You may have noticed (possibly with relief) that I have not written about politics in this blog. The reason for it is simple: this is not going to be a blog about politics. I have, in the past, been so wrapped up in current events and have found it very easy to spend hours reading, searching, listening, writing about all things political, and I'm just not going to do it anymore. At least right now, in this season of my life.
There are many reasons for this, but the overarching reason is that I feel convicted about it. I am a member of what is called the Church Militant (that is the collection of believers who are still alive on earth, as opposed to the Church Triumphant, which is comprised of believers who have already died). The purpose of the Church is to advance the Kingdom of God. Period. There are many, many ways to do this, which is why Paul writes about the body having many members. Toes don't do the same job as ears or livers, but we would be worse off for not having a toe or from missing an ear. I think that right now, my job is not to be political. I am moving from the head to the hand, perhaps.
Politics arouses passions, at least in me. Usually (not always) what is "right" is so clear to me that it makes me frustrated when others don't see it the way that I do. Being involved in politics very often made me angry with people I have no business being angry with -- at least not for the reasons I was getting riled up. And when I am passionate and angry about political issues I am not advancing the Kingdom.
Please do not pull out of this that I don't think believers should be involved in politics. I hope I have not given that impression. I would not presume to tell anyone what vocation (or avocation) God has for them (although I might be confident that being a mob hit man or a Wiccan priestess is beyond the pale). It is hard enough for me to know what I'm supposed to do without defining an overarching rule for everyone else. For a while now, though, I've felt...off...about politics. A year ago I would not have been able to imagine giving it up (and "giving it up" is too strong a term for what I am doing -- I still read, still ponder, still believe what I believe). Today I feel like I am being encouraged to go in another direction and it is incumbent upon me to follow that nudge.
I will not say "ever" or "never" because I don't know what God's plans are for my future. Right now -- today -- I want to encourage others in their daily walk, both physical and spiritual. So that's where my efforts are going to lie.
Speaking of the physical, last night's dinner was liked more by Bruce than it was by me. I think the fault is mine, however. The name of the dish that I made was Black Bean-Pineapple Soup Stew Chili. Whenever I see the word "chili" (even if it's preceded by "soup" and "stew") I have a particular taste in mind and if the dish doesn't taste like that I'm not happy. Bruce ate two huge bowls and said he loved it. I didn't dislike it by any means, but I think I wanted my chili and not this. My bad.
I did alter the recipe a bit. I tasted it and it seemed a little "thin" to me (SOUP Stew Chili). I added about half of one of those little cans of tomato paste -- I had it leftover from something else. I think a whole can would've been good. And then I wanted sort of an underlying sweetness (which my chili has), so I added a couple of tablespoons of sugar. I also used plain chili powder and plain oregano. You absolutely would never know there was pineapple in this (which, see, I WANTED to know), so if that scares you don't let it.
Here is a picture:
We have been on a rice kick lately. We both love it and will sit down with a bowl of plain brown rice and be very happy about it (I salt mine, but I don't think Bruce does). Bruce believes there should always be leftover rice in the fridge. When I first heard about rice cookers I thought, "Who would ever buy such a thing?" And now I'm THRILLED to have one. I use it all the time. (Yes, of course I could live without it, but it is so nice to dump in rice and water and to punch a button and not have to think about it again.) Anyway, I made rice and served this over brown rice, even though the original recipe doesn't mention that.
I think if she had just called this Black Bean-Pineapple Soup I would have liked it more. :)
I am getting ready to head north (crazy to head north in January, unless you have skis on the roof of your car) to St. Louis for two full weeks. I'll be driving up on Thursday and will not come home until the Thursday two weeks from then at the earliest (and probably not until Friday -- we'll see). I am plotting my course carefully; I have found St. Louis not to be the most vegan-friendly town in the world, but maybe I have been looking in the wrong places. I'll be teaching in a hotel and they have given me a suite for my office (with a kitchen in it), so I'm going to bring my Vitamix with me and make green smoothies for lunch. Yum. For breakfast I usually buy Amy's oatmeal. It's frozen in this little bowl and it's not too sweet, which is important for me. They also make a delicious tofu scramble and there are a couple of vegan breakfast burritos that I've never tried but I'll bet are good.
Near my hotel is a grocery store called Dierberg's, which is glorious. They have a wonderful salad bar and a very extensive frozen section with more Amy's products than anyplace outside of Whole Foods. The down side is their hot food area. They take things that could be vegan -- like a rice pilaf -- and cook it with chicken broth. I eat from Dierberg's pretty often, but I get tired of a salad for dinner every night and the same goes for frozen entrees. There are two Whole Foods stores about twenty minutes from my hotel, though (I'll check both of them out to see which is better -- they are less than twelve miles apart, so I'm not sure why there are two of 'em). They usually have a hot bar with a good selection of vegan entrees. And there ARE restaurants -- a Chinese place near my hotel where you can "make your own bowl" and I can order tofu and veggies and the like.
SO -- no excuses. One of my Day Zero goals was to eat no animal products for a month (not counting honey). This may seem pretty simple, but I didn't want to stretch it out too long. I'm definitely on track for that for the first nine days of January. I WANT to eat NO animal products EVER, but in order to accomplish that I have to eat no animal products for one month!
Today's Bible reading was the first to veer from the pattern, and then only slightly. Today I read Genesis 9 AND 10, Ezra 9, Matthew 9, and Acts 9. It was pretty exciting because that chapter is about Paul's conversion. So much goes on in that chapter that is worth pondering. I have often thought that Paul would not have been the easiest guy to live with. When that man committed, he COMMITTED. He's the kind of guy who, if he'd been a Yankee fan, would have had his donkey painted in pinstripes. Anyway, he's great to read about, though. I can just imagine the disciples hearing that he was knocking on their door and freaking out. "Wait, wait! I'm on your team now!" Pretty amazing. That God would choose a man who had been seeking to imprison and kill Christians is mysterious -- and such an encouragement for us.