Sunday, March 22, 2009

Convalescent Food, Lemon Poppyseed Yoghurt Cakelets and Exodus and the People of God

Breakfast for the Convalescent: Oatmeal Porridge and No Discrimination Baked Karafuto-shishamo
Breakfast for the Convalescent: Oatmeal Porridge and No Discrimination Baked Karafuto-shishamo

Exodus was a gripping re-read while sick in bed. Does it repay re-reading? Are you kidding me? It's got fighting, torture, revenge, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles... Doesn't sound too bad. Plus more fun than watching Princess Bride for the 100th time. Plus there aren't any kissing bits in it. But then there aren't any fencing bits either.

Snack for the Convalescent: Pot of TWG Vanilla Bourbon and a Square (a few squares?) of Askinosie's Soconusco Nibble Bar with Cocoa Nibs
We are not to read our current circumstances into the Bible; that would be misreading the word of God. But it is possible that with the lengthening of teeth comes the perception of a deeper layer to that age-old story one'd known as a child.

In addition to being a glorious story of God's rescue of the Israelites, Exodus also tells us about life as and amongst the professing people of God. ADD and short-term memories aren't new-fangled disorders brought on by the modern diet and the new media. They'd existed way back in the day when refined sugar and brainless cable telly had yet to make an appearance.

Moses, of whom it was said "there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel" (Deuteronomy 34:10-12), started off a first-class whinger and excuse-maker (see Exodus 3-4) and ended off being excluded from entering the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 3:26) because of his failure to uphold the holiness of God (Numbers 27:13-14). Despite the wonders God had done through him, and that the word of God had proved to come true on each and every occasion, and that he had a closer relationship with God than any human (save Jesus), Moses' faith was still shown to be sorely lacking.

Modern readings would have us believe that the Pharaoh was the evil oppressor dude and that the poor innocent oppressed were the good dudes whom Moses, an early emancipator, freed from slavery. But Israel's rescue from Egypt was less about civil and human rights and more about God exerting his rights over the Israelites as his slaves who were to be freed so they could worship him alone. Despite observing the great miracles wrought by God in Egypt (see the ten plagues in Exodus 7-12), and the obvious protection and power of God (Exodus 13-14) so that they feared him and believed in him and in Moses (Exodus 14:31), and the great song and praise and dance session on the beach (Exodus 15:1-21), 3 days later, they were already grumbling against God and Moses and distrusting both of them (Exodus 15:22-27). This was to be a recurring theme in their journey to the Promised Land. What remarkably selective amnesia.

This is what the people of God are like: their hearts are inclined to evil all the time. Not much better than the nasty disbelieving Pharaoh. Even with new fleshy hearts (cf Ezekiel 11:19), we always go back to rejecting God and his word no matter how much we understand what he has done for us, or who he is. What this means for life together as God's people is this: it will always be tough and uncomfortable. Because as we reject God's way of life, as we sin against God, we also hurt those around us. So perhaps it is good to have this warning on our church doors like the one Dale Ralph Davis has on the Woodland Presbyterian Church website: This church is full of sinners. Everyone who comes here is one. You'll need to remember that if you associate with us – or you may be unnecessarily disappointed.

(Yet another strata of the Exodus story seems to be the teacher-student Father-son relationship between God and his people. Studying this book over the next few months looks to be quite exciting indeed.)

Other stay-at-home pottering-arounds yielded:
Lemon Poppyseed Yoghurt Mini-Loaf Cakes - Icing and Nom-ing Simultaneously
Lemon Poppyseed Yoghurt Mini-Loaf Cakes with Lemon Glaze
(riff on Barefoot Contessa/Ina Garten's recipe)
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
0.5 teaspoon salt
1 cup vanilla yogurt
3 extra-large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
0.5 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
0.5 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup poppyseeds

Moist, decent crumb but without the nuttiness of the poppyseeds, would have been single-dimensional in taste. Even the fragrance of the extra-virgin olive oil didn't manage to bulk up the flavour department. Its eating became quickly boring. Ground almonds next time perhaps. Or embedded fruits. Or flavoured liqueur. Or flaked nuts. Or dark chocolate glaze. Or whipped cream. Or all the above.

Current Read/Think-through of Exodus

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At March 22, 2009 10:25 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

ina garten got her receipe from dorie greenspan. do a search for dorie's lemon yogurt cake. you will like it. it has ground almonds in.

At March 28, 2009 1:10 pm , Blogger ♥♥♥♥♥ Jennifer™® ♥♥♥♥♥ said...

your blog is very good......


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