Wednesday, November 26, 2008

something, i dunno

the fog creeped back into the shallow foothills every morning, back into the dark jungle. slowly the the hills were revealed, sloping down like fingers stuck into the ground. from the steps of my quanset hut i could see a patch of grass and dirt with a few chickens poking the ground, the women walking to and fro, the stalls of the market with dried fish and bananas and beyond the deep green of the jungle. occasionally we heard the the blades of an incoming helicopter whipping the air, or the popping of a gun. somehow our small battalion had been lost or forgotten. this town, was hidden and forgotten. i am the chaplain, and the soldiers my flock. i am the shepherd, and these men are my sheep.

Monday, November 24, 2008

sermon from yesterday

so, yesterday i preached. actually it was quite a weekend. on friday and saturday we had another _________________, held at brennan's in the west end. it was a huge success, and a lot of fun. then yesterday i preached. fortunately i had preached this sermon before, at school. although i changed quite a bit of the sermon i was still comfortable enough with the text to preach...anyway, here is the link to it if anyone wants to listen. sermon.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

_____ version deux

so another success...there were some hiccups to be sure, and if you are brave enough to ask, i might just tell you what those were. but for the most part it was pretty smooth. the second night was better than the first, at least in terms of flow. although the response from the guests were more mixed on the second night; i think though that was perhaps due to the type of guests that we had on the second night - more foodie types. anyway, both nights were a blast and i am looking forward to the next.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

basil and licorice

so, i have been saying - for some time now - that basil has a hint of licorice in it. and, i have had many doubters.
the experiment: next time you are in a supermarket, or a farmers market, whatever, take a basil leaf and fold it over, pressing it between your thumb and forefinger, then smell. that smell, at the back of the overwhelming basilly smell, is licorice.
and now finally i have some affirmation.

Monday, September 1, 2008

feast pt 2

and if the aforementioned food editor would write a review this is what it would say.


found this interesting...apparenty, the food editor from st. louis magazine came to a certain event that was put on this past weekend. and this is what he wrote. he would write something like this in anticipation, and he would probably write a review of it at a later point. so, these _____ground things are popping up all over the place i guess.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


pictures will be forthcoming, but this past weekend i put together the first _____ground restaurant in the st. louis area. now, it may have happened and i just didn't know about it. but from what i was told by one of my esteemed customers, this was the first. and hopefully not the last. there are lots of ideas that i would like to put into place, cool locations, interactive menu's, fully educational experiences. the down side to all of this was that i cost my family nearly 300 dollars. we are not in the position to lose 300 bucks on any given weekend. from a business angle however "_____" made nearly 200 bucks. i don't want to get rich doing this but i would love it if there was a way i could make some money - support my fam - while doing what i really enjoy doing. i suppose we shall see.

last weekend i preached. i preached on genesis 48: this is the story of jacob blessing josephs two sons, ephraim and manasseh. jacob pulls a switcharoo and crosses his hands, giving the greater blessing to the younger of the two boys. joseph flips out. it occured to me that we are often much like joseph, we demand that god bless us a certain way, and if he doesn't we react with anger. there is this assumption, stated or not, that we are the ones that have our best interest at heart, not god, and therefore we know what we need. so we demand that god bless us according to our needs. i need this, and if you don't bless me in this way, then you really don't love me and you really don't care. this is such a human impulse and i fall prey to it all the time. it routinely exposes my fundamental doubt about the goodness of god.

it feels good to put something up here. now that i am in school i have several hours at a time sitting in class during which i can, there will be more.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

retiring the clogs, etc.

two days ago i recieved my new clogs, the mario batali bistro edition. still orange, but now with an improved grippy sole on the bottom. no more slipping. i am working at another restaurant in town. this one is called niche. a contemporary american bistro. today is my second day and i am running the lunch station, first day of lunch. yikes stripes!
anyway, i will write more later.
i am leading worship on sunday. this also is another first. i am a bit terrified of it. after all, how does one lead others in worship when he himself finds worship to be elusive and difficult to experience?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

too long

it's been too long since i have written something on here, and i have a lot of things to write about: the end of my/our trip to seattle, father's day, the death of a close friend, an iron and wine concert, various ice cream making experiments, the impending death of my "c" key on my computer keyboard, and a reahearsal dinner catering gig in a week which should be a blast...oh well, i'll do it later.
in the meantime for all of the facebookers, enjoy this article from slate on facebook etiquette.

Monday, May 26, 2008

first service (and everything else in parentheses)

yesterday, up before 7 with the sun leaking through the plastic shades. showered and walked to the coffee shop around the corner. (is there a corner without one here?) waited for jay-thomas to pick me up. we got to grace sometime after 8. the church is a seventh day adventist church, perfect situation - it's empty on sundays. it is perched on a gentle slope on capitol hill, surrounded by houses and deep green. i stood in the parking lot and talked with lee grooms, the church's administrator. in the lobby of the church were bulletins and sheets of information, some explaining how the diaconate ministry of the church worked, another giving ten ways in which people could responsibly care for the earth. (it is really time that people stopped rejecting environmental consciousness as a by-product of the sixties, or a the ravings of the fringe left - this is a stewardship issue, and important to any believing christian) church started at 9, and people continued to slowly file in till around 915. the first service was primarily older members, families with kids. the younger crowd comes to the 11 o'clock service.
michael gave the welcome and call to worship. absolutely everything is written out in the bulletin; it's a bulletin for novices. and when it comes to church it seems that this city is filled with novices of this type. the music has been mostly rewritten by the church's music guy, phil peterson. i didn't get a chance to meet him yesterday. he's recovering from an attack from a k9 police dog. apparently he was mowing his lawn at 2 in the morning (by all reports a very phil thing to do) and was bitten by the dog that had somehow gotten loose.
john's sermon was the first, possibly second, in a series on personal holiness. he made a number of caveats, "some of you may have been in situations where calls to personal holiness have been a destructive thing." (i can just hear my mother now, "hmmm.")
regardless of whether or not someone has grown up in the church or claims to be a christian, the issue of holiness is an essential one. it seems to me that a worthwhile distinction ought to be made between personal morality and godly holiness. the latter is what we are called to by scripture the former is a cultural construct in which we can attain our own self-righteousness. my brother mentioned to me that he felt like the key to life was being a good person, and trying hard not to be harmful. funny thing is, he said, i'm probably a better person than a lot of christians out there. and he's probably right. of course, that isn't the point. the reason that john haralson had to make certain caveats is that for too long the church in america has confused morality with the substance of christianity. in other words, to be christian is to be moral. the obvious problem with this is that there are plenty of people who are moral without being christian. and if someone can be a moral person without christianity than why bother with christianity. easy answer, you don't. this is the result of a confusion. the real issue, and the one that i posed to my brother is not, are you a good person, but who do you think Jesus was/is? anybody who presents christianity and makes it about morality and not about Jesus has the wrong christianity.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

23 hours

i have been in seattle now for nearly a full day. three things have struck me: the lushness of it's vegetation, the uniform un-uniformity of it's people, and the odd geometry of it's buildings. i feel as if i have left my home a long way off, and yet i feel at home.
last night i tooled around with two young guys from the church, jon and brian. we went to a sandwich spot for dinner in the capitol hill area, honeyhole. the two dudes were from santa cruz california and arrived in seattle, each for different reasons. brian for music, jon for grad school. as is the case with all well laid plans, grad school has been nixed and the music career has stumbled. after dinner we walked a good distance to jon's work, a coffee shop, to obtain free coffee. we hung out there and talked movies, music and girls. there was a light drizzle at times, so light the rain looked like snowflakes in the light of the streetlamps.
we had tickets for indiana jones at 1140 at a theater downtown. the movie began at two oclock stl time, and i had much trouble keeping the ol' eyelids open. if i were writing a review, i would give the movie a c. it was disappointing. i think it is very difficult to re-ignite franchises like indiana jones which operated in such a different cinematic mileau. for all of their excess, there was a kinetic energy to those movies. and they were real. this movie seemed to fall back on the ease of cgi, and cliched dialog.
russian dominatrix: (spoken in a thick russian brogue) "doctor jones you must decipher ze code."
indy: "it's written in an ancient script!"
"dr. jones, i sink you underestimate vat i will do to you if you don't do vat i vant. i always get vat i vant."
"this heiroglyph...its the from the temple of montezuma. it's a snake." indy raises his eyebrow and adjust his hat. "what's a snake? the amazon. and this...still water. it's the lake of dead. we have to go to amazon and hurry!"
i think i might have preferred to have seen indiana moans and the temple of poon. a "film" advertised on a downtown marquis nearby the theater. for you innocents out there, pretty sure that one was a porno. and i'm totally kidding. temple of poon. sheesh. what have i got myself into here?
i find some pleasure in the fact that smoking seems to be decidedly counter-cultural here. and in a way that is nothing short of brilliant, given that seattle defines itself as counter-cultural. however, if we ended up moving here i think it would eventually disappear from the list of my personal vices. for one, it's simply too expensive. i just can't fathom putting a line item for smokes into my fundraising support letter. i am not above such things however.
more later.

Friday, May 23, 2008

photo albums

okay. can't just randomly put pictures up on the blog, wouldn't work very well. so...check out the photos on facebook.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

a day in the life of a kitchen

the restaurant is only open for dinner during the week. chef gets in around 9ish. runs through the receipts for the night before and checks stock. around 10 o'clock a supplier shows up. general supply stuff, bulk items: trash bags, potatoes, towels. then two wine merchants. a short frenchman, and another fellow from sonoma. "that's in northern california." he tells me. i nod, never heard of sonoma, or northern california for that matter. spread out on one of the steel tables, in front of the bunn coffee maker with the morning pot still steaming are four bottles of french wine. from languedoc. two reds, a white, and rose. the latter is pronounced rose-eh. these are for sampling. life should be so hard. the little french man asked me "do you work here?" as i walked through the door. "he's my brother", i pointed to chef. "would you like a glass then." it's eleven o clock in the morning, what do you think? i snatched a long stem and held it out. he delicately poured some savignon blanc, twisting it at the last moment. "thank you." with my fingers on the stem and pinky resting around the edge of the base i swirled the wine, freeing the scent. i smelled the boquet like a bonafied asshole. (hmmm, is it me or do i detect some hints of guava fruit and cucumber - probably just me)
"is there a bar here, or is it table service." the man from sonoma asks. i glance up from my glass, where the wine is still swirling around the walls of the glass: "table service." i said it like i owned the place. "it's an out of towner question." i think he meant it's a man from sonoma, northern california, question. whatever. the little frenchman and the man from sonoma pack up their gear. plugging the bottles with corks. shake hands, and tell chef they'll see him later.
a bank lady comes by about some chamber of commerce business. another supply guy, this time a local produce man. and then some time after noon another wine man. this time no samples.
meanwhile chef preps a few items for the evening, including a stinging nettle veloute. "stinging nettles?" i asked chef. i saw patrons, faces swollen and purple, large welts on their tounge trying to swill down the last drops of his delicious poison soup. "ah yeah." that was his explanation. "wait, stinging nettles. they sting you. and you're making a soup with stinging nettles. i'm missing a key piece of information methinks." "cooking takes the irritant out." still, i'm skeptical. also, i don't own a restaurant, and have never been to cooking school. (just tasted it. yeah, it's good.) chalk one up for the "i don't know what i'm talking about" column.
after the nettles comes a trip to the store. first to the cash and carry and then the co-op. cheese lady jane says, "hi chef" as we walk in. i nearly said hi back to her. chef talked shop for a second, and scored a sample of some new blue cheese that had just come in. she sliced off a few thin shavings and handed them over. it was beautiful. the cheese was soft and nearly melted in my mouth, the salt and sourness of the vein worked well against each other. d-lish. i still tasted the savory sourness in the corners of my mouth nearly an hour later.
back at the restaurant chef smashed some lemongrass, releasing their essential oils. this, he said, was for a broth in which he would brine the pork belly. once he had roughly chopped the lemongrass he added it to water, wine, orange juice and onions in order to make the brine.
set out to thaw: lobster tails and halibut. one last thing to make, the braising sauce for the halibut.
at roughly one o clock chef brought out some cheeses from walla walla, three goat cheeses: fresh chevre, herbed chevre, and a larzac with grape leaf ash slashing through the middle. the latter had a sharp bite to it, reminiscent of the blue i had earlier. we made little sandwiches with some of the fresh bread baked at the restaurant. i, for one, was famished. and it took the edge off. sometime near 230 we walked a few blocks to a new york style pizzaria. a decidedly different culinary mileau to be sure. and refreshing. you know. college kids. stoners. the joint during work and pbr after type crowd. chef, his assistant, and i munched on a large, foldable pepperoni liberally sprinkled with spicy basil, red pepper flakes and "parmesan (cough cough) cheese."
here's a picture of chef: more later.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

walla walla = water water

my brother and i made the trek yesterday as soon as i got off the airplane in boise. what seemed uneventful at first become a tad adventurous when the windshield wipers stopped working mid downpour. the trip to walla walla took four hours, through narrow passes and over the blue mountain range. we caught up on our dysfunctional family, and generally shot the shit.
we arrived at waters winery sometime around 5ish, and after a quick wine sampling and a tour of the place we settled down to prep work. we were preparing a five course meal for some hotshots out of napa valley. white asparagus and fried egg yolks - course one. mix green salad with herbed chevre and asparagus tips - second course. third, wild salmon and a spicy asian slaw. fourth - grass fed beef on risotto. final dish was just a cheese plate of local cheeses. periodically throughout the process of cooking and serving the meal, justin, the owner of
vapiano winery, would bring a bottle of some good wine for us to try. nothing less than a hundred dollar bottle. quite a bit of wine was drunk along with the excess food left over.

Monday, May 19, 2008

off to seattle

today we are hopping on an airplane and heading off on the first leg of our trip. first to phoenix, then to boise, then to seattle. tomorrow i will be helping my brother put on a private dinner for 7 at a winery in walla walla. then we'll spend the night at the winery. pretty stoked about that.
i'm a bit afraid about the flight with the kids. worried that we are going to be that couple with the screaming babies. oh well.
also, a little goodie for the peoples. if you want a bootleg copy of the swell season show at the pageant on may 6th (it was fantastic!) go here.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

radiohead: scotch mist

the show was pretty great. i think it's one of those things that will grow in my memory at time goes by. anyway, for your viewing and listening pleasure. enjoy.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

a respite from the storm

for those who are stressed out. for those who didn't make it to bon iver some time ago. enjoy:

Saturday, May 3, 2008

greetings to the family. hope you enjoy this, eva has a special message for yaya, papa john, jenny, todd, jackson and jaymo at the end. love ya and thanks for helping make eva's birthday special.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

the rest of the concert

Freedom Night St. Louis

here is the beginning of the cathedral's set on saturday night. more will be up soon. enjoy.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

a christian living christianly is a human living humanly

i am still in process of wrapping my pea brain around what it means to be a christian living christianly or a human living humanly. i begrudgingly admit that it is not possible to be all things at all times. although i would love to be a farmer, an urban developer, a cattle wrangler, a chef, perhaps even a professional bocce player. alas, i can't be all of those things. despite the fact that doing all of them, and doing all them well seem to be what it means to be a christian living christianly. (or a human living humanly)
yesterday was our first pick up for the food co-op that we joined. in our bag of goodies was a beautifully wrapped package of chevre (for the uninitiated, chevre is the fancy french name for goat's cheese). so, later on that evening my wife was looking up all the local farms where our food came from. it turns out that our chevre came from a place called heartland creamery, and lo and behold, all the profits from their dairy farm and creamery goes to support a ministry they run which supports troubled families. people, how awesome is that! i couldn't believe it. so we kept digging. farm after farm were run by people who held biblical principles as their basis for humane farming. no pesticides, no hormones, no tiny mesh cages for chickens to be imprisoned in...on and on. the reason why these farmers farmed the way they did is that they believed that scripture called them to farm in a way that protected and utilized the natural process of things. these people are examples of what it means to be christians living christianly. it is all too easy to think that what it means to be a christian is to believe a few fanciful things, live morally, vote republican...these kinds of things. but the fact is that a christian living christianly, or a human living humanly, understands that to believe in jesus is to see how every aspect of our life has ethical obligation embedded within it. and ethics is not simply a matter of public behavior, but a wholistic understanding of what it means to be in god's world. that is why the myopic focus of the american church on a few particular behaviors is so destructive, because it fails to see that the call to be christlike affects everything from how we farm, and treat our animals, to foreign policy and economics.
the other cool thing about these farms is that they are here in missouri. i envision a day when i am able to take my kids, or kids from the inner city, out to these farms and teach them that about what it means to be a farmer farming christianly.
here the csa that we are a part of: fair shares
here is heartland creamery, check out their ministry.
here are some other local farms: pilgrims' acres, troutdale farm, greenwood farms and hale farms

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

beauty and justice

so, this saturday our ijm chapter (that's pretty unofficial as far as i know - we are just four people that care about justice) at covenant are putting on a benefit concert. pretty excited about it. i am supposed to say something between acts and one of the things that strikes me is the contrast between a bunch of hip twenty thirty somethings swilling drinky drinks and listening to good tunes and young girls enslaved in brothels. two more disparate things i do not think could exist in the world. but there you go. through the one we hope to effect the other.
surprisingly i don't think the spheres of justice and beauty are all that far apart. rather they are two faces of one coin. or two petals of one flower. in beauty we know what god loves, what he celebrates and what he has made us to enjoy. by exposing ourselves to beauty we begin to get a picture of what the end of justice is. in experiencing beauty we know what it is to long for disordered things to become ordered. in beauty we see the end product of justice. things made right. things made beautiful.
certainly there are those who have articulated these things more profoundly than i, but i cannot help to be conscious of the fact that we are with one hand firmly planted in the mud and muck of a fallen world and with the other reaching upward toward a future hope of things made right.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

the month of may will be the greatest!

so, yeah. it's true. my daughter's third birthday. two concerts: the swell season and radiohead w/ grizzly bear. end of the semester. trip to phoenix, boise and seattle. lookin' forward to it all.
pretty excited about the radiohead show. was not really familiar with grizzly bear, but they seem pretty cool, here is a clip of their recent appearance on conan thanks to pitchfork:

Saturday, April 19, 2008


so, it's angela's fault. now i myface. or is it spacebook? facespace? i don't know. it's fun though. another time waster. now its twitter i need to do? sheesh people. i can't keep track. how do people get anything done. online social networking is the new handshake i guess.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

my soviet inheritance

i spent a year in russia back in 2000-2001. i remember one of my students used the phrase, "our soviet inheritance" to describe the way in which the collective consciousness of russians had been shaped by the seventy years of communist rule. i was struck by that phrase. it was profound. and i have often used that phrase as a template for thinking about my own personal history...
yesterday i sat in one of the pews at old orchard. i was waiting for moment when i would be called up before that company of men to come under their care. for nearly three hours my stomach growled and i felt uneasy, alternating between great fear and sadness. i wanted to cry. i went outside to smoke. i went to the bathroom three times. i drank a lot of water. i was nervous. it was just two presbytery meetings ago that my father, under threat of excommunication, demitted himself, that is excused himself from the oversight of this same group of men that i was asking to oversee me. i was actually scheduled to come under care that same day that my father left. as nervous as i was yesterday, i cannot imagine how i would have felt back in october. perhaps that was a grace of god that he spared me that experience.
it was an odd moment, and fraught with a potent irony that i felt in my very bones. there is an inheritance that we wrestle with, the inheritance of our parent's failures, the inheritance of silence, of abuse, and yes, an inheritance of grace.

Friday, March 28, 2008

belief in an age of apathy

i would be the first to admit that perhaps i am arrogant enough to try to add something to tim keller's literary project in defense of christian belief. but the thing is, i think his subtitle is wrong. the subtitle to his new book, the reason for god, is "belief in the age of skepticism." and i think it's wrong. now, hear me out before you call me a heretic. it is undoubtedly true that we live in a skeptical age, and much of that skepticism is aimed at religious belief, christianity in particular. but that skepticism is really just intellectualized cynicism, and that cynicism has produced apathy toward belief of all stripes. what i am saying is that the man or woman you meet on the street may be well inclined toward skepticism, but that skepticism comes from cynicism born out of malfunctioning institutions, one of which is the organized church. the end result of this cynicism is that belief in anything, much less god, is not really possible. therefore the battle is not over who has the best arguments, or really if you can defend the reasonableness of christianity - although i think that it is vital to do so - the real challenge is to so rattle this embedded cultural cynicism as to awaken people from their intellectual malaise.
during the q + a time that keller had after his speech at google a young man came and asked him a question. at the end of his question he said, quite directly, that none of keller's arguments really mattered because he simply didn't believe the existence of god had any direct impact on him. this is the ultimate example of the apathy that i am talking about. it says, to paraphrase, "frankly, my evangelizing friend, i don't give a damn." this is a far more difficult thing to combat because it's so nebulous and undefined. it would be one thing if the task of the evangelist was to give reasonable answers to difficult questions, but it seems that is no longer enough. the task now it seems is to shake our generation out of its apathetic stupor and declare itself one way or the other.
i can remember a conversation i had with a friend sitting at a bar. what if, he said, there were aliens on another planet. would god have died for those aliens. did god die for aliens, he asked. now, this series of hypotheticals came at the end of a long list of objections that my friend had tossed into my lap, and it became quite clear the whole thing was just so much bull shit. this was an exercise for him, but it had nothing to do with his inclinations, either toward or away from belief. finally i said to him: look, perhaps these are serious questions, perhaps you lie awake at night and wonder if jesus actually died for aliens or not, but it seems to me that this is your way of putting off having to make a judgment about your own commitments. so, maybe jesus did die for aliens, i don't know, maybe he didn't. he died for you, so what are you going to do about that. perhaps i was too direct. i don't know. the point was that the argument only really served to illustrate his own apathy toward belief. he had no desire to believe, or to make a judgment, and even though he was a few years older than me, i think his ambivalence is typical of many of my generation.
another observation is that apathy is also a response to extremism. on one end you have fundamentalists of all kinds - islamic, christian, you name it, and on the other end you have raging atheists like harris, hitchens and dawkins (although, i prefer dorkins, which my church history professor called him today). while the latter group may stir much emotion and excitement, i would wager that the kind of rabid anti-religiosity of these writers is not shared by many, even those who may repeat their arguments are unlikely to be as opposed to christianity as these men seem to be. in an effort to find a comfortable middle, most people seem to find a cozy niche in the vague and undefined world of religious apathy, where skepticism and cynicism can ward off all comers, but a commitment of any kind, even to non-belief, is held at arms length.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Tim Keller speaking at Google

My buddy patrick o'banion, of the boston o'banion's made me aware of this. very inneressing.

you must go to this show

if anyone reads this blog, then i am doing you a service; alerting you to the existence of this show. bon iver, april 8th at the billiken club. don't forget. it will be great. it will better than great. i don't really know that, but i'm pretty confident about it. see ya at the show. did i mention already that it's free?


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Bon Iver with Collections of Colonies of Bees

Saturday, March 22, 2008

thank god for chris hedges

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this is chris hedges. he is a former foreign correspondent for the new york times, harvard seminary graduate and son a presbyterian minister who decided to take on the new atheists in his humorously entitled book, "i don't believe in atheists" - in it he argues that the new atheism is as dangerous as the religious fundamentalism it criticizes. in short, it is itself a form of fundamentalism. amen to that. and thank god for you chris hedges.
you simply have to read this interview from he locates the crux of the problem: neither christian fundamentalists nor the "new atheists" believe in sin. hah! check out my post last month on the competing narratives of both political parties in this country. the disconnect for the christian in looking at both parties is that neither believes in destructive power of sin, and both promote a kind of utopian political vision that is utterly out of touch with the reality of sinfulness that christians belive in.
i have asked myself why bother with stuff like this? why read books like sam harris'? the answer is that whether i like it or not books like harris' have an impact on our culture. it shapes and molds people's opinions on religion, often for the worse. these are the same people that i have been called to preach the gospel too. so i have an obligation to know what he is saying. fortunately there are people like chris hedges who actively engages with the crap being spewed by the new atheists, and calls it for what it is.

Friday, March 21, 2008

lego movies

i love legos. always have. my favorite game on the wii is the lego star wars game. absolutely fantastic. so, here is a great clip from monty python's holy grail, featuring...legos!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

you cannot serve god and bad food

so yesterday was my anniversary. four years ago i was married to my love, lindsay. in celebration we decided that we would eat at the sydney street cafe in benton park. before that however we made a trip to barnes and noble. i heart books. and bookstores. we had two gift cards totaling forty dollars, but i wanted to buy the whole store. i settled instead on two books, the reason for god - tim kellers new book, and letter to a christian nation - sam harris' sequel to the end of faith.
i have read most of harris' book at this point, and it is a typical piece of atheistic nonsense. so many of his arguments succumb to basic logical fallacies it astounds me that this kind of crap gets such public praise, but then on the other hand i am not surprised at all. the thing which makes books like this so successful is that it nestles up to peoples already existing prejudices and using suspect arguments makes them feel that they now have logic standing behind their biases. sadly, it's a sham. honestly this book is such a pathetic example of argumentation a freshman philosophy major could pick it apart.
there are so many examples, here is one: "everyone recognizes that to rely upon 'faith' to decide specific questions of historical fact is ridiculous--that is, until the conversation turns to the origin of books like the Bible and the Koran, to the resurrection of Jesus, to Muhammad's conversation with the archangel Gabriel, or to any other religious dogma."
really? "everyone recognizes" this? i suppose he means, everyone who is in a state of denial about what an act of historical cognition is. every act of belief about some historical event relies on something analogous to the passing of a baton in a relay. in short the recipient of some piece of information stands at the end of that relay, and faith is a fundamental part of accepting the baton. you have to believe that the information relayed to you is trustworthy. this is inescapable. belief, is always a product of faith. you cannot, with any real confidence, believe anything that you have not witnessed without placing faith that it has accurately been relayed to you. either harris does not understand this, or he does, and he's just being disingenuous. either he's stupid or ignorant.
second, harris falls into a kind of laziness in which he doesn't bother to distinguish between religious traditions. this is especially pathetic given that his stated purpose for this book is "demolish the intellectual and moral pretensions of Christianity in its most committed forms." He conflates the motivations of islamic terrorists who fly planes into buildings with missionaries who preach against condom use. it's so inane. i keep reading it because the fact is that this kind of stuff ends up being ammunition in the battle over belief in this country.
the really scary thing about this is that harris seems oblivious to the implication of his position. he wants religious faith to be a disqualification for any kind of involvement in the public square. this is frightful. and should scare the shit out of anyone who understands the full implications of this kind of intellectual fascism. the irony of this position is that he is doing this in the name of freedom...ha!

now about the dinner. i had apple wood smoked duck breast and duck confit with a wild mushroom ragout and a port wine reduction sauce. yummy. two weeks ago i bought a duck from the soulard market and attempted to my best with it. my best was not good enough. it was pretty bad. the duck i had at sydney street is the way it should be done. tender, juicy and immensely flavorful. of course the duck breast was significantly different from the confit, as they are the result of two separate preparations. and it was fabulous. lindsay had a herb tenderloin, roasted root veg and garlic mash. yummers! also, if any of you ever go there you have to get the lobster turnovers for an app. we washed down the dinner with 2007 pinot noir from washington state. it was a great evening and a memorable fourth anniversary. love you lindsay!

bernie miklasz and francis schaeffer

yesterday, during bernie miklasz's radio show on 1380 he and partner randy karraker played a game called fact or fiction. the first scenario sketched by mr. miklasz was a quote from a well respected theologian pastor. the quote was this..."If there is a legitimate reason for the use of force [against the US government]... then at a certain point force is justifiable." and then this: "There does come a time when force, even physical force, is appropriate... A true Christian in Hitler's Germany and in the occupied countries should have defied the false and counterfeit state. This brings us to a current issue that is crucial for the future of the church in the United States, the issue of abortion... It is time we consciously realize that when any office commands what is contrary to God's law it abrogates it's authority. And our loyalty to the God who gave this law then requires that we make the appropriate response in that situation..."
then bernie said to partner randy, fact or fiction, the pastor said this was jeremiah wright, senator obama's pastor. randy said, fact, the only pastor who would say these kind of things is dr. wright. bernie: fiction, it was francis schaeffer, well known evangelical pastor.
i was shocked to hear anyone, let alone bernie miklasz, mention francis schaeffer on the radio, especially in this context. his point was of course that dr. wright is not alone in making incindiery remarks regarding america. bernie went on to say that dr. schaeffer was regarded as a great american by many republicans, ate in the white house, consulted presidents and on and on. these points were very familiar sounding as many of them came from frankie schaeffer's blog post on the huffington post sight. i had a link to that in my last post below.
after hearing that i was compelled to write a brief defense of schaeffer on bernie's pressbox (a message board on i did so and received a pleasant response from bernie. it seems to me that the comparison to make is not schaeffer and wright but wright and falwell. futhermore, i think schaeffer's son in making the comparison mis-represents his father's points. he was not talking about actual military action against the united states but was talking about the importance of civil disobedience as an expression of our primary commitment to god over and against our commitment to america.

Monday, March 17, 2008

franky schaeffer - fathers and sons

during the late 70's and early 80's my father was the chaplain of the main post chapel in heidelberg germany. at the time it was the premier post in germany for a chaplain. as such, my father was in charge of putting together the national prayer breakfast. (fascinating isn't it that that stuff slid under the ol' seperation of church and state?) so, my father decided that he wanted francis schaeffer to lead the thing. it ended up being a bit of a political/diplomatic crisis, but they got through that. in short, switzerland is neutral and have very strong rules regarding their airspace. dad flew an american military transport plane into switzerland to pick up francis, this was an obvious violation of their airspace and they were none to happy about it. fortunately nothing came of it, but it was still dicey there for a bit.
the perkins and the schaeffers developed something of a relationship. the schaeffers had a number of meals at our house in heidelberg, and when francis died in 1984 my father was a pall bearer at his funeral. because of that relationship, my parents often discussed francis' son frankie in none too endearing terms. he had a rather public break with his fathers' legacy, and converted to the greek orthodox church in 1990. they used words like traitor, apostate, punk. these things.
anyway, a few years ago i read frankie's novel portofino. it was a good read. i sympathize(d) a bit with frankie, not that my father was ever of the significance of francis schaeffer, but i do share something of an analogous childhood. the contest that is the relationship between father and son has been no less informative on my life as it seems to have been in frankie's life.
recently i had to write a paper on my life as a presbyterian, specifically a pca presbyterian. in concluding the paper i was to answer this question: describe your appreciation of your presbyterian identity. the best i could muster was simply that god, through his providence, has placed me in this context. i am committed to it for no other reason. that was it. as i sat in class on friday i listened to other students extol the virtues of being presbyterian. "i appreciate the emphasis on justification by faith", communion, church polity, the cycle of creation as articulated by creation-fall-redemption-restoration, etc. that's all fine and good, i just couldn't smile and say, "yes" to any of it. and it occurred to me that this was okay. i don't need to affirm any of that at this point in my life. but why? the fact is that the legacy of faith left to me by my parents has resulted in more destruction than construction. as such, i am rebuilding, from the ground up, what it means to be a believer in jesus. and consequently the question of denominational identity is just the last thing on my radar at the moment.
so, it was with a great amount of interest that i read frankie schaeffers blog post this morning on the dr. wright/sen. obama incident from last week. check it out here. it was interesting not simply because it is timely, and deals with something that is of interest to me, but more so because it brought to the forefront of my mind the crucial importance of the father-son relationship. there is nothing so profound as a relationship between a father and son. It shapes, in either positive fashion or negative, the future direction of that son. my father called me two weeks ago and asked me to write out a list of all the things that he has done in the past year and a half to damage our relationship. i have a feeling he really doesn't know what he is asking for. maybe i'll post that list here, before i send it to him.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

something for your funny bone

this is a hoot, especially given my obsession about drinking other peoples milkshakes. 'I've abandoned my child. I've abandoned my child. I've abandoned my boy! Oh, there you are." HA HA. Enjoy.

new music thursday
this is the best album i have heard in a while, just cant' stop listening to it. here is the pitchfork review. by the way, bon iver, will be in saint louis on april 8th at the billiken club. weird place to see a show, but usually its free, and that aint bad. by the way what's up with all the good shows coming to stl? jose gonzalez (heads up from david richmon) next week. rogue wave (heads up from jase carter), bon iver and someone still loves you boris yeltsin (heads up from stephen lockridge) in april, and then the swell season and radiohead in may. sheesh people! that's rich!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

pitchfork interview with glen hansard and marketa irglova

hey people
here is an interview that pitchfork does with the folks from the movie once. they are coming to st. louis may 6th at the pageant. what fun huh? also, if you like glen hansard's style check out the band the frames.

Monday, February 25, 2008


so, after viewing the movie, there will be blood, i had the idea that it would be pretty funny to make the line, "i drink your milkshake" into a t-shirt. lo and behold, someone else did too. obviously, they're brilliant.
so. here it is:
you can buy the shirt, here. and while you're at it, here is an article on the widespread i drink your milkshake phenomenon.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

jon stewart is my hero

after recieving her oscar for her part in the song, falling slowly, marketa irglova was cut off by the dumb music when she tried to give her thanks. after the commercial break jon stewart asked her back onto the stage to give her thanks. and given the usual tripe that comes out of these peoples mouths, what she said was pretty good. she gave a shout out to all the independent artists who toil and sweat in the shadows...anyway. nice moment.

falling slowly

at least they got this one right. glen hansard and marketa irglova won the oscar for best original song...really stiff competition from the movie enchanted. haha. anyway. good for them. go see the movie once. it's really wonderful.
and what's up with the damn music cutting people off...enough. crap.


i hate awards shows, especially this one...just the self-congratulatory tone of the whole thing. a bunch of overfed, narcisistic yahoos slapping each other on the thanks.
having said that, i hope p.t. anderson gets best director, and that blood gets best cinematography, and best picture. ddl should get best actor, if not, the whole things crap. oh wait, the whole thing is crap, never mind. javier bardem should win best supporting actor. best actress: i'm guessing elen page, not because it was an overwhelmingly nuanced performance but just cuz she's really cute. and i would think that kate blanchett will get it for her performance in the dylan biopic i'm not there.
there you go, those are my predictions. crap. all of it. crap.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

another mccain bit...

another bit from hannity and colmes (Yuck! bleghh, cough, spit) this time it is a lawyer who once worked for bill clinton and is a registered democrat. someone else said this, and i think it is true, there isn't anything that will rally the republican base quicker than a hit piece by the new york times on a presumptive candidate.
the thing that makes this story have the possibility of sticking is mccain's previous involvement in the keating five. the keating five were five senators who received substantial campaign contributions from charles keating, president of the lincoln savings and loan, and subsequently discouraged investigation of him after the lincoln savings and loan went belly up in 1989. none of this is new of course, and mccain has done much to ammend the mistakes of that time, most notably his writing of the mccain-feingold bill. it will be fascinating to see what happens in the coming weeks.


it has legs!

this is from hannity and colmes (Yuck! bleghh, spit, cough).


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Give Up Yer Aul Sins

thanks to brian steadman for sending me this.
it's beautiful!

Shockin' holy saint!

let the games begin

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

local farming

listen. for those of us that long to promote a more communally focused lifestyle, and want to promote those businesses that do things the right way i want to promote your local CSA. Community Sustained Agriculture seeks to provide local, mostly organic, fresh food. The setup is that you bay a basic price for each of five categories (meat, fruit and veg, dairy, grain, and misc.). You don't get to choose your food, you simply get a certain amount of whatever is fresh and in season. For 50$ a week you can get a smattering of each category. Each week food is brought to a central pick-up place and you pick up your food. Also, you can contribute some of your food each week to a food charity if you so choose. This would be a great thing to encourage in your local churches, especially if it is a city church...
click here to see one of the CSA groups in St. Louis.

Friday, February 15, 2008

4 Weeks, 3 Months, 2 Days

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to anyone who reads this blog and lives here in st. louis and would like to see this movie, let me know. it opens friday february 29 at the tivoli, and will only be here for one week. the movie follows a young woman in communist romania as she seeks an illegal abortion. unflinching in its portrayal of the cost of such a decision, it has been universally praised as one of the best movies of last year, and will almost surely win the oscar for best foreign flick.
click here to listen to the director cristian mangiu talk to terry gross about his film.
lemme know...

modern slavery

friends there are a few issues that i believe define the level of our christian commitment, this is one of them: human trafficking.
trafficking strikes at the very heart of who God is, and who he has created us to be, namely image bearers. and the consequences are widespread and profound, and it impacts society on many levels, from the food we eat and the clothes we wear to arguments about illegal immigration. this is a defining issue for the 21st century.
take time to read the article linked above and read the other articles linked on that page. if this does not simply rip your heart apart, then perhaps you don't have one.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

king of california

a big thumbs the movie king of california.

a fun watch. worth the price of admission just to see michael douglas strut his stuff as a crazy dude. i bought it.

david caruso can eat my shorts caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso david caruso sucks

Monday, February 11, 2008

worst show on television

truthfully there are too many shows that would qualify for such a distinction. but the object of my ire tonight would have to be csi:miami.
a few years ago when 24 was on mondays, my wife and i would switch from fox to cbs to watch the first five minutes of csi for just one reason. horatio caine's (david caruso) ridiculous one liners. this is the way every show starts off. sweeping shots of miami/south beach, a scene involving numerous scantily clad women and some studs in wife beaters. a murder. then horatio caine comes on the scene, dramatically puts on his sunglasses and says something ridiculous.

frank: he should have known.

horatio caine: (in a way too dramatic voice) "frank, knowing (pauses and puts on sunglasses) is half the battle" (cue theme music)

my favorite, the last one was made up, is: "you don't get up and run away after you fall four stories." Horatio: "you do...(pause, put on sunglasses) if you've got something to hide."

mmmm, mmmm, good
enough about politics. on saturday i went down to the soulard market. i was in heaven. the food, the people - city life at its best. anyway...i love food and if that picture doesn't whet your appetite than i don't know what would. by the way it comes from a web sight claiming to describe the perfect process for poaching an egg. i haven't tested it's claims yet, but i plan too.

the problem with politics

it's simple, all politics is driven by a misguided meta-narrative.
the political meta-narrative is this...we may be screwed up, but the only reason is that the proper person/persons are not in office. if elected, this person will... if passed, this bill will...

the biblical meta-narrative is this. we are fallen, and this fallenness extends to every area of our life and thus brings a brokenness to bear in those areas as well.

some folks i know might say, "that is why the founding father's created a system of check and balances." forget for just a moment the historical problems with such a answer to what? even if i were to grant you that point for a moment, what difference does that make now? even if that were true, it has no affect on whether or not the current narrative driving the political machine is one that has as its foundation a decidedly un-biblical stance.


the messianic character of american politics

so...there's a group of guys from my church that gather together every wednesday night at a local pub near tower grove park and we drink and smoke and talk shit. all the guys that currently comprise the group are also in the small group that i co-lead with my wife and another guy. this past week we were rehashing some political talk that we had been tossing around during our small group. earlier that day i had been thinking about christians and politics and whether or not we should even be involved at all...this is my theory: the expectations placed on politicians are messianic. and thus idolatrous. by participating in the process christians run the risk of being idolatrous themselves.
i realized that this theory is problematic for a number of reasons, but this is what is driving my thinking. it is not simply secular liberals who have a messianic expectation of politicians, but christians do as well. what do i mean, messianic expectation? "if we could just get so and so in office, such and such would be changed." "the only way our country can be healed is to have so and so elected." these kinds of statements and millions more like them which are made every day, by christians and non-christians alike speak to the messianic expectations we place on politicians. this is in short a form of idolatry. i fear that christians, unless we simply back out of the process, will continue to be caught up in this kind of thinking. at the very least, we need a moratorium on political involvement and then use that time to rethink what it means to think christianly about politics and what that means for our involvement.
it has been said before, and by far more articulate folk than me, but the church has sold its soul for the lure of political power. we have replaced gospel suffering with political maneuvering. in attempting to get a seat at the table of politics we have sacrifice our prophetic voice in the culture.
politics stands alone as a unique danger area to christians, because the basis of political action is power. and power is in fundamental opposition to new testament ethics. what i mean by that is power consistently eschewed by the figures of the new testament. we are not to pursue it, we are not praised for having it, it gives us no advantage in the economy of the kingdom. what does this mean then for political involvement in the here and now? what about our responsibility as citizens? what does it mean to render to caesar?
so...i threw out this messianic expectation thing on wednesday night. i came home to read this about obama. and then i saw this today. it would be easy to say that obamamania captures everything that i am talking about, and it does, to be honest, represent messianic expectation more clearly than anything i can remember in the past twenty years of electoral politics. but it does not stand alone. it is only the most recent, and the most extreme example of our tendency to deify those who we place our hopes in.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

another reason...

here's another reason why i think huckabee's a hoot...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

huck and chuck

i surprised myself today. i was decided prior to today's vote, i was going to vote mccain. but, i voted for huckabee. i don't know. i figured in so many ways it was a free vote if that makes sense. plus, i just like the guy. perhaps you heard about this...he has managed, as an evangelical candidate, to appeal on some level to the late night crowd.
not to mention he has had a budget of zero. he spent, in winning iowa, 400,000 dollars in comparison to romney's 8 million. holy smokes people.
okay, the reason for this post. this one just takes the cake.

Super Tuesday

for the politically inclined today is an historic day. it is the first time in the history of electoral politics in this country that a nation wide primary has been attempted. 24 states in all are participating. regardless of where you come down politically, even if you find politics completely irrelevant or corrupt it is still a fascinating drama to watch.

i have a brief thought on immigration and the current imbroglio that has been stirred up by the mccain bashing regarding his pro-immigration stance. the first political act regarding immigration was the naturalization act of 1790, and somewhat infamously offered naturalization to "free white persons." Obviously this was designed to leaved out slaves and other africans/blacks that might otherwise gain naturalization. this law wasn't changed until 1870, which allowed blacks and former slaves to become naturalized citizens. and the final change came in the 1950's which allowed asian peoples to become citizens. clearly the element here is that the immigration issue has always been run through with a racist and racially motivated element. it stands to reason that the current climate of anti-immigration is similarly fueled by racist/racially motivated reasons. i realize that things are often more complicated than we allow them to be, but i think that because of the substantive historical legacy of race informing our immigration policies it is undoubtedly informing and influencing a large portion of the debate now.
amnesty makes sense. i don't know the financial numbers on this, but i would assume that the cost of "rounding up" illegals would be prohibitive. where as simply processing those already here makes the most fiscal sense. to be honest the amount of ambiguity on this issue is pretty profound. as for me, i am continuing to wrestle with what is just and what is compassionate regarding this issue...
enough for now.

Monday, January 28, 2008


started back to school today. sitting in ethics taught by anthony bradley. first thing brought up was this stat...115 million "christians" in america. 56 million "evangelicals". 115,000 orphans. to quote, "how is it that we can't find 115,000 thousand families, out of 56 million people to adopt?" yeah. amen to that.
we've been talking about adopting...i suppose we'll see.

Friday, January 18, 2008

there will be blah

the title of this post is misleading. the movie is not blah. by movie i mean, there will be blood. just got home from seeing it at the tivoli. first thoughts, more later.
soundtrack: imposing, cacophonous, discordant --> a musical embodiment of daniel plainview's mania. this might seem a bit of a stretch, but i would argue that it is the music that elevates this movie from a otherwise interesting character study to a near transcendent story of human nature. just me.
Daniel Day Lewis: i have always loved his work. it is something about the intensity that he exudes that i have always found attractive. he is no disappointment here. it is a reprisal of sorts of his character bill the butcher from gangs of new york. minus the theatrics. he is devastating. evil. fascinating and yet repulsive. he is in short: mesmerizing. perhaps the most amazing performance i have ever seen.
paul dano: colorblind kid from little miss sunshine (top ten entry for last year). he was great as well. a bit shrill. but i suppose that was the plan.
paul thomas anderson: i looked at some of the boards on imdb, people go on and on.
"it's pretentious, it's self-indulgent." shutup. just....shutup. dudes telling a story, and he's telling it straight. "the pacing is so slow" a book doofus. why do movies have to have quick pacing. someone hasn't seen solaris - five minute long shots of bubbling creek beds or nighttime traffic...oh well. well done p.t., i wish i had your skillz.
as i said...more later. bed time for bonzo.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

top ten - music and movies

the following list is my top ten for both film and music. and in that order.

there will be blood
no country for old men
the darjeeling limited
bourne supremacy
rescue dawn
eastern promises
lars and the real girl

honorable mention: eagle vs. shark, gone baby gone, 3:10 to Yuma
honorable mention for movies i haven't seen yet: juno, the savages, atonement, persepolis, and 4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days

radiohead - in rainbows
the national - boxer
fiest - the reminder
iron and wine - the shepherd's dog
menomena - friend or foe
arcade fire - neon bible
glen hansard and marketa irgolova - the swell season
andrew bird - armchair apocrypha
band of horses - cease to begin
rogue wave - asleep at heaven's gate

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

building anticipation

i've already said i can't frickin wait for this movie. another article raising expectation. the problem with heightened expectations is that they are almost always not met. i find that movies that come with big expectations, especially critical praise, are almost always a letdown. i hated american beauty. i probably would have like it if it hadn't been a critics wetdream. anyway. well see.