Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Look out! It's alive!

An old quote, but a great quote. From C.S. Lewis:

Men are reluctant to pass over from the notion of an abstract and negative deity to the living God. I do not wonder. Here lies the deepest tap-root of Pantheism and of the objection to traditional imagery. It was hated not, at bottom, because it pictured Him as a man but because it pictured Him as king, or even as warrior. The Pantheist’s God does nothing, demands nothing. He is there if you wish for Him, like a book on a shelf. He will not pursue you. There is no danger that at any time heaven and earth should flee away at His glance. If He were the truth, then we could really say that all the Christian images-of kingship were a historical accident of which our religion ought to be cleansed.

It is with a shock that we discover them to be indispensable. You have had a shock like that before, in connection with smaller matters –when the line pulls at your hand, when something breathes beside you in the darkness. So here; the shock comes at the precise moment when the thrill of life is communicated to us along the clue we have been following. It is always shocking to meet life where we thought we were alone. “Look out! ” we cry, “it’s alive.” And therefore this is the very point at which so many draw back–I would have done so myself if I could–and proceed no further with Christianity. An “impersonal God” -well and good. A subjective God of beauty, truth and goodness, inside our own heads –better still. A formless life-force surging through us, a vast power which we can tap –best of all. But God Himself, alive, pulling at the other end of the cord, perhaps approaching at an infinite speed, the hunter, king, husband-that is quite another matter.

There comes a moment when the children who have been playing at burglars hush suddenly: was that a real footstep in the hall? There comes a moment when people who have been dabbling in religion (”Man’s search for God”!) suddenly draw back. Supposing we really found Him? We never meant it to come to that! Worse still, supposing He had found us?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My best steak ever

Ok, that was amazing. Cheap cut of beef = boring steak? Not so, my friend. That was the finest meal I've had in months, and dead simple. Steak, Monterrey potatoes, and corn on the cob. Here's my playbook. Try it sometime.

Corn on the Cob

Can't go wrong with midwestern sweet corn.

1. Shuck corn.
2. Put in water
3. Boil
4. Serve with light butter. Don't add salt, good corn doesn't need it.

Monterrey Potatoes

This makes perfect FirstWatch-style potatoes. You can use other seasonings (I've had good luck with salt-free Mrs. Dash), but I'm trying to finish off the Monterrey seasoning. We inherited it from someone cleaning out a spice cabinet, and we don't use it for anything else.

1. Slice half an onion and put it in a cast-iron skillet
2. Dice potatoes until skillet is full
3. Add olive oil and Monterrey seasoning, toss. Add (stovetop) heat. Scrape and mix every time the potatoes start to stick.


This technique is called "salting" but it's not what you think. The salt doesn't cook in; quite the opposite. It's used to make the steak more tender. I used a relatively inexpensive cut of beef... $2.10 a pound. Here's how to make it awesome.

1. Put the raw steak on a plate and COVER it with a large-grained salt (Kosher or Sea Salt). Keep adding salt until it's all white... you shouldn't see any red. Then flip it over and do it again.
2a. Let it sit.
2b. Let it sit some more. I know you're thinking it's going to ruin the taste of the steak, but it's not. The salt breaks down the proteins on the outside of the steak, making them more tender. Also, this will help trap moisture inside.
2c. Let it sit. For a 1-inch steak, go 30 minutes.
3. Wash steak thoroughly under the sink. Get rid of all of the salt. Pat dry with a paper towel.
4. Rub with olive oil.
5. Grill. Grind black pepper over both sides.

Serve and eat the dinner of champions.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

You're not so smart, you just show up a lot

I've really been enjoying a series of blog posts by Steve Blank. I have no idea who this guy is, but he's been rocking my world recently. The title of this post is taken from his most recent entries. You can find his blog here.

Steve is not, as far as I can tell, a Christian. He's a successful entrepreneur that is now retired from the biz and writing it up. I don't care at all about making stacks of money... my 2008 taxable income was HALF of what I made in 2004. Yay, ministry!

What's amazing, though, is the way that Steve's description of himself could just as well describe me, although he's far more successful. Steve is an entrepreneur. That's his identity. Maybe it's mine too.

He talks a lot about what it takes to make family work when you're an entrepreneur... I stand humbled. (See here and here). He talks about faith-based vision and fact-based execution, which is an interesting distinction for something I've pondered a long time. He talks about the curse of a new building... read that post and replace "office building" with "church building." Does anything change? Not a bit. It's hugely relevant.

Mostly, though, he talks about the mind of a "founder" and how it's different from the way other people think. This is hugely impacting my thinking right now, as it categorizes a lot of the stuff that's driven me crazy about myself over the years.

I don't do a good job at the slow, steady grind. I want to, and all of the people I respect are strong there. I've always seen it as a character flaw that I wanted to go start something new instead of building up the stuff that's already there. But that life is hard for me. It's hard for me to take the thing that's established and keep working at it... I want to get it most of the way there and then start the next thing.

Maybe this is a phase. Maybe I'll grow out of it. Maybe adding more discipline will eventually fix this in me.

But maybe I'm just wired different, and the stuff that excites me is different from the stuff that excites everyone else. I'm all in on the Kingdom, and I'm not interested in building anything else in the world. But I think I'm beginning to understand what my role is... and it's probably not the one I thought it was.