Sunday, January 28, 2007

Main Dish Menu

On Sundays my wife and I do a lot of cooking. Since she is vegetarian and so very gluten-intolerant we can use very few prepared main dishes, and Sunday is our day to get cooking done for the upcoming week.

I thought other people avoiding gluten might be interested in knowing what main dishes we commonly make. Here is a moderately exhaustive listing.

4 Quart Pot
Macaroni and Cheese
Greens and Garlic Soup
Potato, Onion and Garlic Soup
Vegetable Soup (various)
Quinoa Salad
Corn on the Cob
Stuffing (with gluten-free bread)

3 Quart Sauce Pan
Tomato Basil Soup
Pasta (Italian or Thai)
Boon Sen
Dal (various)
Indian or Thai Curry
Saffron Rice
Masala Potatoes
Palak Paneer

Every Day Pan
Stir Fry Vegetables
Mu Shu Vegetables
Skillet Pancake (apple, berry, carrot, potato, sweet potato, or beet)
Fried Rice with Egg and Vegetables

Frying Pan/Omelette Pan
Scrambled Eggs or Omelettes
Sauted Vegetables
Japanese Omelette
Blintz Wrappers and Filling
Latkes (various)
Green Beans and Mushroom Sauce

Nine by Thirteen Pan
Potatoes and Cheese
Apples and Yams
Masa Harena Casserole
Crisps and Cobblers
Indian Baked Cauliflower
Roasted Vegetables
Braised Eggplant
Tomatoes Stuffed with Eggs
Potato, Turnip and Broccoli Kugel
Blintz Casserole
Sweet Potato Casserole
Saffron Rice and Artichoke Heart Casserole
Quinoa Casseroles (Basil and Greens, Savory Vegetables)

Jelly Roll Pan
Power Bars
Baba Ganoush

Crock Pot
Beans (with tortillas or rice)
Garbanzo Beans/Falafels
Rice Pudding
Black Coconut Rice
Apple Cider

Other Pots and Pans
Artichoke Dip
Filled Bread (savory or sweet)
Corn Bread

Special Salads
Caesar Salad

Tao of Yeshua: Chapter 43

The softest of things overcomes the hardest of things.
That which has no substance enters where there is no space.
Few things in the world are as instructive as wordless teaching,
or as beneficial as the fruits of Non-Ado.

The Spirit can rule the body.
It does so subtly, without ado.
What instruction is comparable
to being taught directly by the Spirit of Adonai?
What virtues are comparable
to the fruits of the Spirit of Adonai?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tongues at a High Place

God asked me to pray on top of Skinner Butte, a large hill in the middle of this town of Eugene, Oregon. Today I went and did so.

I do not understand much about why scripture talks about "high places", or how they affect the spiritual. From stories shared by friends in Israel I know that praying on a high place can somehow "reclaim" it for God if it has used by the Adversary, and this can remove some of the Adversary's ability to spread lies. There must be more than that, but I am ignorant.

However, I can go and pray if God asks me to do so. Sometimes God will simply tell me what to pray when I get there. Other times what I should pray about is apparently none of my business, and God's Spirit will use me to pray "in tongues". (To be specific, I do not understand what I say, but from sound qualitiess and words that are sometimes repeated I seem to use two languages in such situations: not at the same time, and I have no idea why one or another language happens a situation.)

When I pray in tongues it's definitely a miraculous activity. At one time I was completely skeptical of the phenomenon, for I had only met the kind of people who claimed to speak in tongues but were only repeating a few syllables over and over. I eventually met followers of Yeshua who genuinely had this spiritual gift from God, and years later agreed to let someone with this gift pray that I might receive it. (I immediately did, which startled me for in my skepticism I had tried in privacy to speak random syllables and could not do so.)

When people speak normally there is a different cadence and tone when speaking a train of thought versus repeating an idea in multiple ways, when talking to someone versus talking about someone, when sharing joys or worries, when offering help or asking for help. Similarly, when I pray in tongues not only am I speaking words that I can tell have grammar (and sometimes even poetry) but I can glean a little about what I am praying about.

I went to Skinner's Butte with a congreant. Even once we arrived neither of us were told what to say, so I prayed in tongues. It was interesting, as always, to experience how it was somewhat of a diagnostic tool in the way I just described. Especially because the Butte is not a simply spherical hill. (It has a lower, western part of the "top" with the best view and a look-out area. It has a highest part with many trees and not much view. It has an eastern part with a less built-up look-out area and a decent view.) Each of its parts seemed to be receiving a different kind of prayer.

In the past I have (infrequently) experienced another kind of "praying in tongues", when God just took over my mouth and I found myself praying in English words I was not expecting, which later on in retrospect turned out to be perfect for that occasion.

Only once have I been part of a congregation's service in which the dynamic of First Corinthians 14:26-28 happened, with one person praying in tongues and someone else interpreting. I know of no congregations where this happens regularly.

Only once have I encountered the kind of speaking in tongues where someone miraculously gains fluency in a language they did not know.

At one point God asked me to practice praying in tongues. That seemed a bit comical since I had no idea how to practice. How could I know if I was pronouncing words correctly in a language I didn't know? But I did my best to be obedient to the task asked of me.

Anyway, that's what little I know about praying in tongues and the significance of "high places". Since that's more than most people blog about, I thought I'd share.

Tao of Yeshua: Chapter 42

One produced two.
Two produced three
Three produce all other things.
These other things carry the dark but embrace the light.
The breath rises softly to produce harmoniously.
People loathe being orphaned, widowed, or poor,
yet kings and dukes call themselves thus
for things may gain by decrease or decrease by gain.
What others have taught I repeat:
men of violence will not reach their natural death.
The father's doctrine is my teacher.

The world was created by three.
The divine Spirit gives freedom.
Rising within us, it frees us from serving darkness
so that we may succeed in embracing light.
The divine son gives mercy.
In unity with his humility may we gain through decrease.
The divine Father gives justice.
Greed and violence lead to ruin;
His teachings are the laws for life.
So is the world sustained by these three that are divine,
or by their freedom, mercy, and justice?

Monday, January 22, 2007


I just found out that Firefox knows how to accept "all current tabs" as the new home page setting.

I have a few icons in my "Quick Launch" that open my browser to a certain website. Now I can have an unspecified Firefox startup create a browser with five tabs for the pages I use most: my bookmarks page, gmail, calendar, blog, and LCC moodle class website.

Tao of Yeshua: Chapter 41

When a wise man hears about the Way he diligently follows it.
When a mediocre man hears about the Way he wavers between belief and unbelief.
When a foolish man hears about the Way he laughs loudly at it.
If it such a man did not laugh at, it would not be worth regarding as the Way.
For there is an established saying:
The Way's brightness can seem dim
The Way's advances can seem retreats;
The Way's smoothness can seem rough;
Our highest efforts are empty;
Our best purity are stained;
Our strongest efforts are inadequate;
Our established virtues are feeble;
The greatest solid is pierced;
The greatest square has no corners;
The greatest vessel is the last completed;
The greatest music has the rarest sound;
The greatest Image has no form.
The Way is hidden and nameless.
Indeed, because the Way is able to lend of itself it is able to provide completion.

Yeshua, as creator, is nameless
because he contributes anonymously to all creation.
Yeshua fits none of our categories
because he creator, not part of this world.
His best can seem backwards,
but lasts eternally.
But our best is not eternal
and thus comparatively worthless.
The last part of creation will be
when our creator finishes establishing himself.

Jewish Voice <> Jews for Jesus

(I'm not sure how to do a ≠ sign in titles, so you get the typewriter's <> version instead.)

Once again, the movement Messianic Judaism and the organization Jews for Jesus are confused.

For those who might also be confused, here are some differences:
  • Jews for Jesus is a specific Christian evangelical organization founded in 1973 by a Jewish-born Baptist minister named Moishe Rosen. Jews for Jesus is a mercenary branch of the Gentile church, funded by churches with the purpose of bringing people into churches. In contrast, the Messianic Jewish movement is a movement of Jewish people who believe in Jesus but feel called by God to retain and develop their Jewish heritage while worshipping in synagogues and helping their local Jewish community have the spiritual health God desires.
  • Jews for Jesus is an organization that uses a classic Christian model of evangelism with literature and street-corner conversations to bring people into (primarily) churches. Messianic Judaism is a collection of synagogues that sees Torah observance, empowered by relationship with Yeshua, as the key to a meaningful relationship with the God of Israel and what will bring transformation to the local Jewish community.
  • Throughout their short history these two groups have been at odds. Recently Jews for Jesus has shown some willingness to encourage new believers to consider Messianic Judaism as well as Gentile Christianity. Jews for Jesus does politely refrain from calling itself "Messianic Jewish" with the exception of the by-line for one of its publications, Issues.
  • To ensure accountability and provide support for Messianic Jewish congregations there are two organizations that "organize" Messianic Judaism, the MJAA and the UMJC (note that Messianic Judaism is not a "denomination" since congregations are more independent than if they had a denomination's formal governance). Neither the IAMCS nor the UMJC cooperate well with Jews for Jesus.

Ministers and Statistics

Yes, it is sad how badly people trying to represent Truth use statistics.

Walls of Partition

This article from Christianity Today magazine seems important to me. It mentions how many African-American ministers become weary of having to bridge the culture gap between "Black" and "White" in their local religious communities.

As a Messianic Jewish minister I deal regularly with pastors and churches that have an equally awkward culture gap. They schedule a community Pentecost event and wonder why my congregation can't also celebrate Shavuot by attending. They speak of how they value the Jewish roots of their faith, but lack the time or care to bring any of these roots into their congregational life. They are timid about exploring how to draw from the "rich inheritance" we share because they are afraid doing so at all must somehow imply other things they do are wrong.

(There are also some local pastors and churches that are actively embracing the Jewish roots of their faith, and do understand how to cooperate smoothly with a Messianic Jewish congregation. I don't want to describe an overly troubled situation.)

However, the Messianic Judaism is a movement, something birthed and empowered by God to help God bring transformation to Jewish communities and to churches. Besides sharing a sense of purpose that includes dealing with that awkward culture gap, Messianic Jewish leaders also network together and support each other. Both help tremendously.

It was sad to read in that article that apparently God has yet to raise up a similar movement of ministers dealing with harmony among ethnic groups. I know of a few organizations, such as Promise Keepers, that focus on this, but apparently there is no real movement -- or if there is then it's not very well networked and not accomplishing what God is intending.

Winter Term Week Three

Whew. January began with my wife being quite sick, then my traveling to a Messianic Rabbi's conference, and then my LCC teaching made crazy by snow days.

Now things are a bit more under control. I'm starting week three of the term with the entire week's lessons prepared. Yesterday I got a lot of work done on the new congregational website. I still have a ton of e-mails to catch up on, but I'm getting more caught up.


Cash Crops

When the president of Afghanistan recently spoke at the Wilson Center, he described the two biggest problems facing his country: the lack of enough well-trained police, and the lack of highways to allow small farmers to bring their crops to market.

More than half the GDP of Afghanistan is from poppies. That's another problem. But it's also true that marijuana is the largest of U.S. cash crops.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Tao of Yeshua: Chapter 40

The Way moves by reversing.
The Way uses weakness as strength.
Heaven and earth and all things are reborn through the named.
The named is born out of the nameless.

Yeshua makes strength out of our weakness.
He recreates all things.
Yeshua as Creator was hidden as the Word.
Yeshua as Re-creator was revealed as the Son.


On the airplane I got ministry-related reading done, and enjoyed looking out the window at the snow and clouds covering the landscape below. I also had time to read some Terry Pratchett. I like the "Watch" subset of Discworld novels best.

Here's some interesting commentary. I had never realized Vetinari's name was half a pun.

Vetinari is such a great character. There is a man whose life expectancy was linked to education.

UPDATE: Why are the Discworld novels so neat? One reason is that none of their plots are nearly identical remakes of old ones (warning: link has profanity).

Stupdendous Pictures

Someone recently tried to pick "Thirteen Photographs that Changed the World". The comments, in which people debate the significance of his picks and other important photographs, were fascinating to read.

Someone else picked the Top Ten Astronomy Images of 2006. His explanations were fascinating.

Traditional Chinese or Sumi-E brush paintings of bamboo are surprisingly hard to find online. I found another. (My wife likes nice waterfall pictures, which are much easier to find.)

The only newsy picture from my recent days without blogging that is worth a link is the Rose Parade Stormtroopers with flags from around the world.

The best comic I missed reading while away was this one from Real Life, which wonders what it would be like if other businesses could operate as do video game stores.

Rumors Never Cease to Amaze

Also during my lack of blogging, Saddam was hung. I don't have anything to say about it except how amazing this quotation seems, in a startling sort of way (from a newspaper asking what Iraqis in Southern California thought):

"This will take of the rumor in Baghdad (and there is no shortage in rumors) that the Americans will put Saddam back in power before they leave."

Russian Jewish Pictures

Here are websites with interesting Russian Jewish pictures.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Feed a What?

Uhg. My wife is sick. I'm taking care of her a sleeping a lot so I don't catch it, but not getting much else done.

It turns out my wife and I rememred different versions of the old saying. That's because both versions have been popularized, and in general neither is true, except for a small short-term effect.