Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Spirituality of Recipes.

(Warning. These are random thoughts being typed out in an attempt to coalesce them for the service this Sunday!)

I like to read cookbooks. I will often sit down with a cup of tea and peruse my latest Nigella Lawson or Jamie Oliver seeking culinary delights.

The trouble with cookbooks though is that the recipes often cover over the difficulty of the actual task and make the fiendishly difficult seem easily obtainable. For me, for a long time it was omelets. For years they always came out scrambled. To see how I finally overcame this debilitating culinary condition read here.

I quickly learned that reading the recipe is not the same as cooking the dish.

Sometimes the recipe has to be modified because of the conditions I am cooking in or the nature of the ingredients. I have a recipe for a Blue Cheese and Walnut bread that I have made many times over the years. One thing I've noticed is that it takes a different amount of flour to get the dough to the correct consistency at different times. The brand of the flour and the humidity of the kitchen all play a part. Those of you who have ever tried to make meringue on a humid day know what I'm talking about.

Sometimes it is very difficult to make it work in life the way it works on paper.

I often heard the bible referred to almost like a cookbook. Bible = Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. The idea is that if you just know what the bible says and what verses to read and apply you can get through anything. I used to believe this too.

I've changed.

Spiritual Formation is more than just memorizing 'Biblical Recipes'. I've tried applying bible verses to my life like band aids on a wound. I've 'Sprayed a little Jesus' over my life without ever dealing with the insides. The bible was never intended to be 'God's Little Instruction Book for Life'. It is a rich complex book full of diverse styles of Literature ranging from Narrative to Poetry. To make it some kind of Instruction Manual does disservice to it.

Also, we are complex, diverse people, everyone unique. To make our spiritual lives about reguritating scripture in a 'One Size fits all' mentality does disservice to the wonderful creations God made us to be.

Reading the recipe is not cooking.

Learning the book is not living the life.

As I've sat with this idea over the last few days and even as I've sat at my computer and begun to process my thoughts by typing I've discovered some anger that I didn't know was there. I want to throw the anger outwards and blame others for it, but the truth is it was I who bought into this simplistic view of the spiritual life. It was I who was afraid to question. And it is I who is growing.

Sometimes the dough needs more flour than the recipe says to reach the right consistency, sometimes it needs less. The specifics change but the goal remains constant.

I see in my life how I've been afraid to let go of 'specifics', thinking them somehow more important than the goal.

I'm changing.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

now bring us some figgy pudding.......

Friday I am planning to spend the day, making Christmas Pudding (figgy pudding) and taking defensive driving. If I'm feeling brave I also might make 'Dishwasher Lasagna' - for more information about that click here.

But here are some little known facts about Christmas Pudding (with thanks to Nigella Lawson for the info)

Historically the Christmas Pudding was seen as a religious affront. In 1664, Oliver Cromwell banned it as a "lewd custom," considering the rich pudding "unfit for God-fearing people," and the Quakers rather gloriously condemned it as "the invention of the scarlet whore of Babylon." I think the Quakers make Christmas Pudding sound rather more exciting than it is, but I shall try to cook a Christmas Pudding that the scarlet whore of Babylon would be truly proud of.

(And don't tell anyone, but the version most English people make does not have figs in it anymore!!!)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Blogging Dearth

I have lots of great ideas for blogging.

Creative pictures too.

Trouble is, Advent and Christmas are fast approaching like a lumbering behemoth trampling everything in their path.

And I'm not ready to tame that beast.....the Cages are not finished yet-

I still have service outlines to fill in
Advent liturgies to compose
Soloists to find
Conflicts to avoid

Consequently something has fallen by the wayside. And as I don't have Internet at my apartment and I don't want to be blogging in my office at midnight, ideas for posts have been jettisoned. Pictures have been deleted. Tasks have been left undone.

Trapping and Killing the beast of Advent feels like all I have time for.

Call me Ahab

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

BoardGameGeek Convention Day 4

For day 3 click here, day 2 here and day 1 here.

The last day of the Con (teardrop whimper deep sigh!)

Quotes of the Day

"Ugly Kittys need love too"
"The Rabbit is not a cat"
"You can do it with three!"

Games played:

Pick and Pack - A very enjoyable and unique two player game. The designer Simon taught this too me, and I won (though whether he let me remains to be seen LOL) I bought this game the day before on somebody else's reccomendation, but it was nice to be taught it rather than have to read the rules!

Felix - A repeat play of this game! This time I taught it. Lots of fun, but this time I lost badly!

Lumberjack - The game looks impressive to passers by, but the actual game play is not that great.

Race for the Galaxy - This was one of the three 'hot' games at the Convention. The other two being Galaxy Trucker and Agricola. It was o.k. It plays as a more complex San Juan. I felt out of my depth most of the game and didn't really pay attention what anyone else was doing and yet somehow I tied for 2nd place!!!

BoardGameGeek Convention Day 3

For day 2 click here For day I click here

Another full day complete with a massed version of 'The Match Game' (Or 'Blankety Blank' to us Brits) - I also had a minor winning streak this day, winning 4 games, three of which I had never played before :)

Three quotes of the day

"Free Monopoly with every $10 purchase" - said by a vendor at the Flea Market desperate to make sales

"A Minuet is compulsory during 'Fluffy Bunny Tea Party'." and "It's Death by Powdered Sugar!"

Games played (For more info click the link):

Arkadia - This game was on my list to try at the convention. It was ok, but probably not one I would purchase.

Geistertreppe - A light children's game, fun as a filler.

Fire - How did I get talked into playing this twice? Once was more than enough!

Uptown - The Distributors were demo-ing this game, and whoever won the game won a copy of the game! I now have it in my collection, due to some nifty tile playing on my part :)

Cuba - Another game released at Essen. Very similar in feel to Caylus, but slightly more chaotic. I was pleasantly delighted to win this game at my first play!

Los Mampfos - It's a stupid children's game about pooping donkeys! And I won!!!!!

Cash a Catch - A game of buying and selling fresh fish. It was ok but there was nothing in it very original.

Master Thieves - I purchased this game after the convention last year and it is the most expensive game I own. It was fun to play it and teach it again, and it was even more fun that I won!!!

Fluffy Bunny Tea Party - A prototype game by Marc (who designed Honey Pot which I played the first day. It was interesting and everyone laughed a lot and adopted strange british accents, I'm not totally sure how much of a game there is underneath the laughter. I'd need to play it more to see.

Quelf - More of a group 'experience' than a game. It generated a lot of laughter and comments from passers by, but we did quit the game early as it was getting tedious (plus it was past 2am by this time!)

BoardGameGeek Convention Day 2

For Day 1 click here

I played less games on day 2, but played more complex ones, plus we had the 2 hour puzzle hunt to contend with.

Quote of the day "Oh look, it's my 'Special Friend'!"

So here is what I played (click on the links for more info):

Notre Dame - Each player manages an area of town near the cathedral. The challenge is improving your quarter with limited with resources without being overcome by rats! I was infested early on in this game and never really recovered. I ordered this game when I got home Sunday night.

Shogun - A wonderful game that took us over 2 hours to play. I'm no good at it but it's lots of fun.

Njet - A nice twist on a trick taking game from one of my favorite designers.

Maharaja - An interesting area control game, that looks visually apealling but I have discovered I suck at!

And now a movie clip of Steve and Greg in full battle!!!

BoardGameGeek Convention Day 1

Well I'm back! I'm exhausted but I'm back.

I'm gonna post a little bit about what games I played each day and post some pictures and some quotes.

But first some statistics

In 4 days -

I played 29 Games, competed in a 2 hour puzzle hunt and a 2 hour mass version of The Match Game.

Of the 29 Games - 24 of them were totally new to me, and there was a total of 27 different games.

I came home from the Convention with 10 New Games and 2 T-shirts, and I ordered 2 other new games online sunday night!

So here is DAY ONE! (Click the links for more info about the games)

Quotes of the Day

"My ass kicking monk is gonna take out that whore!"
"Show me your junk you gypsy whore!"

Honey Pot - A two player abstract game that I was taught (and lost) By the designer.

The Circle - One of the crop of new releases from Essen. We stopped playing as the group found it rather dry and slow moving.

Saturn - a visually appealing Dexterity Game

Ruise and Bruise - A card game I wanted to try and have since purchased :)

Piratenbilliard - A dexterity game - silly but fun

Burg Appenzell - Another Essen Game. A Mix of a memory game combined with the old classic 'Stay Alive'

Die Siedler von Catan, Dus Wurfelspiel - Settlers as a Dice Game? It didn't work for me. It felt more like multiplayer solitare.

Felix the Cat in the Sack - the Essen release from Friedemann Friese(who was at the convention) Lots of fun and bluffing in a small box.

R-Eco A Light fluffy card game, ok as a filler I guess, but there are better fillers out there.

Kutschfahrt zur Teufelsburg - a wonderful game of bluffing when played with the right crowd!!! This game was responsible for the two quotes of the day :)

Fire - another dexterity game, it looks good but there are better games out there.

Here are some pics :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

BGG CON Here I Come

So I leave today for my board game convention in Dallas. I got up this morning, packed, sorted out a Toll Violation with my EZ Tag and now I'm sitting updating my blog at the car wash!

I'm driving to Dallas this afternoon, I meet friends for dinner (Yay!) then pick Steve up at the airport (Double Yay!)and then head to the hotel for lots and lots of board gaming (Yay!)

I'll post pics when I get back to H-town.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Firework Fotos

I went to the Texas Renaissance Fair yesterday. I didn't take many pics as I've been before and it's mainly the same. This time though we stayed for the fireworks so I got to try out the firework setting on my digital camera.

I'm quite impressed with the photos considering I didn't use a tripod! Just double click to see the pics full size as this small size doesn't really do them justice!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Goats! Goats! Goats!

One Day, Three Movies

Blow Dry

From the writer of 'The Full Monty'. Watch Josh Hartnett do a terrible English accent and Rachel Griffith ( who I love from the show 'Brothers and Sisters') do a great one. To me this was a typical British comedy - funny but with moments of real emotion and pathos thrown in. I enjoyed it, but it should have been the last movie of the day rather than the first.

For The Bible Tells Me So

A powerful and timely look at Christianity and Homosexuality. Earlier this week Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist church were fined $10.9 million for campaigning at a funeral of a marine who died in Iraq. I need to write a post sometime about the difference between 'Free Speech' and 'Hate Speech', but anyway back to the movie!

It was powerful and thought provoking. It examined the bible texts on the issue intermingled with scientific research and stories of families and how their lives had been touched by the this issue. I was very thought provoking and moving and should be on most churches viewing lists. I also think it should be required viewing for anyone entering ministry. Go see it!!!


Phillip Seymour Hoffman is one of my favorite actors and he was incredible in this. The movie is quite slowly paced but I found myself drawn into the characters, though there were moments when I couldn't tell if Capote was being a) manipulative, b) helpful or c) a drama queen. The reality is probably d) All of the above.