Sunday, January 31, 2010

Who Stole My Church!

Have you asked yourself this question? There is a book by a guy named Gordon Mcdonald titled "Who Stole My Church". Now let me be clear, I have not read this book nor do I know what it is about but I have, in fact, asked myself this question. I asked it today, if you can believe it, before I entered the doors of the church which I am currently calling home. Interestingly, they chose today to suggest this book as suggested reading. I read the online exerpts and got a general gist of what the book is probably about. To tell you the truth, I am not completely satisfied with the idea that I should be ok with the church experience with which I am currently familiar.

John the Baptizer, a biblical character with whom we should all be famailiar with, was not a person who found reason to be particularly concerned with the "feelings" of persons outside the circle of current believers. He believed his role was to speak the truth in blunt vernacular and allow the Spirit of God to do Its work in the hearts of the listening audience. He was able to use blunt language and the Word Of God and people still heard God's voice speaking when if, in fact, they were receptive to the words in the first place.

I am personally concerned that if we as a local church don't bluntly preach the Word of God in a clear manner as in examples like John the Baptizer, we are doing the
currently unreached a disservice and they will have to find the truth some other way.

I have personally sat in the audience of a preacher who consistently preached the Bible chapter by chapter and verse by verse and found that the scriptures themselves spoke far more intensly to my soul than some poor individual trying to determine what might be an appropriate series of subjects to talk about and support with appropriate scriptural texts.

Don't you think that the Creator allowed the current scriptural text for a reason? Isn't it all there for our benefit? Why then does the clergy apparently completely ignore the "difficult" text and tend to only talk about the easy stuff? If the status quo was to teach verse by verse, there would not be freedom to ignore the more difficult passages.

This is my belief, take it or leave it. The scriptures will always talk about whatever is going on or can go on in one's life and if God's prophet, whomever he may be, is willing to proclaim His Word, in the literal manner in which it was intended, it will not return void. It is not his job nor should it even be his concern whether or not the message is milky enough for the present audience.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Clam Chowder Extraordinaire

Oh Yeah! I just had to add a quick post. We had a fairly simple and yet wonderfully tasty dinner tonight! I had one of those ginormous Costco cans of chopped clams and was convinced by my life time sweetheart to make a batch of clam chowder. We just got back from Winco where she found some fun sourdough loaves called "sourdough bowls". We have always threatened, since experiencing something like this at Disneyland, to serve some great clam chowder in loaves of bread. It was fantastic!!!

I used the recipe for chowder on the can of clams although I added a lot more flour to get the thick viscosity that this family prefers. Here is an image of the final outcome.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Today Is The Day The Teddy Bears Have Their Picnic

Please be sure to click on any of the links that I've included. Don't forget to come back and finish the post though. I love your visits and the comments you leave. As insignificant as you might believe they are, they lift the spirits of this "Old Man" to heights you couldn't imagine.

Now for those concerned readers of this blog, it seems that I am finally getting used to this new hand held wireless device. I actually posted a couple of comments to facebook today and there were at least two images taken and posted via this device. I was also able to remember the path to silence the phone during church and no one got their head bitten off due to my frustration. Ahh! Life is truly good!Don't expect, however, for me to make posts such as this one with just one or two thumbs. Efficiency calls for the use of all ten fingers. Besides, the skill of touch typing is one of the important skills which my mother left me and it is good for me to exercise that skill as frequently as time permits.

Ok, some of my visitors through Facebook asked for more info regarding the restaurant that we visited today. That restaurant would be the Black Bear Diner. Now Debbie and I have actually been to the Beaverton, Or location three times and have been pleased during each of these visits. We don't drive to Beaverton to visit the restaurant but if we happen to be in the neighborhood when the "urge" to replentish our stores of calories, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, (as in we're hungry) then we stop by. Interestingly, there does often require a wait though today it was only 10 or 15 minutes. The menu is on recycled paper and looks somewhat like a newspaper but the items listed on it, at least the ones that I have experienced, are tastey and filling. In fact, today I had to laugh because as we were waiting, a waitress delivered a dish to a relativly small women that could have easily fed three people like myself. I think she split it with her companion but one needs to know that one will not go away from this establishment hungry.

All of the decorations are bear related to some form or other. There are bear carvings, paintings, and usually somebody wandering around the place dressed as, yeah, you guessed it, a bear. Oh well, that is part of the charm of the place.

Go ahead and check it out on my recommendation. I'm confident that you will come away having received good service, a good meal, and a good time.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dude! What Happened?

Isn't all of our modern technology supposed to make life so much easier? I mean, isn't that why the technology was invented? We should be able to apply modern gadgetry to our every day situations and relieve the stresses that confronted the people of the last decades.

Ok, this is what I'm really talking about. This weekend we were allowed to upgrade our wireless phones. We decided that it would be helpful in our little weekend junking business to have at least one phone that could do a few more tricks than just make calls. I looked around and kind of decided which phones we wanted and so we went in and made the purchases. We determined that Debbie's phone only needed to make calls and text messages and that my phone should have the ability to do data exchange and have internet access. Well, suddenly the stress level around here has gone through the roof! Yesterday while sitting in church, I tried to silence the phone and was so engaged in trying to remember the path to that feature that I nearly bit Jonathan's head off as he tried to hand me something. That was just the beginning. Without going too deeply into the details, I lost some important contacts from my previous phone and again, there was some loud exchanges between certain family members and myself. This whole thing was going downhill at a steady rate and recovery was looking pretty grim. This morning the darn thing thinks it is an alarm clock at 5:30 am and that would have been ok if I had had just the slightest clue as to how to turn it off. Oh my goodness!! I had to get out of bed and run into the bathroom so I could just figure out how in the world to silence this devil machine that I now own. Have you heard of the rule of unintended consequences? Basically it is like this. No matter how hard one tries to anticipate the affects a certain decision will have on one's situation, there will always be effects that are completely unintended. I have certainly experienced this law over the last couple of days. So far during this process I have not uttered any language that is not part of my normal vocabulary but there have been times when certain unacceptable words have been bouncing around in my cranial cavity looking for an exit.
Hopefully, there is a learning curve and I will soon acheive some level of competence.

Ok, let me tell you about the phone. In spite of my current frustration, it is a cool device that, in time, will be a valuable addition to our current assortment of technology. This device is called the Motorola Droid and falls into the smart phone category and is one of the hottest items in the current Verizon Wireless line up. You need to know, however, that currently it does have what might be considered a fatal flaw by many people. It cannot make a phone call using only a bluetooth headset. To make a call one must actually hold the phone in one's hand and make a couple of different strokes with one's hand. That obviously makes it a problem here in Oregon as well as many other states with the current hands free rules. I have been assured that Motorola is currently working feverishly on a fix that will be "pushed" to the phone in the next couple of months. I don't know how the designers could have overlooked such an obvious problem. Other than that, it is very cool.

It has a Google based operating system called Android. Google is a proponant of open sourced programing which makes a huge number of the applications available for the phone for free. Oh Man! You wouldn't believe the number of fun and useful apps that you can download for no additional cost.

It also comes with a 5.0 megapixal camera with a flash and a full qwerty keyboard.

Dude! That is so amazing!

This post is getting way too long but hopefully soon I can post some pics which I've taken with this phone. I have to go to bed but hopefully the dreams will be sweet before that obnoxious phone wakes me up again. (I'm not sure if I remember how I finally turned the thing off this morning.) Uggh!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

We Went Shopping And We Weren't Alone

Today Debbie and I were on the "other" side of town. We decided to stop for a sinful bite to eat at The Cheesecake Factory.Have you ever been there? Man, that is an experience! I've been there three or four times and at least twice we waited for over two hours. Today it was only about an hour. Now I realize that somewhere around here there is a recession but not today. At least not at The Cheesecake Factory, Nordstrom's

or any other place that we strolled through at Washington Square.

That place was hopping and it appeared that people were spending money. Now this, of course, was just a microcosmic look from my little world but it sure looked as if people were easing up their grips on their liquid assets.

Ok, let's get back to the restaurant.

Look at this crowd waiting to be seated.

And this lot is already enjoying their dining experience.

The menu is the largest of any menu that I've ever read. If you'd care to preview it in pdf format, you may click here.

Our meals were each outstanding. Debbie enjoyed the same thing she always has when we're there. (She believes that when one finds a good thing, one should stick with it.) Each of our dinners can be found on page 12 of the menu in the pasta section. She had the Bistro Shrimp Pasta and I had the Cajun Jambalaya Pasta. We were each served portions large enough to bring some home. In additon to our dinners, we each added (this is the sinful part) a lovely piece of cheesecake. Her's was called The Chocolate Tuxedo Cream Cheesecake and mine was called Stefanie's Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake. These can be found on page 18 of their remarkably long menu. Just to "wet your whistle" as it were, let me leave you an image of my choice for dessert.

Whew! That reminds me. I better go take my cholesterol pill and an asperin!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Oh Wow! Are You Sure It's Fifty?

I remember a time when only old people had 50 candles on their cake. Today, as many of you know, was my birthday. Fifty years ago I was the newest cheechako in the State of Alaska. Perhaps you've heard the line that if you say you can remember the sixties then you weren't really there. Well, I don't remember everything that happened politically or socially in the sixties but I do remember a lot of things that happened to me during that time. I was there for the whole decade except for the first two days. Now don't get all excited. I'm not going to talk about the sixties or the last 50 years. Today I'll be relating just about this weekend and today in particular.

Yesterday Debbie and I went back to the Grand Central Bakery and we each enjoyed a pastry and a cup of coffee. We also had purchased two loaves of their bread. One being the one they call Campagnolo and the other was their Sour Rye. I haven't been disappointed with any of loaves which we've purchased in the past and am anticipating these to be no different.

I chose to prepare my own birthday meal so later in the day I drove to the grocery store and purchased what would be our meal today. I decided to get some of my inspiration from Jamie Oliver again. I picked two recipes from one of his books which we picked up from the library. The first was a dish called Sticky Sausepan Carrots.

The second was called Rosemary Roasted Cubed Potatoes.

You know? You're right. That looks a lot more like boneless rib roast. That's because it is. It was the main course and I forgot to take a picture of the potatoes. I really enjoyed each of these. I think nearly everybody else liked them as well but there are a lot of left overs so perhaps I'll be enjoying them for the next few days. Probably I just made too much. I forgot to say that we stopped at Trader Joes to purchase some fancy cheeses and crackers

to serve just prior to the meal. The first course was a creamed broccoli and cheese soup.

I probably shouldn't have prefilled my guests. Now I will need to discover some sort of soup or stew to which I can add these delightful ingredients.

In the mean time, I guess I'll just get up and head off to work tomorrow and I'm pretty sure that I'll feel the same as I did yesterday. You know, fifty really isn't all that bad.