Sunday, March 19, 2017

Tahini Recipes

Once upon a newspaper, I clipped these recipes.  I'll put them here for safer and more convenient reference.

1.  I made these cookies once, and I did not make them again because they were too good (you know what I mean, wink.)  (Even Opra says, that, mercifully she does not have a very sweet tooth. --Well, I do.  I do have a sweet tooth.  We were raised on chocolate and cake, in a land of milk and honey.  And, the tahini is addictive.)

Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies:

1.5 cups of flour
1 tsp. salt
0.5 tsp. baking soda
0.5 cup butter
0.5 cup raw tahini
0.5 cup sugar
0.5 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract of paste
1.5 cups milk or dark chocolate chips
or chopped chocolate
coarse sea salt or sesame seeds or a combination for garnish

350 F, for 10-12 min.

2.  Basic Tahini Sauce

1/2 cups tahini
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
1/3 cup ice water
3 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 salt
pinch ground cumin, optional

add 1/2 cup chopped parsley, cilantro or dill
to the sauce and puree; delicious on fish

3.  Spicy Tahini, Butter and Maple Glazed Carrots

2 pounds thin carrots
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp black petter
1/2 tsp. ground cumin

3 tbsp. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. raw tahini
1 tbsp. maple syrup
14 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. lemon juice

Toss carrots with olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin, spread on a foil lined baking sheet.
Roast, 400 F, until starting to brown around the edges and tender, ca. 20 min.

Melt butter, with garlic and cook until fragrant, add tahini and syrup flakes, etc.
cook 1-2 min til thickened.  Drizzle over carrots.  Serve hot or warm.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A morning in the life of a grandma

Grandbaby is coming for childminding.  The very smart daughter has to study for an exam.--Good for all of us.  This is where life is really at.  Hubby and I went to Lenten service in town last night.  This is also where life is at.  The pastor preached about a commandment.  This is the kind of thing we rarely hear about.  Surely law and gospel both need to be addressed.

Grandma is just making a blog post over her morning coffee to digest the morning news.  Mind you it is yesterday's coffee.  I always make too much and then drink it for two days.  Someone should give me a nice barrista-style machine.   It hardly recommends itself to comment on the news these days; there is commentary ubiquitously to be had.   We can hardly stand the news and the commentaries any more.  The spin cycle goes on forever.

But let me unload myself of these three tidbits.  For one thing, as I am getting older, I feel there is a certain mental hygiene to keep writing about what is in your head and finding words to express what moves and agitates you.  If it is not interesting to others, they do not have to read it.  At least, I am not taking up airtime like those who talk incessantly about the same things.   Also, we should try and do everything possible to help keep dementia at bay.

Anyways,  number one, there was a story about a row between trans-women and feminists in Africa.  This is not really surprising, because where-ever you are, really, only a woman can be a woman.  It is just a fact of nature.  So, a feminist said:  "A trans-woman is a trans-woman".  --This sort of statement is the height of insensitivity to a man who really wants to be a woman, we are always told.  What may or may not be sensitive to women, who happen to be 50% of the population, does not seem to matter at all.  That someone who wants to have their hair, breast, make-up done to be a woman, and understands nothing of what it is to be a woman, and then insists on being called a woman, is just incredible to women everywhere.  As if women were their exterior.  (Only a man could possibly think that way.) But they don't want to get it.  They may be in mental distress but they are not the only people with distress.  We cannot deny womanhood because a trans-woman wants to be called a woman under all circumstances. -- But these stories are so old now, I don't even know why I write about it.

As per usual the Bible is right with its simple formulation.  "Male and female he created them."  It is a loaded saying.  Soon, they will clap you in prison for quoting this verse, so obviously biological in nature.

The other story was about "family offices" for the super-rich.  It was a BBC story here.   Families of super-wealthy billionaires make sure that the wealth stays in the family.  They like to be centered in London, England, and that is where these offices full of advisors are, helping them grow their money, keeping it out of the hands of in-laws, and the government coffers.

It makes me kind of sad on this level of lobbying and news cycling we have been seeing and getting so tired off.  Fund managers with huge wealth and others have been funding movements and news distributors, artists, etc. who will push different agendas.  No doubt this sort of thing happens across the spectrum of opinion, but this march of women on Washington recently does make one think.  How was is possible to mobilize so many women around the globe to walk simultaneously wearing home-knitted pussy-hats.  No self-respecting woman I know would have participated in a thing like that.  Where did they get all these women?  Where did they get all this protesting masses?  And what on earth where they protesting? --  They were worried there would be a loss to abortion funding and to gay rights.  Pussy hats instead of baby hats. -- Let's not get into that right this moment. -- But I do wonder about the funding structure for all this organizing.  Where ever the money is coming from, it just seems to squelch a proper dialogue of interested parties. Even I hardly want to waste my time commenting any more.  Their strategy is working in that respect...but I have a grandchild to watch...  Yippy!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Airports in Canada in March

For the funeral, I flew in some smaller planes for short distance flights (in Canada not so very short distance).  At home, it was -30 below that morning, when leaving.  But the time at the airport was magical.  A woman was playing Bach on a piano just outside the security area in in front of the big windows by Starbucks closest to the viewing area.  The seating was on park benches by the big glass front, and the effect was very uplifting.  I did get myself a cup at Starbucks--though I think I am boycotting them, I forget why, just now.  (What a world.)  I am also boycotting Paypal, I forget why, also.  They wrote me a note the other day, to please come back and use them.  It must be getting tough for them.

Upon leaving at the other end, I thought it was quite magical, too. The sun was rising over the mountains fringing the lower mainland valley.  I had a nice little banter over word usage with a man just before and during security.  He had walked the whole maze before getting to security and I had skipped through them by the side, missing about 20 meters of useless maze-walking.  We tried to find the best words for what I had done.  He thought I had "got purchase".  I thought I had taken "licence".  Anyways, there were a lot of business travelers and they were a lively lot, reading books and talking things over.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Travels / The End of World War II Stories / Hymn for funeral

We have completed some traveling just now, the latest trip having been to attend the funeral of an uncle in Vancouver. He is the husband of my father's oldest sister and he was quite old when he died.  He had lived a highly eventful life, born an ethnic German Mennonite in the Ukraine and into the time of the second World War.  I heard his stories the first time when I was nine years old and could never forget them including the moral dilemmas and traumas he faced.  He is one who told his stories over and over.  His son said at the funeral that a movie could have been made of his life, and indeed, it would be an incredible movie.--But we are almost coming to the end of burying ethnic Germans who lived through the war and can remember it.  As a great loss to world history, their lives tend to have not been made into movies.

A hymn was passed out to sing for the funeral service that I did not know.

Below it is in German, as it was sung, and in English translation, which I am providing at this time.  The text is by Arno Poetzsch , 1941.

1. Du kannst nicht tiefer fallen
als nur in Gottes Hand,
die er zum Heil uns allen,
barmherzig ausgespannt.

2. Es muenden alle Pfade
durch Schicksal, Schuld und Tod
doch ein in Gottes Gnade
trotz aller unserer Not.

3. Wir sind von Gott umgeben
auch hier in Raum und Zeit
und werden in ihm leben
und sein in Ewigkeit.


1.  You cannot fall so low,
that you are not still in God's hand,
which he holds out for us all,
graciously for our salvation.

2.  All paths lead to the mercy of God,
be it through tragedy, guilt and death,
or any of our great need and trouble.

3.  God surrounds us
even here in space and time,
and we will also live in him,
in eternity.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Luther on Hymns and Spiritual Songs

From:  Luther's Works Volume 76, pp. 299-302. (American Edition)


"Let the Word of God dwell among you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual, sweet songs in grace."  [Col.3:16]

This properly follows what he said about thankfulness, as if he would say:  See to it that you honor teachers and preachers and are thankful to them, so that they can attend to the Word and offer it to you richly. I think that St. Paul is not talking about how God's Word was given from heaven, for that is not in our hands; rather, God alone must give it so that it dwells in us.  As He has done and still does whenever He has the Gospel preached, He pours it out richly, so that He keeps nothing back which is necessary for us to know.  After He has given it to us, we ought to be thankful and attentive to read, hear, ponder, sings, and speak it day and night, and to procure many teachers who present it to us richly and without ceasing.  That is what it means that God's Word dwells in us richly.

But the satiated, lazy spirits soon become tired and let the preachers go wherever they go.  Then the preachers have to work and support themselves, so that God's Word is neglected and becomes meager and rare.  So Nehemiah complains that the Levites had to leave worship and the temple and live on the land, because they received no support from the people--or they had to set up false worship and fables to mislead the people, because in that way they were not only supported but also became rich.

... I think that the distinction between psalms, hymns, and songs is this:  By "psalms" he means properly the psalms of David and others in the Psalter. By "hymns" he means the other songs here and there in Scripture made by prophets, such as Moses, Deborah, Solomon, Isaiah, Daniel, Habakkuk.  Similar are the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), the Benedictus (Luke 1:68-79), and the like, which people call "canticles."  By "spiritual songs" he means the songs people sing about God apart from Scripture, which people can make at any time.  He calls these "spiritual" more than the psalms and hymns because he certainly knew that those are already spiritual.  With these songs he restrains us from using worldly, fleshly, and improper songs;  rather, he wants our songs to be about spiritual things which are able to teach and admonish us, as he says here.

What does it mean when he says "in grace" (Col. 3:16)?  Whoever wants can explain that this is said about the grace of God, that is, that such songs should come without coercion and Law, from pure delight and love. It should not be like the hymns now which are extorted by commandments and laws, where no one preaches, sings, or prays because of God's kindness or grace but only because of profit, stipend punishment, injury, and shame. It should not be as the holiest of all do, who out of obedience let themselves be bound and forced to the worship service through which they want to gain heaven, and not at all so that God's Word is understood richly and with all wisdom, as St. Paul wants.  [Italics mine]

But I think that St. Paul is talking about the grace or pleasantness of the hymn and song, just as he says: "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is useful for building up, where it is needful, that it may have favor and grace among everyone who hears"  (Ephesians 4:29). So also here the songs should be capable of having grace and favor among everyone who hears them, so that there are no worthless, weak, and indecent words or otherwise awkward things which neither taste good nor smell good, which have neither strength nor savor. There should be rich, delightful, and sweet songs which everyone likes to hear.  That is what "sung in grace" really means in Hebrew, as St. Paul says.  That is also the nature of the psalms and hymns in Scripture, which contain good things and are sung with beautiful words.  Some songs have very beautiful words, but they are worldly and fleshly;p on the other hand, some songs contain good things, but in such awkward words that they have neither favor nor grace.

"Singing in your hearts to the Lord." (Col. 3:16)

St. Paul does not mean that the mouth should be silent, but that the words of the mouth should come from wholehearted belief, earnestness, and fervor, and not be hypocrisy, as Isaiah says, "this people praises Me with their mouth, but their heart is far from me" (Isaiah 29:13).  St. Paul wants to have the Word of God dwelling so commonly and richly among Christians that everyone speaks, sings, and meditates on ti everywhere; and yet all fo that should happen with understanding and spiritual fruit, be very dear to everyone, and be sung from the bottom of the heart, to the praise and thanks of the Lord.  he says, "Let it dwell with you", not lodge as a guest for a night or two, but to settle down and never leave.  He is always concerned about human doctrine.

"And what you do in word or deed do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (Col. 3:17)

The works of Christians have no names, times, or places, but whatever they do is good.  Whenever they do it, it is right. Wherever they do it, it is well-done.  For that reason St. Paul here names no work and makes no distinction, but grasps all of them together and makes them all good.  Eating, drinking, sleeping, waking, walking, standing, speaking, being quiet, working, or being idle are all precious things, because they all happen in the name of the Lord Jesus, as St. Paul teaches here.  They happen in the name of the Lord Jesus when we believe with firm faith that Christ is in us and we in Him, so that we stop working, and He lives and works in us, as St. Paul says, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Galatians 2:20).  On the other hand, if we do something as if we had to do it, then it happens in our own name, and there is nothing good in it.

... From this it follows that we should praise and thank God, to whom alone the honor and glory for every good thing belongs, as St. Paul says here.  Also St. Peter, soon after he said that we are to do everything by God's strength, goes on to say, "in order that you all unanimously praise the Father through Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 4:11; Rom. 15:6.  But whoever does something by his own strength, even if he thanks God with his mouth, nevertheless lies and is false, like the hypocrite in the gospel (Mark 10:17).  thankfulness is the only sacrifice and work which we should and can do for God, and yet not through ourselves, but through our Mediator, Jesus, without whom no one comes to the Father or can be accepted (John 14:6).  We have often spoken about that.


This Colossians passage is one that I once pulled out of the hat on New Year's Eve, as a young person on retreat, to be a special verse for the year.  I kept it around for a long time and it still resonates.  What I understood only later is the grace in these words, that when done in the Lord, it is all good.  Everything, even the most banal things, or so-called banal, that we do, are good.

There is the reason for gratefulness and singing. He has done it all, and what we do in him, is good because of him.

The other reason I copied out this section is because of the part I indented, some good words about spiritual songs and spiritual song creation and singing.  He speaks about the pleasantness of them.  I wonder what the German is for "pleasant" and "pleasing" here.  Maybe "Gefallen", which would just mean that people like it. This would be in accord with singing from the heart and without coercion.

They should teach and admonish us according to God's word, and should be rich and well done, with strength and savor.

CBC Radio and Amatonormativity

I tried to send a comment to CBC radio on its one-sided interviewing, but I could not find the place to comment. This is what I almost posted to Facebook, but then I thought "Why ruin more people's days?"

--CBC radio is usually my preferred listening choice, but even I am beginning to resent the tax payer money spent on it. During my kitchen clean-up this morning, during 15 min. in several interviews over Valentine's day morning, it was a verbal diarrhea of expressions such as: "disempowering speech that reinforces the status quo" (on matters of love), (she repeated that twice in two minutes), on the people who don't understand the "new narrative", "moving towards new social structures", learning what "love was, and what it can be in the future", "it is time to stop recycling the same script of what love is", "relationships configurations that were considered radical in the past" need defending against put-downs, We must work against "amatonormativity". -- Guess what: married couples have another label now; we are amatonormativitists. -- The person interviewed holds a research philosophy position at the University of British Columbia and promotes a polyamorous lifestyle. Loyalty is a damaging concept to her, as it may lead some individuals to remain in abusive relationships. Uhum. And how many people in polyamorous relationships are in abusive situations? Where will women experience more safety?--in a situation of loyalty, or in a situation not expecting loyalty? And what is the normal consequence of being amorous? And what is the better situation to raise children in? (Loyal or not loyal?)

I note that in the pictures on Google images on "polyamory", there are no children.

Image result for polyamory

Monday, January 2, 2017

Persecution of Christians