The Slotted Spoon

The Slotted Spoon

This morning at around 11, I left Englewood Hospital after visiting someone. As I walked back to my car parked in front of Brookside Cemetery on Engle Street, as I walked just beyond the ambulance bays for the emergency room, a man came up to me.

He was wearing a Batman tee-shirt and smoking a joint.

“What are you going to think when after you die, there is nothing but blackness?”

Mezmerized a bit by the tee-shirt and the ridiculous tattoo of a slotted spoon on his left arm and that he was smoking mariguana outside of a hospital (granted, it could be a “medically” approved joint), I asked him to repeat his question.

I answered: “I’ll probably be thinking that a guy wearing a Batman tee-shirt with a tattoo of a spoon on his arm was right. But since I’m going to be standing at the pearly gates looking at Jesus, wouldn’t you like to know how to get into heaven?”

Bananas, Bees, and Breakfast

Bananas, Bees, and Breakfast

You ate what for breakfast?

A banana.

That’s it?

Yeah. A banana.

Don’t you think that you should something more substantial than just a banana?

No, I wasn’t hungry.

So you ate just a banana.

Yes. And drank two cups of coffee?

Anything in the coffee?

No, just black.

You wake up in the morning and eat only a banana and drink two cups of coffee. Don’t you know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day?

I never believed that marketing mantra. But I did eat breakfast. I ate a banana.

Don’t you know that you need protein to stimulate your muscles? A banana doesn’t have protein!

A banana has protein, about 2 percent of what the government tells you that your body needs in a day.

That’s nothing! 

No, that’s something.

What are you having for lunch then? An apple?

I was planning on a salad with baby kale, spinach, a couple of cherry tomatoes, cannellini beans, mustard, and a sweet potato.

What the heck kind of salad is that? Mustard? Do you mean honey mustard dressing?

It is a salad with greens, beans, tomatoes, and regular spicy mustard with no oil. The sweet potato is great with this salad. And just so you know, I don’t eat honey.

Why don’t you eat honey?

I follow a plant-based diet that doesn’t include anything that comes from animal.

But honey comes from a bee?

Yeah, and?

But it isn’t an animal.

Well, bees are animals, don’t you think?

But taking a bee’s honey it isn’t hurting the animal. You ain’t killing a bee to get its honey. Not like when you eat a steak because you have to kill the cow to get its meat.

It comes from a bee. That is why I don’t eat honey. Plus, honey has never been a favorite of mine, though I was in love with Honey Nut Cheerios for a while.

Are you going to eat an apple?

Maybe in the middle of the afternoon. I could eat an orange or a peach.

So what’s for dinner?

Leftovers. I made this really good dish last night that doesn’t have a name. It included brown rice, green peppers, onions, spinach, black beans, a frozen vegetable mixture of zucchini, broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower, and a sauce that included tamari, peanut butter and red pepper flakes.

That sounds OK. You should call it “Anthony throws a bunch of stuff in a wok and hopes it tastes good.”

Hey, that sounds like a good recipe title!

But what the heck is tamari?

It’s gluten free soy sauce.

Why not eat normal soy sauce? You’re not allergic to gluten?

I bought it at Whole Foods. It was on sale.

Whole Foods has sales? Whenever I go in there I go broke buying stuff.

It’s not that bad. And now that Amazon owns them, I hope some prices come down. Even better is if they link up their Amazon Fresh grocery program with Whole Foods. That would be great!

Anthony, you’ve lost your mind. Eat a steak.

Without a Shepherd

Without a Shepherd

A friend is over in Germany right now “following in the footsteps of Martin Luther.” He’s on a ten-day tour of the places that made the Lutheran Reformation the single greatest movement that changed the world forever. The Lutheran Reformation wasn’t just an act that changed the Christian Church by releasing the Gospel from its captivity, but it ended up being the impetus that reestablished the importance of nations instead of a vast Empire.

The Reformation celebrates its 500th anniversary this coming October, and plenty of Lutherans from around the globe are pilgrimaging to Germany to stand in the stead of Luther and the early Lutheran Church leaders. People who have taken one of these trips come back with a sense of awe in seeing the earthly foundations of the Lutheran Church. The inspiration they gather from walking the streets of Wittenburg is seen on their faces.

But I have a question:

What good is a trip to Germany to see the place where Luther walked and nailed the 95 Theses to the church door if when you come back and don’t want to do what Luther did five centuries ago? Luther’s actions freed the Gospel and made it relevant in the lives of Christians. He showed the importance of the active faith that trusts in God and the work of Jesus Christ for the salvation of our souls.

Today, many of our churches are struggling under the burdens of small numbers in the pews and lack of resources to expand ministries. Our Synod always seems to spend more time debating how to punish people than how to help local congregations develop their ideas and ministries so that the Gospel of Jesus can reach individuals who are without faith.

I have this belief that if Martin Luther were alive today, he would cry at the state of our churches and implore us to be better.

Look around – there are too many souls without a Good Shepherd. We, the Church, must do better.

Millennials might as well be ‘Generation Hopeless’ — New York Post

Millennials might as well be ‘Generation Hopeless’ — New York Post

Forget lazy, self-centred or cocky — the truth about most millennials is they’re absolutely hopeless when it comes to basic life and workplace skills, experts say. Research shows young adults are comfortable putting themselves “out there” online, but all that time glued to screens has raised a generation incapable of small talk, critical thinking, and…

via Millennials might as well be ‘Generation Hopeless’ — New York Post

Supreme Court Religious Bonus

Supreme Court Religious Bonus

Good news: Mon­day’s Supreme Court rul­ing on re­li­gious lib­erty was even bet­ter than we thought. The Jus­tices ruled 7-2 that a church could not be banned from a pub­lic ben­e­fit pro­gram merely be­cause it is a church. On Tues­day the Jus­tices ex­tended that prin­ci­ple by over­turn­ing a rul­ing that struck down Col-orado’s school voucher pro­gram on re­li­gious grounds.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal (subscription required)