Getting Grounded

photo credit: Brooke McAllister
Happy Friday, Blog Chums!  I'm writing over at Sheloves.com again today. Click on the link at the end of this post to read the whole story...
A new friend walked with me through our garden. She pointed at the white cloth draped over a row of growing carrots. “What’s that white cloth for?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I replied.

She looked at the garlic bed and remarked on how many green shoots there seemed to be. “How many varieties are you growing?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I replied.

She pointed at a moth fluttering over the cauliflower. “Is that a good moth or a bad moth?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I replied.

And then I crumpled to the ground.

“I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know,” I wailed, clutching my head with both hands and swaying dramatically on my knees. There might have been screechy violin music in the background. The sky might have turned black and the clouds rained blood.

And then I woke up...

Read the rest of this post at Sheloves


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HomeBrewed Christianity Goes Green



Hello Blog Chums!

I want to make you all aware of a wonderful creation care podcast series that has just come online this week. It’s hosted by a wonderful website called HomeBrewed Christianity (think theology, beer and winsome dialogue).

Yours truly lead off the series on all things Planted and A Rocha. The podcasts are about 50 minutes each and are free for your listening enjoyment (just scroll down until you see the little play button).

Go to http://homebrewedchristianity.com/

Here’s an outline of the series. Enjoy!

Episode 1: Leah Kostamo author of Planted: A Story of Creation, Calling, and Community

Episode 2: Matthew Sleeth author of Serve God Save The Planet , The Gospel According to the Earth & 24/6

Episode 3: Jennifer Butler is part of the new Christian Earthkeeping emphasis at George Fox Seminary. She is co-author of the upcoming book On Earth As In Heaven due out in November.

Episode 4: Randy Woodley with Shalom and the Community of Creation: an Indigenous Vision

Episode 5: John Cobb rang the alarm bell back in 1972 and has recently returned to the theme with Spiritual Bankruptcy: a prophetic call to action.

Episode 6: is a special surprise from new Elder Micky Jones and friend.

Episode 7: is specifically food related. How do get food on the table? What issues are related to feeding a family?

Episode 8: at the the end of each episode, we ask our guest the same 5 questions. Tripp and I are dedicating a TNT to interacting with their answers to the those 5 questions. It will be in the same format that we did the Brueggemann-Fretheim Bible Bash.
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Living with Lentils


credit:  FelixLeupold

As a family and at A Rocha we try to eat real food from a bit lower on the food chain. It’s our meager stand of solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the two-thirds world for whom a locally grown, mostly vegetarian diet is the norm. Most long-term guests take our food agenda in stride, or at least they try to. In the beginning lentils are novel, and they feel noble eating like the rest of the two-thirds world. But after a week or two this wears off and there is a clamoring for meat—big chunks of it. In this regard I’m reminded of one of our first A Rocha interns, Martin Lings. I was in charge of the food during the early days of our Environmental Centre, and while I’m not a terrible cook, I was run a bit off my feet and my culinary craftings suffered as a result. I recall one particular day when I had morphed leftover lentils into their third incarnation. This simple little act of efficiency caused Martin, normally the height of English civility, to positively lose it. The scene went something like this:

 Me: Sauntering to the table with a child on my hip and casserole dish in hand—the very picture of female domesticity. “Dinner’s served!”

     Martin: Staring hungrily from the table. “Smells good, what’s for tea (read: supper)?”

     Me: Coyly. “Oh, just a little lentil thing I refashioned.”

     Martin: Face falling, eyeing the casserole dish suspiciously. “Huh?”

     Me: Smiling a bit too brightly. No comment as I lift the casserole lid.

     Martin: Wailing. “Nooooooo, not Lentil Goo again!”

Indeed, it was Lentil Goo again! But in the years since, I have perfected Lentil Goo into Lentil Dahl, which, if I do say so myself, is rather tasty. For a couple of years it became a weekly standard at the A Rocha table and was almost always appreciated even by the more carnivorous in the crowd. I offer you now, a rough sketch of that dish in case you want to try it in your own kitchen:



credit: mode
Leah’s Dahl


1. Sauté two onions in plenty of olive oil    

2. Add spices, salt and sugar: 
    4 T. curry powder
    4 T. cumin
    3 T. coriander
    2 T. garam marsala
    1 t. cardamom
    2 T. salt
    2 heaping T. brown sugar

3. Add water (aprox. 10 cups) and red lentils (aprox. 5 cups) – add more water if needed as it cooks.

4. Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer for one hour -- stir every once and a while.

5. Taste and spice as needed (sometimes I end up more than doubling the spices and salt because I’ve just “eyeballed” it to start with).

Serve on rice with plain yogurt and chutney.

Serves 8
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At the Table of Abundance

credit:  Brooke McAllister

     The predominant theme overarching all the farming and eating at A Rocha’s Centres has been one of abundance. Weekly Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) baskets (actually, big Rubbermaid blue tubs) overflow with up to twenty different selections of produce, from potatoes to spinach to rutabagas. The bounty is so copious that most CSA members split their share with another household since they find it impossible to make it through all those veggies in one week. Reflecting on this theme of abundance, our farmer Paul summed it up well in one of his regular CSA newsletters: “Such abundance is a gift, and makes possible other gifts: healthy bodies and minds nourished by good food; the raw materials for hospitality; the opportunity for generosity; the necessity of creativity in the kitchen (what to do with kohlrabi?); and the reminder that all of this comes from the hand of our generous Creator!”

     At A Rocha, we don’t have a chapel, we have a table. The meal is a place of community, fellowship and invitation. Conversations range from favourite films to theology to birds sighted on the morning bird walk to the number of eggs laid by the hens that morning to more personal family histories. The table is a safe place, a neutral ground for dialogue, knowing and communion. Is it any wonder that the New Testament is full of accounts of Jesus eating meals with people (and with the most unlikely people)? Is it any wonder that Jesus chose a meal to commemorate the abundance of his love?
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