Monday, November 29, 2010

The Things I Don't Bring

Michael here...

"Somewhere we know that without silence, words lose their meaning; that without listening, speaking no longer heals; that without distance, closeness cannot cure"      -Henri Nouwen

So many of my interactions with others are filled with my words or actions to attempts to either prove myself to them, or to help them with something, when what is usually needed is for me to shut my mouth and just accept them where they are, and listen to them. I have to constantly remind myself that people don't need to be fixed, they need to be loved. God did not equip any of us to fix all the problems of the people around us, but he did equip us to forgive, to show mercy, and to love. Sometimes what I don't bring is what people need the most.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Love That Says No

Many people know the story from the Gospel of Mark that tells of Jesus becoming angered at the "moneychangers" in the temple. He overturned tables and chairs and generally made a mess of their business operations, saying, "Is it not written, My house shall be called a house of prayer? But you have made it a den of robbers." Those people in the temple sold "acceptable" sacrifices to those who travelled to Jerusalem, and had begun to take advantage of them, and were turning a pretty profit. But what was the point of Jesus' rant? He would leave the temple that day and the money changers would just continue to run their schemes. I think the point that Jesus made was actually more for those standing around than for the money changers, and I think the message was: "It's not ok with me that people take advantage of you". Consistently allowing others to abuse or humiliate us is not the same as loving those oppressors. Being taken advantage of is not a spiritual discipline. Sometimes love needs to say: "This is just not ok anymore". For those who suffer, standing up to the abuse or mistreatment is harder than words can say, and great support and courage are required. But if you have ever suffered mistreatment, please know that you matter more than you could possibly imagine. This topic is deeper than we can cover here, so I'll stop and invite any feedback you have.....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pumpkin Experience # 12

Pumpkin Experience # 12 (and yes I am getting weary) was a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Gloria Jean's. As a pumpkin freak, I have had my share of pumpkin spice latte's, and I've found that they can be amazing or just as easily can be too syrupy, creating a not great after taste. Gloria Jean's delivered beautifully. I opted to go without the whipped cream, and found that the drink was just the right amount of sweet and pumpkiny.

Also, it's clear that I am not going to get close to the 25-30 pumpkin posts I had hoped, so faithful readers, I am appealing to you. Anyone who has eaten or will eat anything pumpkiny over the rest of the month, sign in, and then respond to this blog with your critique. Together we may yet reach the hallowed number of 30 pumpkin posts!

Pumpkinocity: 9 out of 10
Held Needed: 12,347 out of 10

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pumpkin Experience #11

Pumpkin Experience # 11 was Roasted Garlic Pumpkin Soup courtesy of the good folks at Whole Foods. I am a big fan of Whole Foods, but this soup was a stretch even for me. It was the color and consistency of baby food, and tasted like what I can only imagine the stuff from the other end of a baby tastes like.

Pumpkinocity: 2
Best flavor of babyfood: Banana

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

True Perfection

Michael here...

A longer quote, but well worth it....

"This is true perfection: not to avoid a wicked life because like slaves we servilely fear punishment, nor to do good because we hope for rewards, as if cashing in on the virtuous life by some business-like arrangement. On the contrary, disregarding all those things for which we hope and which have been reserved by promise, we regard falling from GOD's friendship as the only thing dreadful and we consider becoming GOD's friend the only thing worthy of desire and honor. This as I have said, is perfection of life. "                        -Gregory of Nyssa

This is not to say that as followers we are ever not friends of GOD, but that marinating in that friendship is the greatest possibly way to pass the minutes of our lives. Friendship is not forced, but only to be enjoyed. His friendship is always available to us, it's just that we don't always take time to enjoy this great truth of our existence. Relationship is not driven by a fear of punishment or a hope of a reward, but of simply drinking it in deeply.

Pumpkin Experience #10

Pumpkin Experience #10 was the Pumpkin Praline Pancakes at Ihop. I've had the pumpkin pancakes at Ihop before, but there's a twist on the version they are offering up this time around. This year there are pralines scattered across the top as well as some caramel sauce. The pancakes were delicious, but I think the caramel sauce is a bit much. I really didn't need the extra 1200 carbs, and the sweetness distracted from the pumpkinocity that I was craving. All around though, a solid pumpkin experience.

Pumpkinocity: 7 out of 10
Better place for the caramel sauce: I would think apple wedges (Granny Smith preferably)

Monday, November 8, 2010

All In or All Out or Maybe Something Else

Michael writes...

What is it about relationships that terrify us so much? We all seem glued to one of two extremes with people. Either we keep them completely out because we are afraid of their rejection, and whatever else may happen when I let them see the real me. Or we let them all the way in because I need them to be ok with me for me to feel ok about myself. The first option keeps us lonely because we were created for relationship, the second makes us completely dependent on what others think of us. The middle ground is so hard! We are such fragile creatures! (I'm putting myself at the top of the list) The truth is that Christ's sustaining love is enough, but that seems impossible for the clay vessels that we are to hang on to for long.  Feedback???????????

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Frightening Films

Tony writes:
Michael and I decided that for October we would watch one “horror” movie each week leading up to Halloween. We chose Let the Right One In (Sweden), The Devil’s Backbone (Spain), Splice (Canada/France) and The Orphanage (Spain). The subject matter of each film varied and included entities such as vampires, ghosts and a scientifically created creature. One of the common elements was that all the films except Let the Right One In were produced by Spanish filmmaker , Guillermo del Toro, who is probably best known as the director of Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth. We both were taken with how different the films felt from typical US horror movies. The pacing was much slower and methodical. The films did not seem preoccupied with cheap scares. They were thoughtful and in-depth portrayals of everyday people caught up in other-worldly situations. What caught my attention was the fact that the “monster” in each film was eventually portrayed as a sympathetic character while some of the “real” people were the actual fiends. This theme was especially so in Let the Right One In and The Devil’s Backbone. One final note, I think that the swimming pool scene at the end of Let the Right One In was one of the most clever horror scenes ever. If you get a chance, check it out.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pumpkin Experience # 9

This pumpkin quest has been enjoyable, but not without challenges. I understood that sacrifice would be involved, ( ie. the 7 million carbs I have ingested over the past three weeks) but I was ready. I'm not an egg nog fan, or any sort of nog fan now that I think of it. But this blog is a higher calling. So, when I ran across pumpkin experience # 9, I knew I had no choice but to give it a try. Pumpkin Experience # 9 was Pumpkin Spice Nog. I found it at a local grocery store and it was the color and consistency of the seafood sauce I love at most Japanese restaurants. I wasn't super excited about trying it, so I just got up my courage, opened up the fridge one day and drank a huge gulp. I woke up 2 hours later on the kitchen floor, mumbling to myself about seafood sauce and Charlie Brown's shirt. Thinking that it was some kind of fluke, I decided to drink two more gulps. The next thing I remember, it was two days later, and I was standing on the roof of an Ihop in South Carolina with what appeared to be a large cat on a leash. Upon closer inspection, I found that my pet of choice was actually a raccoon. (Blogger's note: FaithFoodandFilm does not recommend keeping a raccoon as a pet as they carry disease and are generally mean spirited. If you should decide to keep a raccoon as a pet, do not mock them, as it would appear that they hate that more than anything. If you should mock the raccoon, and in the brawl that ensues, he should happen to scratch your cornea, please go to your local ER immediately.) So, in closing, I would not recommend Pumpkin Spice Nog.

Pumpkinocity: -12
Dangers of punching a raccoon in his arrogant little face: Immense

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pumpkin Experience # 8

Hearty, delicious, and sweet, that's what the lady behind me in line at the check-out was saying about me, when I was purchasing Pumpkin Experience #8: Pumpkin Apple Tea Bread from Whole Foods. In a head to head with the Pumpkin Chocolate Pound Cake from an earlier blog, the Pumpkin Apple Tea Bread would win comfortably. It was moist and just the right amount of pumpkiny. It goes perfectly with a strong cup of coffee, preferably something a bit dark with earthy, chocolatey tones, and not the fruity or floral tones.

Pumpkinocity: 6 out of 10
The girl in the check out line's phone number: Unlisted

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pumpkin Experience # 7

I usually steer away from the pastry selections at major chain coffee shops. I always fear that they have been there for 3 weeks, and have been sprayed with some sort of glossy spray to make them look appetizing, but the great pumpkin quest calls......

Pumpkin Experience #7 was the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin at Starbucks. The muffin part was ok, not super pumpkiny though. There was a cream cheese icing dollop wedged into the top of the muffin, which was very good, but made it seem more like carrot cake than pumpkin muffin. Next time I'll just opt for a tub of cream cheese icing and coffee.

Pumpkinocity: 2 out of 10
Number of hours of insomnia after a tub of cream cheese icing: 73