THE INTERNET MONK SATURDAY BRUNCH
”It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”
Well, so far, approaching and during Lent at our Internet Monk Saturday Brunch, we’ve featured pancakes, soup, and beer. What shall we highlight today?
How about bread?
- Here’s a good recipe for a whole wheat bread.
- Here’s a recipe for Lagana Bread, eaten on “Clean Monday” to begin Lent in Greece.
- This recipe for Serbian Lenten pogacha (POH-gah-cha), also spelled pogača, uses no eggs, milk or butter, so it is perfect for fasting times.
- Capirotada is a family favorite on most Latin tables during Lent. It’s a bread and cheese casserole with blackberries.
- Here’s a couple who makes pretzels as their official bread for Lent.
Finally, here is an article about “Fasting Bread for Lent” at Catholic Cuisine. Not only is there a recipe and description, but a lesson on the ingredients you can share with children, and this beautiful prayer, which we’ll use as our Lenten Quote of the Week:
Heavenly Father, Let us enter the season of Lent in the spirit of joy, giving ourselves to spiritual strife, cleansing our soul and body, controlling our passions, as we limit our food, living on the virtues of the Holy Spirit;
Let us persevere in our longing for Christ so as to be worthy to behold His most solemn Passion and the most holy Passover, rejoicing the while with spiritual joy. Amen.
BEFORE SINGING, WE MUST EAT
Here’s a savory sip to whet your appetite:
There is a holy hovering around the sacramentally bubbling soups, an anticipation of the sustenance, laughter, and fellowship to come. After repeatedly being urged to get this party started, the pastor lifts his voice and leads a table prayer, even as a few sneaky folks slide over a wee bit closer to the table. “Amen!” Everyone falls into formation in two lines, one on each side of the table—mothers, dads, gray-haired ladies, bald old fellows, the proper and coiffed, the off-the-cuff and blue-jeaned. Laughing, smiling, anticipating. We, the church.
Some settle into familiar tables, as if resting into the relief of a well-worn pew. But familiar groupings also mix with unfamiliar ones. After all, soup supper isn’t coffee hour. You can sit literally anywhere. Old timers compliment young folks—“great recipe!”—and the favor is returned. Stories flow with the black coffee from the old, silver percolator. Someone remembered to plug it in early; nothing worse than coffee you can see through, as everyone knows. Well done, good and faithful servant, you old bubbling purveyor of koinonia. Without coffee, the people perish, I think it says in the good, old Book.
LOVING YOUR NEIGHBOR…WITH CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
Here’s one of my favorite stories of the year so far.
Last week, an elderly resident of Homewood, Alabama – affectionately known as “Mr. Frank” – went to his mailbox and found a hate-filled letter. This is what it said:
“We are a group of your neighbors who are concerned about the appearance of some homes on the street (and property values.) We are writing to you to ask you to remove your Christmas decorations!!! Also, please consider cleaning up your yard and remove the plants along the edge of the yard.
“It might be in your best interest to consider selling your home so the yard can be properly landscaped and the house torn down (so a new one can be built that is more fitting with the other homes on the street.) Thank you.”
I’ll let Carol Robinson at AL.com take it from there.
“Mr. Frank,” who grew up in his family home and moved back after his mother died, confided to a neighbor about the letter and soon word of the nastiness got around. “He was devastated,” said another neighbor, Carrie Engle. “It horrified all of us that knew about it.”
So they took action. Dozens of neighbors – at least 30 of them – went into their attics and basements and pulled out their own Christmas lights in a brightly-colored show of solidarity. “He told our neighbor the reason he keeps his Christmas lights on his tree is because he sits on his porch and sees people constantly run our stop sign and he’s afraid they’ll hit his tree and get hurt,” Engle said.
As for “Mr. Frank’s” yard, Engle said it’s beautiful, and a source of pride for all of the neighbors. “He works in his yard nonstop and personally I think he does nothing but increase the value of my home,” she said. “He’s taught me more about gardening than anybody. He’s a gentle, kind soul.”
Engle said the neighborhood has turned it into a teaching moment, for both adults and kids alike. She has three children, ages 16, 13 and 9, and said the ordeal has upset them. “I was telling them that this was bullying, and we’re taught to love our neighbors so that’s what we should do,” she said.
Already loved, “Mr. Frank” has become increasingly popular in recent days. Engle estimates that he’s received between 50 to 100 cards in his mailbox, as well as baked goods. Here’s what her own 9-year-old, Cade, wrote to him: “Dear Mr. Frank, I’m so sorry that that person rote (sic) that note. We do not want you to leave. Don’t put your Christmas lights up, keep them up. It looks so pretty.”
Thank you, Homewood residents, for loving your neighbor.
TEN THOUGHTS ON LOVE FROM A WEDDING WRITER
Lois Smith Brady writes for the wedding pages of the NY Times. She’s used to hearing clichés about love, but when someone says something truly original it gets her attention. She wrote an article discussing ten of those contributions.
Here are a few of them:
- “I now know what love is,” one man said. “It’s when someone becomes part of every breath, in what way I do not know. But I couldn’t breathe without her.”
- “In a sense, the person we marry is a stranger about whom we have a magnificent hunch.”
- “Of my own accord, I present myself, my days, my nights and my life. I present them freely and willingly because they cannot be better spent than in your company.”
Few things nourish the heart more than love well spoken.
YES! A WIN FOR THE OXFORD COMMA!
I myself have always been a fan. I guess that puts me on one side of a bitter debate. Do we use the “Oxford comma,” or is it unnecessary?
Here’s the debate: In a list of three or more items — like “bread, milk and vegetables” — some people would put a comma after milk, and some would leave it out. A lot of people feel strongly about it. I myself always do, for I feel it distinguishes each separate item on the list, whereas without it, it might be implied that the second and third items have a different relationship between each other than the first and second.
How much does it matter? Possibly up to $10 million.
The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in a recent 29-page court decision, made a ruling that could cost a dairy company in Portland, Me. that much.
In 2014, three truck drivers sued Oakhurst Dairy, seeking more than four years’ worth of overtime pay that they had been denied. Maine law requires workers to be paid 1.5 times their normal rate for each hour worked after 40 hours, but it carves out some exemptions.
…The debate over commas is often a pretty inconsequential one, but it was anything but for the truck drivers. Note the lack of Oxford comma — also known as the serial comma — in the following state law, which says overtime rules do not apply to:
The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of:
(1) Agricultural produce;
(2) Meat and fish products; and
(3) Perishable foods.
Does the law intend to exempt the distribution of the three categories that follow, or does it mean to exempt packing for the shipping or distribution of them?
Delivery drivers distribute perishable foods, but they don’t pack the boxes themselves. Whether the drivers were subject to a law that had denied them thousands of dollars a year depended entirely on how the sentence was read.
If there were a comma after “shipment,” it might have been clear that the law exempted the distribution of perishable foods. But the appeals court on Monday sided with the drivers, saying the absence of a comma produced enough uncertainty to rule in their favor.
And who said grammar doesn’t matter?
QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK
- Why am I just no good at memorizing Scripture?
THIS WEEK IN MUSIC…
We had a wonderful opportunity to have a house concert last night in our home, welcoming Frank Lee and Allie Burbrink to share their old time songs along with phenomenal banjo and guitar accompaniment. About 25 of us gathered, had a St. Patrick’s Day feast with Irish stew and shepherd’s pie and some good Irish beer, and enjoyed some fantastic music.
Here’s a taste of Frank & Allie…