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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Quips, Quotes & Questions 8/30/14

Things that I am reading and thinking about -- from this week...

Excellent post by my good friend Nancy on the events in Ferguson: 

"Our spirit should be quick to reach out toward God, not only when it is engaged in meditation; at other times also, when it is carrying out its duties, caring for the needy, performing works of charity, or giving generously in the service of others. Our spirit should long for God and call him to mind, so that these works may be seasoned with the salt of God’s love, and so make a pleasing offering to the Lord of the universe." John Chrysostom (4th century church father)

By committing themselves to meet regularly together, Christians become aware of those who are not gathering together—those who are absent. This is how the community develops the practice of pastoral care and evangelism, the skill of memory for those missing, the virtue of love for the lost, and the notion of the communion of saints. 
Samuel Wells

Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. 
Let all that you do be done in love.
(1 Corinthians 16:13-14)

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the desolate pit,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord. 
(Psalm 40:1-3)

Outstanding call to the American church in light of the events in Ferguson:

The renewal of the Church will be in progress when it is seen as a fellowship of consciously inadequate persons who gather because they are weak, and scatter to serve because their unity with one another and with Christ has made them bold.
Elton Trueblood

"The heavenly city, while it sojourns on earth, calls citizens out of all nations and gathers together a society of pilgrims of all languages. In its pilgrim state the heavenly city possesses peace by faith; and by this faith it lives." 
Augustine of Hippo

Happy are those who consider the poor;
the Lord delivers them in the day of trouble.
The Lord protects them and keeps them alive;
they are called happy in the land.
You do not give them up to the will of their enemies. 
(Psalm 41:1-2)

"Let us leave a little room for reflection in our lives, room too for silence. Let us look within ourselves and see whether there is some delightful hidden place inside where we can be free of noise and argument. Let us hear the Word of God in stillness and perhaps we will then come to understand it." 
Augustine of Hippo

Much of our difficulty as seeking Christians stems from our unwillingness to take God as He is and adjust our lives accordingly. We insist upon trying to modify Him and bring Him nearer to our own image. 
A. W. Tozer

Friday, August 29, 2014

Totes Tomatoes

Well, this summer has provided a BUMPER crop of tomatoes, thanks to my housemate's dad roto-tilling the beds before we planted. We feasted all summer on cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, fat and sassy Heirloom tomatoes and last but not least, some Gilberti tomatoes (which look very much like big ol' chili peppers on the outside, but are meaty and tasty tomatoes on the inside).

From Caprese salad to omelettes to pizza to tacos to a quick thrown together rice-and-vegetables something-or-other, these little red balloons of deliciousness have delivered every time.

I am sad to see them go, so I wanted to go out with a bang. My latest issue of Vegetarian Times gave me just the recipe to do so. This recipe, even for a half batch, required a whole mixing bowl of the season's end of tomatoes. It was crazy to cut up so many and see them get pulverized into a glistening and mouth-watering sauce.

If you want a flavorful dish with lots of color and texture, this does the trick. Enjoy! (And farewell, sweet tomato friends... see you next summer.)

Tomato Curry with Tofu and Vegetables
serves 6 (remember, I made a half-batch)

Curry Sauce
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced (4 tsp.)
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1 medium white onion, diced
5 large tomatoes, chopped (6 cups)
⅓ cup plain yogurt
¼ cup raw cashews
½ tsp. ground turmeric
¼ tsp. garam masala, optional

Tofu and Vegetables
2 Tbs. vegetable oil, divided
1 16-oz. pkg. firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into ½-inch cubes
8 oz. white button mushrooms, quartered (3 cups)
½ cup frozen peas, thawed

1. To make Curry Sauce: Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger, and sauté 30 seconds. Add onion, and sauté 5 minutes more. Add tomatoes, and cook, stirring frequently, 10 minutes. Transfer to blender (I used my immersion blender directly into my soup pot), add yogurt and cashews, and purée until smooth. Return sauce to saucepan, and heat over medium-low heat. Add turmeric and garam masala (if using), and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, and cook 20 to 30 minutes, or until thickened. (I made this sauce in the afternoon, then threw everything else together that night before din din.)

2. Meanwhile, to make Tofu and Vegetables: Heat 1 Tbs. oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu, and sauté 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden-brown. Transfer to plate, and set aside. Heat remaining 1 Tbs. oil in same skillet, add mushrooms, and sauté 5 to 7 minutes.

3. Stir tofu, mushrooms, and peas into Curry Sauce; season with salt, if desired. Cook over low heat 5 minutes, or until heated through.

September 2014, Vegetarian Times p.10

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Quips, Quotes and Questions, 8-24-14

I tend to come across so many thoughtful, humorous, challenging, troubling, encouraging quotes and links in any given week, that I've decided to compile them regularly here...

Many churches sing the hymn, “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy,” but the church is not always generous in dispensing it. God does not dole out mercy like cookies only for good, repentant children. God’s mercy is not conditioned by our response. God is mercy. So, wide is wider than we guess. (David Buttrick)

Reading through the Book of Esther... once Haman tricks King Ahasuerus into eliminating the Jews, there is this simple and telling statement: "The king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city of Susa was thrown into confusion." (3:15) As power is abused, those in control move on, numbed and blissfully unaware, while suffering abounds in their midst.

Jesus is still held in the captivity of middle class respectability. Christians are expected to behave according to culturally sanctioned norms of allegiance, fidelity, obedience and respect…. We have come a long way from the fiery prophetic figure of Nazareth who shocked and disturbed the conventions of his day in the name of justice and liberation. Our respectability has taken a terrible toll on the authentic calling of Christian life. We have lost sight of the deeper vision and lost heart for the passion and enthusiasm of God’s New Reign. (Diarmuid O'Murchu)

Joyful hope is the hallmark of genuine discipleship. We look forward to a future full of hope, in the face of all evidence to the contrary. Hope makes us attentive to signs of the in-breaking of the Reign of God. Jesus describes that coming reign in the parable of the mustard seed…. Though it can also be cultivated, mustard is an invasive plant, essentially a weed…. We can, indeed, live in joyful hope because there is no political or ecclesiastical herbicide that can wipe out the movement of God’s Spirit. Our hope is in the absolutely uncontainable power of God. We who pledge our lives to a radical following of Jesus can expect to be seen as pesky weeds that need to be fenced in. If the weeds of God’s Reign are stomped out in one place they will crop up in another. (Pat Farrell OSF)

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life's roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring."—Martin Luther King, Jr

The final secret, I think, is this: that the words "You shall love the Lord your God" become in the end less a command than a promise. And the promise is that, yes, on the weary feet of faith and the fragile wings of hope, we will come to love him at last as from the first he has loved us--loved us even in the wilderness, especially in the wilderness, because he has been in the wilderness with us. He has been in the wilderness for us. He has been acquainted with our grief. (Frederick Buechner)