Saturday, October 16, 2010

Candied Bacon

Makes 10 strips

½ pound bacon (10 strips)
¼ cup sugar
Dash ground cinnamon (optional, to taste)
Pinch ground coriander (optional, to taste)
Pinch ground chile powder (optional, to taste)

If using spices, stir them into the sugar and mix evenly.
Lay the bacon in one tight layer in the heaviest, widest skillet you have, and set it over medium heat. If you can't fit all the bacon at once, do this in multiple batches. Cook the bacon, flipping after a few minutes, until it's nicely shrunk, starting to brown, but still pliable, about 6 minutes in the pan. (If you want to make a whole bunch, do it in the oven: Lay the bacon out, again in one layer, on a rimmed, parchment-lined sheet tray and bake in a preheated 350 oven. Check on the bacon in about 20 minutes.) When ready, pour off the fat, saving it for other, delicious uses, and let the bacon drain on paper towels.
If you plan on serving the pieces in half, cutting them now is a good idea, and it will probably let you fit more pieces in the pan at once. Set the skillet back on medium heat with as much bacon as it will take in one layer. (Sorry, bakers; you'll really want to do the candying step on the stove so you can keep an eye on the sugar.) Sprinkle the sugar over the bacon, remembering to save some if you're doing this in multiple batches, and let it cook until the sugar melts. At this point, turn the heat down to medium-low and keep a close eye on it, making sure it doesn't get too dark and burn. With tongs, swish the bacon around so that it's entirely coated in the molten sugar. When the bacon looks dark and shiny, and the sugar has taken on a light brown color of its own, remove the bacon to a plate or a cutting board to cool. Make sure you give them some room so they don't stick to one another, and DON'T PUT IT ON PAPER TOWELS. Trying to rip the stuck bits of paper towel of candied bacon is more impossible than trying to de-toilet-paper your tree. Once it's cool, trick or treat!

Note: Candied bacon can be stored out of the fridge in an airtight container for a day, but will lose its crispness. If you want, you can precook the bacon and refrigerate it, and then candy it with the sugar the day you want to serve it.

Friday, October 15, 2010


"Chronology cannot contain the event of resurrection as paper cannot contain fire. The New Testament does not describe how Jesus was raised. The resurrection of Jesus Christ must be a new experience for time!...Time must stop, for it does not know how to behave at this great mystery...The risen Lord means, then, the coming of the new time, the new order, the new covenant, and the new humanity. The risen mind is the mind...captivated by the presence of the new quality of time within this history of ours. It is, then, an extremely unusual mind which sees time in the light of Jesus Christ crucified and risen. It is the mind of faith. It works with the discernment of faith and sees what is not visible and believes what is impossible."

Kosuke Koyama, No Handle on the Cross


"He did not know how to carry it, yet he carried it..."

"In following him, why is the outward sign and inner mind to be a cross? Why not a lunch box?...How about...[a] ...'caloried-salaried, international, technological, carefully-packed lunch-box' for the sake of Jesus Christ? It is an attractively shaped box with a neat handle for carrying. It is not heavy. How psychologically and physcially strengthening to carry such a lovely and substantial lunch-box...we can whistle and light-footedly follow Jesus 'from victory unto victory.' The lunch-box symbolizes our resourcefulness, spiritual and mental energy, high-powered substantial theology, good honest thinking, careful (international and technological) planning and sacred commitment to our faith. Why not, then, '...let him prepare himself and take up his lunch-box and follow me.../? We can be and will remain energetic and resourceful. If necessary, we can even walk ahead of Jesus instead of 'follow him.'

The contrast is between the cross and the lunch-box; an extremely inconvenient thing to carry ('without a handle') and an extremely convenient thing to carry ('with a handle'); an ugly thing to carry and an attractive thing to carry; slow movement and fast movement; inefficiency and efficiency; insecurity and security; heavy-footedness and light-footedness; pain and glory; self-denial and self-asssertion.

...Theology that puts a handle to the power of God is no longer a theology but a demonic theological ideology. Theology must refuse to 'handle' the saving power of God. It tries to speak about it. It tries to sing 'Magnificat' about it. It meditates about it. But it does not 'handle' it as we handle our car and washing machine. Theology, then, must not 'handle' people either.

The technological mind is, in short, 'handle-minded,'while the theological mind is 'non-handle-minded.'...

...In the Bible, the cross does not have a 'handle.' Let me emphasize that for me the image of Jesus carrying over his shoulders the intolerable weight of the bulky cross--he did not know how to carry it, yet he carried it 'without a handle'--is the primary image for the understanding and explication of the Christian truth..."

Kosuke Koyama, No Handle on the Cross


Thursday, October 14, 2010


--"Time flows away without my pushing it. A coffee cup will not go away unless I push it. An oxcart will stay unless the ox pulls it. A jumbo jet will not fly until the powerful engines propel it. But time slips away without the aid of anyone or anything. How strange! Time makes me feel as though I were not important. How important I feel when I push something or someone....The more one pushes the more one feels important...

But time humiliates me. It limits me. I cannot push it. Time pushes me. I say innocently that 'time flows.' Actually it may be I that am flowing. If then, I flow, I hope to flow with time and in time. It would be intolerably lonely to be outside of time. Timelessness would be homelessness. I don't want to be orphaned by time. When I think about time I have no other choice than to be humbled..."

--"In the wilderness our speed is slowed down until gradually we come to the speed [at] which we walk--three miles an hour....

I find that God goes 'slowly' in his educational process of man. 'Forty years in the wilderness' points to his basic educational philosophy. Forty years of national migration through the wilderness, three generations of the united monarchy..., nineteen kings of Israel and twenty kings of Judah..., the hosts of the prophets and priests, the experience of exile and restoration--isn't this rather a slow and costly way for God to let his people know the covenant relationship between God and man?

Jesus Christ came. He walked toward the 'full stop.' He lost his mobility. He was nailed down! He is not even at three miles an hour as we walk. He is not moving. 'Full stop'! What can be slower than 'full stop'--'nailed down'? At this point of 'full stop,' the apostolic church proclaims that the love of God to man is ultimately and fully revealed. God walks 'slowly' because he is love. If he is not love he would have gone much faster. Love has its speed. It is an inner speed. It is a spiritual speed. It is a different kind of speed from the technological speed to which we are accustomed. It is 'slow' yet it is lord over all other speeds since it is the speed of love. It goes on in the depth of our life, whether we notice or not, whether we are currently hit by storm or not, at three miles an hour. It is the speed we walk and therefore it is the speed the love of God walks."

Kosuke Koyama, Three Mile an Hour God


Monday, October 4, 2010

"Love your enemies"


"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who hurt you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you."
Matthew 5:44

So...basically, it should be an incredible and royal privilege to be our enemy--to hate us should guarantee all kinds of blessings and heartfelt prayers!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

"Death Is the Mother of Beauty"

Or so said Wallace Stevens, famously, and it's true that the phenomenon, the fact, of death is awe-inspiring, that death possesses (in the collective imagination) a panoply, an array, a glory, giving off a compelling, weirdly dark energy that can be mistaken for illumination. It's also true that, as in Steven's poem, we can actually find ourselves energized by our awareness of finitude, sucking from it a kind of bittersweet, anticipatory nostalgia. Perhaps that's why so many artists and writers have aestheticized/eroticized death; Edgar Allen Poe, for example, claimed that "the death . . . of a beautiful woman is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world," and David Lynch must have at least to some extent shared the sentiment, as in the photo above, from the "Twin Peaks" television series.

But just now, I found this, from an essay by Christian Wiman:

"Death is the mother of beauty" is a phrase that could only have been written by a man for whom death was an abstraction, a vaguely pleasant abstraction at that. That's not really a critique of Stevens's "Sunday Morning," one of the greatest poems of the twentieth century. Death is an abstraction for all of us, until it isn't. But for the person whose death is imminent and inescapable, nothing is more offensive, useless, or wrongheaded than phrases like "Death is the mother of beauty."

Last night at vespers, we sang:

By Thy burial Thou didst mortify the majesty of death...
O Giver of Life, Christ our God, glory to Thee!

Death in itself is neither beautiful nor the mother of beauty, and it is not an abstraction, as each of us will personally discover in the very cells of our own flesh.

Instead, the humble, non-abstract death of Jesus, inextricable from His resurrection, is the mother of beauty, and our only Light.