I got this email this morning and I'm about ready to boycott Penzey's. - update:  I sent an email letting them know that as soon as they stop shoving their politics down my throat, I'll start shopping with them again.

It reads like this

In our celebration of the one-year anniversary of Marriage Equality we've arrived at Garlic/Yellow and Parsley/Green recipes. If you missed our previous Cayenne/Red and Now Curry/Orange recipes click here:Guacamole, Butter Chicken and Cumin Rice with Saffron or Curried Potato Salad with Craisins. As part of our celebration, now through June 27th with any $5 purchase you can get a free half-cup jar of your choice of any of our featured Rainbow Spices (up to a $6.95 value).

And yes, Marriage Equality is totally about cooking. What separates humans from everything else that came before us here on earth is our million-year symbiotic relationship with cooking. Once we were animals. We could see the benefit in looking out for ourselves, and looking out for the herd, but that was about it. Through tens of thousands of generations of mealtimes spent together around the fire, we became something more. Those trillions of meals created a much larger circle around the fire, and in that process so much more was set in motion.

Without cooking, we would never have come to understand how much we all benefit when we take care of everyone, even those we do not even know. The gift of cooking is the gift of our humanity. Without cooking, there would be no religions teaching us that how we treat others is every bit as important as how we treat ourselves. Without cooking there would be no governments ensuring that even the least privileged among us also have a pathway to success.

Cooking is the best thing ever. And now, through cooking, we've arrived at this day where everyone has the right to be married, where everyone has the right to be a family!

Well, there you have it.  Every time you cook, keep in mind that you made gay mirage possible!  Through evolution.

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Reading Challenge: now reading

A book on Christian Living:  The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment (Tim Challies)

a biography: Crazy Horse and Custer (Stephen Ambrose)

A Classic Novel: Pilgrim's Progress (John Bunyan)

Off-plan: The Hammer of God (Bo Giertz)

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Big for last year -

we remodeled our bathroom.  We hope to put the finishing touches on this weekend.  Phil worked so hard on the part he's doing and it all looks great.  I hope that means more entertaining here.

I finished reading through the Bible in a year.  It only took me seven years.  But I had some really good side trips along the way.

I started a business.  My goal is to be a blessing to families and a help for kids.  And let them pay me to do it.

Knee surgery - after four months I'm finally starting to feel "right" - but I've been so sedentary that I'm way far behind on fitness.

I started serving our church by scheduling volunteers for Sunday School.  Again...a blessing for families and a help for kids.

What's up for 2016 -

Grow my business.  I'm aiming at helping home school families with special needs kids, growing Barton Reading System (for people with Dyslexia) and forming summer enrichment activities.

Starting reading through the Bible again.  This time, using a two-year plan, via "ReadingPlan."

A "goal" is to keep up with reading organization - what I'm reading, what I read.

Part of this is a targeted reading plan - that will give me a structure of what sort of books to be reading, which will give me a little better diversity than I have now.  I'm using Tim Challies' "reading challenge" - who wants to join me?

Almaden Quicksilver - the goal is to hike every trail.

And the other health - use "my net diary" to track food, to lose 1.5 pounds per week - with a focus on "real food."

Work on being a better wife...

and the usual...blog more.

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From Amazon, via Challies - Since most of my reading is on Kindle, I'm going to add an additional challenge - half the books will be paper copies.

web-2016-reading-challenge-red

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We've been considering buying our own stock of "pew Bibles" so that we know that we will have enough ESV Bibles for the Sunday School class that we teach.  We'd bring them with us, or store them in a locked cabinet for our use.

I was looking for Bibles, and (when looking at a book, I find the 1-star reviews more useful than the 5-star reviews) I saw a few 1-stars.  There were a couple of "the print is too small" and "the binding fell apart."

But the majority of 1-star reviews were people who simply reviewed a variety of Bibles in order to mock Christianity.

In what is supposed to be a country based on liberty and religious tolerance, there is an increasing amount of vitriol aimed at Christianity.

It's not going to stop and American Christians are simply not prepared for the coming "worst hard time."

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I'm trying to get my Sunday School class to "get" the importance of Scripture - bringing their Bible to class and memorizing God's Word.

Our March "Sword Passage" is Psalm 23 - which I learned in KJV.  This is a really good illustration about how what you learn when you're young stays with you!  My commitment is that whatever I'm asking them to learn, I'll come to class ready to recite.

Re-learning Psalm 23 in ESV is harder than I thought it would be...

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
    He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name's sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

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I was reciting the chapter today and stopped short.

"even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering..."

I've heard it many times...but today something more...drink offering upon WHAT?

the altar?  no, although that's what I'd always been taught, but it's really, really obvious.

Memorizing the whole book has taught me a lot about the "therefores."  Paul adds on to the add-ons, building on the previous part to make a point.

I had been taught that Paul was referring to becoming a martyr, being tortured and burned for the gospel.

But *offerings* are made by the religious adherents *to* God.  If somebody else sacrifices *you*, it's hardly your offering!

the "drink offering" was not poured on the altar.  It was poured on the sacrifice!

Throughout this letter, Paul has been referring to the fact that he is currently imprisoned for the gospel, and he has been urging the Philippians to act out their faith...  The people that he is writing to are sacrificing themselves for the faith of the gospel.

Jews would have been familiar with the offering system.  The animal sacrifice was made, and burned - a symbol looking forward to Jesus' final sacrifice.  Then, a specific amount of wine (the drink offering) was poured over the burning meat, symbolizing the blood of Christ.  (This is important:) the drink offering was only offered to God after His people entered into their promised land.

Paul knew that he would be killed for his faith; so put the drink offering in the context of that.

His beloved students were given Christ as an example who was obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross...therefore, his students should also obey.  As their obedience becomes their sacrifice Paul himself would be the drink offering adorning that sacrifice.

The drink offering was not poured on the altar.

for me to live is Christ and to die is gain...my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better...

Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering up the sacrificial offering of your faith..."

You also should be glad and rejoice with me...

Paul was ready to die.  As his students laid their faith down, Paul's life would be the libation that adorned their faith.  And he was glad.

And they should rejoice with him.

 

 

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From time to time I run again across this minor prophet in the Old Testament.

Once more reading Amos reminds me that God uses who He wills, including mere shepherds.  Amos was in the fields when God spoke through Him.

This time through, I looked at what God judged these nations for.

"threshing" (we would call it "trashing") Gilead, kidnapping into slavery a whole people, fighting among brothers, targeting the weak (pregnant women,) desecrating the dead...

Then Israel and Judah:

Rejecting the Law of the LORD, and exploiting the poor.

Sexual immorality and idolatry.

And this:

“But you made the Nazirites drink wine,
    and commanded the prophets,
    saying, ‘You shall not prophesy.’

Nazirites were bound by conscience and by oath to certain behavior (abstaining from alcohol, for one) and the state of Israel had forced Nazirites to violate their conscience and break their vow.

Knowing that prophets were the ones who warned the people that they were sinning and God's judgment was on the way, they were told to "shut up"

This impacted me on this day, we live in a state where people of faith are being told by the state that they must violate their conscience, and those who would speak up are being told (in an attempt to shame or scare into silence) to "shut up."

Food for thought...

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A couple of weeks ago I heard a sermon that surrounded "tradition."

There is a tendency in "Modern Evangelicalism" to reject all things "tradition" because...well...tradition.  (NOT saying that's what this sermon said, just making a starting place for this post.)

At the same time, I read a few posts about how practicing Lent might was well mean going back to Rome because...well...tradition.

What both positions mean is "legalism" - by making "tradition" into "Law" we miss the point of both.

Law holds us to a standard.

Tradition (at its best) gives us the platform by which to connect  with 2,000 years of Christians who have gone before us.  Tradition connects us.The "anti-Lent" folks needed to treat all practice of Lent into "law."  That is a straw man that leaves no room for the right use of the practice.Lent, as a spiritual discipline that prepares us for "Holy Week" (including Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Resurrection Day) is a good thing.The "anti-Lent" folks also needed to make a poke at feast days, etc., tying them to the Law, therefore saying that to use a church calendar is crucifying Christ all over again.  Again, a straw man.God have us seasons, and he gave us time.  Life moves in cycles, and it's okay if we use those cycles as periods to mark spiritual time.I don't practice Lent every year.  Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.  Sometimes I fast from something, sometimes I add something, other years I don't.  Sometimes I simply use a Lenten devotional to refresh my spiritual memory of the last days of Christ.  Some years I do that same devotional at other times of the year!Bottom line:  I'm not going to jettison Lent because...tradition; I'm not going to practice Lent because...tradition.For clarity, this year I had every intention of going through a devotional, and it fell apart...after about 2 days.  But, since it's not Law or tradition, I can pick it up anew!

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