This Week

 Feet washing at my church

Feet washing at my church

I saw a funny yesterday, now lost to constant refreshing of the screen. It was a tweet, by someone I don't know, retweeted by someone I really don't know but know of. I can't find it again, but I'll recreate through the power of my prodigious memory:

I need an Academy Award nomination for my performance just now, searching through the fridge with my son for his leftovers when I definitely ate them.

This is so true it makes my teeth hurt. Confronted with perfectly ordinary, easy-call moral choices, we revert to hunter-gatherers and elbow the youngins away from the meat. I mean, I would have done the exact same thing, and the only reason I think I can't remember doing it is that it probably happened way too often.

Moral codes are hard. Sometimes we should make notes.

...

I like to make pizza, although it comes and goes, this desire. I don't eat it as much as I used to, but my son is currently between jobs and watching his money carefully, and pizza is cheap. I can make him a pizza from scratch, with ingredients on hand, in about 30 minutes from yeast to lip smacking. And it's fun.

I read an article on baking pizza in a cast-iron skillet, getting it nice and hot in a smoking oven for an hour, then slapping the dough  and ingredients on (tricky but not that difficult) and placing it back in the oven for 10 minutes or so. The hope is for a more pizza oven-like crust, although results have been less than satisfactory. It's just hard to do without bricks and fire and massive heat.

Speaking of heat--my favorite personal pizza is all about the hotness. It's a tricky word to use, hot, when talking about food, but I know what I mean. Not the temperature; the chili peppers. I learned to love capsaicin goodness a decade ago, encouraged by a mentor as he felt the endorphin reaction was a nice, natural way to produce calm. It worked, too.

So I became a devotee, and of course my tolerance increased, to the point that my eyes light up when I see the term ghost pepper. This is otherworldly heat, not really meant for human beings, but mashed into a salsa it gives some brilliant heat without raising blisters (it can, though).

I've got a favorite ghost pepper salsa, and this would it.

1497543535799.jpg

I found Mrs. Renfro because her salsa is less chunky, easy to dip veggies or chicken wings or whatever without needing to do laundry. And when I saw this particular label, I knew I'd found my go-to.

It works well as a pizza sauce, too. So sometimes I make these gloriously spicy pizzas, with this salsa as a base and tons of jalapenos, too. It's most properly paired with ice cream, which really should be in the vicinity (ice cream is the best way to cool down, I've found, dairy in general but c'mon, it's ice cream).

And yesterday I somehow picked up the salsa and not the marinara, and when my son bit into the first slice he got a very funny look on his face, and I was reminded of the above tweet.

Oh, I made him another one. But pizza for me, too. Win-win. Nice acting job, too.

...

I'm so close to being able to write what I've always wanted to write, a simple explanation, with accessible metaphors and analogies, to explain why an empiricist by nature, a skeptic by life experience, and an admirer of rigorous intellect more than vivid imaginations, would darken the door of any modern church, other than maybe the UUs.

I collect stories of others like me, reluctant to even pay attention to this talk of supernatural intervention and a kindly (only sometimes, though) diety who lavishes all sorts of goodies on the faithful, assuming they have the correct change. No thanks, we say, but some of us end up in the strangest places.

But not yet. Those words are tricky, and right now they feel mealy-mouthed.

So, just the facts. All sorts of Christian churches have all sorts of stuff going on this week, depending. In our little Presbyterian church, where progressive thought races through the halls, where we had our first same-sex wedding a few weeks following the thumbs-up from the Supreme Court, where our limited resources are devoted to social justice, which we've decided is the place we can put our energy (it's a very small church, at the moment anyway), we might seem a tad exotic because of our love of liturgy. And there's no week like Holy Week for that stuff.

Tomorrow night we mark Maundy Thursday, which is the da Vinci moment, the last supper in the upper room. We have communion. We have stations set around the sanctuary, where we wash each other's feet. It's a moving night.

Good Friday is somber, although we're not really an atonement community, with an emphasis on suffering for our sins, etc. It's still somber.

Saturday, we resurrect (it's OK) an ancient tradition that was lost for centuries, although most often practiced by higher churches. It's called the Easter Vigil, and we do it in our own way. Mostly, we revisit our most ancient myths and stories, from Creation to Noah to the Binding of Isaac to the dry bones and on and on. It can last a couple of hours. At the end, we load the table with a feast, more chocolate than you've ever seen, and understand what we're doing. It's the first service of Easter, after all.

So that's my week, or my wife's week. I have less responsibility, although I'll read a psalm and I will definitely get my shot at Isaiah 55, which is as poetic a verse as there is.

...

Anyway. Busy week. Wish I could explain more why this reboots my soul every year, and how I stifle my inner skeptic with little difficulty. People need to eat. People need to be fed. People need people. Somebody write a song. I'll be around.

Chuck Sigars4 Comments