29 July 2008


Quotes excerpted from Wikipedia:
In his writings, Rob Bell [Mars Hill, Grand Rapid, MI] affirms truth regardless of the source, saying "I affirm the truth anywhere in any religious system, in any worldview. If it's true, it belongs to God." However, he acknowledges Scripture as the authoritative source of truth in the Mars Hill Bible Church statement of narrative theology.
Bell says, "This is not just the same old message with new methods. We're rediscovering Christianity as an Eastern religion, as a way of life. Legal metaphors for faith don't deliver a way of life. We grew up in churches where people knew the nine verses why we don't speak in tongues, but had never experienced the overwhelming presence of God." Bell's comments about Christianity as an "Eastern" religion come from his association with
Ray Vander Laan who compares and contrasts Greek ("Western") thinking with Hebrew ("Eastern") thinking.

In a Chicago Sun Times article entitled The Next Billy Graham?, Bell says of his critics:
"When people say that the authority of Scripture or the centrality of Jesus is in question, actually it's their social, economic and political system that has been built in the name of Jesus that's being threatened," Bell says. "Generally lurking below some of the more venomous, vitriolic criticism is somebody who's created a facade that's not working...But I love everybody and you're next!" he says, giggling. "That's how I respond to criticism."

Isn't it these social, economic, and political systems that have troubled us? Is it that truth, mercy, justice, and God-given wisdom have been squelched, ignored, buried, stuffed in the name of supporting these I-beams of the infra-structure of ministry and our church community?

When did God need spin, image management, and political correctness to build his kingdom? He is the rock we stand on.

I don't think that Rob Bell has it all right. I don't think Bill Hybels or Rick Warren or Ed Young have it all right. But, sometimes little people like us recognize truth--it's that very large neon blinking sign that God has placed in our road--over there just to the right of the bushel we want to hide under!

I'm not advocating becoming the voice crying out in the wilderness--but when God gives you or me a glimmer of a truth, let's share it. He has allowed our hearts to be troubled so that we continue to seek his truth and if we look we can find a little bit more of it each day.

Today IS the first day of the rest of your life! God is not through with us yet!

You know, it feels really good to have a growth spurt, yet we shrink back from change and the unknown. How else can we grow? It is not always painful. Sometimes you just have to shout. "Whe-e-e-e-e-e!"

13 July 2008


The weather we have been having! My train stopped 5 miles outside of our village on Thursday night because of weather conditions... Their orders came from Union Pacific in Omaha. We were there for one hour. After 30 minutes an amazing cloud shelf slowly passed over our train with high winds in its wake. They had predicted hail, but it didn't materialize.

This is the 4th or 5th storm this summer that has brought down tree branches and limbs, scattering leaves across roadways and yards. We have escaped damage, so far, and our grass is very green without having to resort to the sprinkling system.

I don't really mind the rain. I love a dark, rainy day. Makes me a little moody and happy to be inside with a good book and time for a nap.

The job ends on Tuesday, and it is past time. Still very slow, with an occasional blip of activity. The people have warmed up to me--said some nice things--but I sure would hate for this to be a permanent job. The consensus is that it is so SAFE and the benefits so outstanding that no one leaves. Their little hearts and souls atrophy and it is obvious that inactivity breeds contempt and pettiness...

I keep gaining weight. Have finally decided that it is because after a 12-hour day I arrive home, eat a full meal, and fall asleep shortly thereafter. The very worst for my metabolism.

Missing those little girls in Europe and that little guy in Omaha. They just grow and change so very quickly. We have a trip to Omaha in less than two weeks, but it will be mid-November before we get to Europe. Unless a very miraculous fare discount falls my way.

A full, sunny summer day ahead. Have to spend time gathering stuff for the community garage sale next weekend. What a relief to clear out more STUFF.

11 July 2008


From time-to-time I catch up on Alexis & Jennifer's Whatever radio show by reading the synopsis on their website. And, sometimes I wander over to their blogs... Alexis Stewart is a dedicated baker and does a phenomenal job with presentation and delivery! Recently she mentioned peanutbutter shortbread and linked to the cookbook, which I immediately ordered from Amazon used books.

I have been making traditional shortbread for many, many years and it is always a hit. Just don't tell anyone how much butter--if they can't figure it out, they don't deserve to know.

This peanutbutter shortbread recipe is way, way over-the-top. My family and friends love it! Last night I executed a BIG IDEA, with a pretty good result. I divided the recipe in half and added peanutbutter to half and melted semi-sweet chocolate chips to the other. It didn't turn out quite as I expected, but still not too shabby. The chocolate half [on the bottom] condensed and crisped a bit--more like a candy/brownie layer. I will try it again with less chocolate, a different form of chocolate, like Swiss-process or good old Hershey's cocoa...

Anyway, here is the recipe, with appropriate credit...

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup creamy peanutbutter
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt

1. Beat together butter, sugar, peanutbutter, and vanilla.
2. Whisk together flour and salt.
3. Mix wet and dry ingredients thoroughly.
4. Press into 8" square baking pan*.
5. Press fork tines into a pattern over the top.
6. Refrigerate until solid.
7. Bake at 275 degrees for 75 minutes, or until edges are golden.
8. Cool 10 minutes, and cut with a pastry scraper or other flat, sharp edge.

I usually cut into 2" squares, but because this is such a rich cookie, you might want to diagonally cut each square. Makes 16 or 32, depending on size.

*Buy a Calphalon 8" square baking pan--TJMaxx and Marshall's have them for $7.99. The edges are completely square and make a perfect bar cookies with no funky curves.