Saturday, May 28, 2011



Cam Cardow/The Ottawa Citizen
I liked the Oprah Winfrey show.  Especially after she got away from delving into people's personal lives.  I'm sorry she invited that genre of encouraging people to spill their personal problems and allow an audience of strangers to make commentary and judgments.  I'm sorry she gave Dr. Phil that job.

But she really is the best interviewer, she asks interesting questions and  can get the person to open up better than anyone else.  I liked watching her and Gayle go on a road trip.  I even bought some books just because she liked them.

I had to turn off her second to the last show, even though I liked a lot of her special guests.  I felt like it had turned into worship of Oprah.  But on reflection I thought it's really no different than a retirement or ordination of anniversary party of a colleague, where your friends get up and say nice things about you.  It's just that we don't have as many friends or friends who are as dramatic.

The New York Times has an interesting critique of her spirituality.  The Church of Oprah Winfrey and a Theology of Suffering.  I think it's on the money.  Once when she got on the band wagon of that ridiculous book "The Secret" that claims if we just have enough positive energy only good things will come our way, I wrote a newsletter article debunking it.

But honestly, someone with good Lutheran theology is not going to have a TV show that reaches as many people as Oprah does.  That's the ELCA's job ;-).  But having a message about not being a victim, taking care of yourself, being honest, being true to yourself, doing good for others reach that many this world?  I'll take it.  Well done, Oprah.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Rhubarb Chicken Curry

Yes I have a LOT of Rhubarb and if you don't have a lot you might want to save it for the desserts...but this was REALLY REALLY good. ( I think even Annabelle who hates Rhubarb would like it)  This is my own made-up recipe.

Four boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut up, seasoned to your taste and sauteed in a little olive oil.

2 Tbl olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper chopped
1 clove garlic chopped
1 cup rhubarb, chopped
1/2 cup craisins.
2 carrots, chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup apricot jam
1/4 cup brown sugar (more or less)
1 -2 tbs curry powder
1/2 tsp cumin
a pinch of cayenne pepper if you like a little heat.
salt, pepper to taste

Saute onions and pepper in olive oil until onions are transparent.  Add garlic and rhubarb and cook on med-low for a few minutes.  Add wine, jam, sugar, spices and stir and cook another few minutes.  

Taste it before you add the sugar and add the sugar to your liking.  I prefer a sweeter taste but you make like the tarter flavor.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cook until it turns into a sweet sticky mess.  Add the chicken and serve over rice.  You will see rice in the pan in my picture.  Usually, I have good luck cooking rice with the liquid in these kinds of dishes but I could not get that rice to cook so cooking the rice separately is probably a better bet.

I had a few stalks of asparagus that I picked from the yard and were not enough to serve on their own so I chopped those up and put it in there too but I don't think you could notice them.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I'm Still Here, so What?

Well we all had a good laugh.   And of course I got scolded for laughing.   I wonder if all the people who like to scold on Facebook and twitter dare scold people that much in person?

Well I won't scold.  But I do think what got lost in this joke were the victims of Harold Camping.  A lot of people gave up their jobs, their families, their bank accounts, their lives to follow him and preach his "gospel".  Why would they do that?  Because their jobs, their families, their bank accounts and their very lives gave them no purpose or meaning.  They had no hope and Harold Camping gave them a false hope.  He promised them all their problems would go away today.  And now they have even more problems and no hope at all.  And  it is going to be very difficult for them to listen to anyone who calls themselves a Christian.

So no, it's not really very funny.  It makes our jobs as proclaimers of hope to the hopeless that much more difficult but that much more crucial.    

And are we in the mainstream church all that different than Harold Camping?  Maybe we don't offer an exact date but are we offering some far off pie in the sky instead of real hope and purpose and meaning to people  who having difficulty seeing meaning in their lives today?

I'll never forget the question of a friend whose brother died around Easter.  "Christ is risen" she said, then asked "So what?"

We can't just say "Christ is risen"  We have to answer the question, "So what?"

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sojourners Can't Decide if it's a Good Idea to Welcome Gay Families to Church

I've always had trouble Sojourners.  I would subscribe to their magazine, enjoy a few articles and then get put off by their legalistic tone (yes, friends, Liberals can be legalistic, self-righteous jerks too).  I think they really do think we can save ourselves by being pacifists and giving up stuff for the poor.  That sort of thing always rubs this Lutheran the wrong way.

Well according to Rev Robert Chase in this article LGBT “Welcome” Ad Rejected by Sojourners, Nation's Premier Progressive Christian Org   Sojourners doesn't want to take sides on welcoming gay families to church. 

I find it really strange that an organization that can be so sure of itself and so self-rightous about some things (these are the same kind of people scolding people for being happy about Bin Laden's demise) can't make up their minds about God and homosexuality.  Gee I hope it's not a cynical move to keep evangelical folk who are socially conservative but socially progressive in the movement.  

But even if say, you can't make up your mind about Gay can't take a side about WELCOMING gay families in the church?   

Well this is how I feel about that:

So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth -Revelation 3:15

Mother's Day Prayer - Repost

A lot of people found this prayer helpful last year - I offer it again to use as you wish.

Mother's Day Prayer

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Okay, when I said you all were arrogant,....I didn't mean YOU

So I guess I ruffled a few feathers I said "But those people spouting 'Love your enemies' are just as arrogant and they need to show a little love and forgiveness for those sinners who relish a little revenge".  I guess a lot of people, some of whom I don't even know, thought I was talking about them. 

Like Kevin Blaug at Country Preacher whose FINE essay on "Why I will not celebrate the death of Bin-Laden" was posted on the ELCA blogsite "LivingLutheran"  at the same time mine was.  Just for the record, I agree with what he wrote and I don't think he's arrogant. (And I'm pretty sure I wrote my blog before he even wrote his)

(One little rant before I go-- so someone comments about MY blog on HIS blog.  To that person - You got something to say to me?  Grow a pair and say it to ME!)

Let me get a few things straight.  I WAS NOT out in the streets shouting "USA USA" when Osama died.  I don't do that.  Even at sports events.  But I don't think people who do are horrible people or even bad Christians.  Well actually I think we are ALL bad Christians.  That's kind of my point.  That's why I'm Lutheran.  That's why I really really appreciate grace. 

But I was probably unfair.  Maybe all those people tweeting "Love your enemies" were just fed up with all the celebrating they were seeing.  I don't  follow USA USA people on Twitter or have a lot of  friends like that on Facebook.  Precisely because I don't want to read that crap.    So all I was seeing was Love your enemies, blah blah blah.  And when someone spouted "I don't find the death of a human being funny" after I made a joke about Trump demanding the death certificate, I'd had enough.  COME ON!.  How aggravating to learn that liberals can be just as uptight and self-righteous as right wingers.

The fact is, we all choose the enemy we will/can love.  What's worse, we get proud about loving that enemy, blind to the enemy we cannot/will not love, and judge others who make a difference choice about who they can or cannot love.   I DO IT TOO!

The good news is that we are not saved by loving our enemies. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try to love the bastards.  But maybe we all need to spend a little more time on the logs in own eyes before tweeting about someone else's specks.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

ELCA Malaria Campaign

You can download this 5 minute video to show your congregation, council, women's meeting, whatever from the ELCA.  There's also a 2 minute version if you have an even shorter attention span than me.

Monday, May 2, 2011

On Celebrating the Death of Our Enemy

Don't worry, I'm not going to scold you if you are.  It's complicated.

The first thing that strikes me is how I found out about the death of Osama Bin Laden I logged onto Facebook and read it on everybody's status.  THEN I turned on the news.  This is what life is like today.

It was on Twitter that I was subjected to all tweets quoting "Love your enemy"  blah blah blah.  I was even scolded because I made joke about Trump wanting a death certificate. Sorry I thought it was funny - so did most of my Facebook friends.  Another thing I learned.  I have more uptight friends on Twitter than Facebook.

It's all very easy to quote Jesus about loving your enemy when you are not responsible for protecting an entire country against someone who would destroy the nation.  I know my history.  And Christians were pacifists UNTIL they were in charge.  Then it was more complicated.     It seems to me only Amish get to be real pacifists.  And even their freedom to not participate in this society is protected by people who are willing to kill our enemies.

I don't rejoice in the death of Bin Laden or anybody.  But I surely am not going to cry over it.  Nor am I not going to make jokes.   And it did make me feel good to see Americans pulling together and spontaneously gathering and celebrating, even if it was the death of a human being.  Yes some of it was about revenge, plain and simple.  But I think of it was relief and a sense that in some way, this brings 9/11 to some sort of close. 

Bin Laden was a symbol of our weakness, our vulnerability.  Of course we are kidding ourselves to think this is the end of terrorism.   And there will no doubt be reprisals.

And when the crowds dissipate it will be life and bickering as usual.  And we will have to confess that we are weak and vulnerable.  But those people spouting "Love your enemies" are just as arrogant and they need to show a little love and forgiveness for those sinners who relish a little revenge.  Because life is complicated. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

White Chocolate-Rhubarb Muffins

I figured out with my Cranberry White-Chocolate Bars that white chocolate goes very well with a tart fruit.  Well, it is the RHUBARB season.  And I needed to make a treat for my daughter's 21st Birthday.  

  • 1 1/4 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup rhubarb, chopped fine
  • 1/2 package white chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbl Rum
Preheat oven 425.  Chop rhubarb - put aside in a bowl with rum and 1/4 cup sugar.

Cream 1 cup sugar with butter.  Add two eggs and beat for a couple of minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients (Drain rhubarb first). Do not overmix.  Spoon into lined muffin pan.  Makes a dozen.  Sprinkle the top with sugar.  I used pink sugar.  Bake 25 minutes.