Tsar'?

Hide Grown-ups are not required to be perpetually accountable, while the instincts of government and big business, both of which are, almost by their nature, great infantilisers, are to keep an eye on everyone all the time

Eat it up There is nothing more babyish than having dietary requirements

Never vote for, do business with or be pleasant to anyone who uses the words 'ordinary people'

In other words, to be an adult is to be independent and free through responsibility and discipline. It is to be interdependent with others in a non-coersive manner, but never to be "dependent" like a baby/child is. The whole point, if I understand Bywater and the Christian tradition correctly, is that humans will eventually move (if they take the duty of adulthood upon themselves) into elderhood, that is, mature leadership of the next generation to help them to adulthood. And spoil their children.