That is my goal...
I kind of eye-balled the whole recipe, but this is a pretty close approximation of what I did. Keep in mind I made a big batch for the cook-off, so you might want to reduce the amounts unless you plan to have a party or freeze a portion of it for later…
1. Blend chipotles in adobo and combine with four 28 oz cans of tomatoes. Put in tall pot, bring to low boil, and then simmer. Add kidney, pinto, and black beans (drained).
2. Cover chicken generously with salt and garlic. Roast for 45 minutes and cool to remove skin and shred / cut into chunks. Set aside.
3. In a separate pot (preferably dutch oven), cook bacon on stove top until fat is rendered and bacon is slightly crispy. Use beer to deglaze bottom of pan as necessary. Drink what you don’t use to deglaze. Remove bacon and chop into one inch chunks. Pour off bacon fat in separate bowl.
4. Cook the ground turkey in dutch oven until done. Remove to different bowl.
5. Saute onion and jalapeno in some of the bacon fat. Don’t use so much fat that you are left with a greasy mixture, but use enough to really show those onions and jalapenos some love. Add garlic during last minute of the saute.
6. Over low heat, combine bacon, chicken, and ground turkey with the saute mixture in dutch oven. Stir in chili pepper, cayenne, and cumin to thoroughly coat the meat mixture. Warm mixture for a few minutes.
7. Once meat is thoroughly coated, put meat in tall pot with tomato base. Bring to simmer and add brown sugar, chocolate, and coffee. Simmer for an hour or more.Read More
I don’t blog very often anymore because I am writing the manuscript for my first book. While I almost decided to stay out of the fray on this one, it just hit too close to home. After I read this critique of the conference it felt right to chime in.
Let’s start with a little personal background. In my late teens and early twenties I started to come to a different level of commitment in my Christian faith. Some might say I experienced true conversion. Looking back on it, I think I was just awakening to another level of maturity. Whatever the case was, my desire to grow stronger in my personal walk started to blossom.
This desire intensified greatly during my freshman year at Indiana University. One of the first things I did upon arrival was to find a campus ministry and get deeply involved. Without knowing the nuances associated with various choices, I joined a chapter of InterVarsity – a non-denominational parachurch that promotes discipleship and evangelism. In a short period of time I had dozens of friends across a broad spectrum of Christian traditions – Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, and Reformed.
It was completely wonderful at one level because we came together to fellowship, learn, and minister on campus despite differences in our traditions. There was an incredible energy there for Christ and the world that was superseded by doctrinal disagreements. We were a vibrant and racially diverse group of young people who wanted to be salt and light in the world. It was truly one of the sweetest times of my entire life.
For all of our enthusiasm and zeal, however, there was a growing sense in me that something was off-kilter. I started to sense that certain details of our beliefs mattered in the most basic practical terms. I could give many examples of this, but one of the biggest was around the simple issue of prayer. We were very committed to prayer and would literally meet in dorm rooms for hours to pray. That is not an exaggeration. We weren’t rushing fraternities and sororities or seeking to party. We had regularly scheduled prayer meetings during the week. Heck, we even had prayer marathons where we would pray for days. I’ve never seen anything like it since that time.
You might think that such an emphasis was great and it was, but here’s the rub. Many hours were spent in dorm rooms with kids speaking in tongues – simultaneously babbling in quasi-trance like states. Now you have to realize that I had never encountered the charismatic gifts before. I’m not sure I could have told you what the gift of tongues was all about before I went to college. And when I first experienced it, it wasn’t on paper. It wasn’t theoretical. It was my best friends sitting around me in a room, engaging in a behavior I could not begin to connect with. The Roman Catholics were speaking in tongues. The Methodists, the Baptists, etc. It was pervasive. To say that I was deeply conflicted and confused is an understatement.
Of course, I asked my friends to explain what in the world this practice was all about. Where is it in the Bible? How do you do it? What does it mean? Why have I never done this? The answers poured forth. “Read about it here, here, and here. You’re not doing it because you haven’t experienced baptism of the Holy Spirit. Your heart hasn’t been fully given over to God yet. Ask God earnestly for the gift of your own prayer language. Come with us to church and be anointed…”
And so I read, and I prayed, and I went to be anointed. But the gift of tongues wasn’t coming to me. I remember forcing myself to speak unintelligibly in hopes that it might trigger something. But it wasn’t happening. And so I had a crisis of faith. Was I really a Christian? Did I really have the Holy Spirit? A whole new vista of personal struggles and doubts crept in as I tried to understand what was going on. I had never heard of the term, “assurance,” before, but all of a sudden it became a critical issue.
Enter stage right, Pastor John MacArthur of Grace to You ministries. Not literally of course, but his book, “Charismatic Chaos.” I don’t remember if my mom or a former friend recommended it, but I found a copy and quickly read it. No, let me be honest. I devoured it like a starving man. I absorbed it like a dry sponge. I couldn’t even recognize the overblown polemical rhetoric because I was so interested in the theology of the Spirit and what it was about. Slowly but surely, I started to feel at peace again with my faith and I calmed down again. (And then I read MacArthur’s, The Gospel According to Jesus, and my assurance went down the toilet again, but that is another story for another day).
Then I became alarmed. If tongues had ceased and were not a gift for today, then all of my well-intentioned friends were potentially wasting hours of their time in dorm rooms lost in self-induced trances. They were setting themselves up for spiritual disappointment and emotional failure. And even worse – they were trying recruit many others on campus to the same manner of life. What could I do in such a situation?
Frankly, I could do very little and I knew it. I didn’t have the maturity, position, or skills to deal with this phenomenon. And as I alluded to before, tongues were only one practical issue on the table. There were many others that were just as huge. I loved my brothers and sisters at InterVarsity and I thought Indiana University was heaven on earth, but it was beyond my ability to impact. Then something miraculous happened. My dad got a new job in Los Angeles and my family was moving from Cleveland, OH, to southern California. In a leap of faith, I transferred to John MacArthur’s liberal arts college to see if I could get the equipping I needed so that I would not feel so helpless ever again.
I wish I could take the time here to unpack the narrative of that experience, but it would be too involved and off-topic. The long and short of it is that graciously God used it in my life. I learned a lot, made great friends, and met my wife there. I am thankful for John MacArthur’s work and for my time at his school. Pastor MacArthur is a very serious-minded man who has devoted his life to promoting God’s word, personal maturity, and the importance of the local church; and I would like to think I inherited my commitments to those priorities from him. Despite the plethora of ways I disagree with him, I have a healthy respect for his ministry and hope that I can sustain that sentiment throughout this blog.
But let’s get to brass-tacks. While I am still persuaded (on somewhat different grounds) that tongues and other charismatic gifts are not active in this epoch of human history, I didn’t come away from The Master’s College with key aspects of John MacArthur’s thinking. I wasn’t persuaded by his baptist, memorialist, dispensationalist, teetotaler, or quasi-fundamentalist theology. In fact, I’m a Presbyterian postmillenialist who likes to drink alcohol and serve alcoholic drinks to others. However, I did come away from his school with other parts of John MacArthur’s emerging legacy. I came away with a highly sectarian approach to doctrinal dialogue that was divisive, authoritarian, and borderline condescending.
In fairness, some who know me well might say I actually arrived at The Master’s College with that strategy of engagement. They may be right. But I think my experience at InterVarsity speaks otherwise. I love the church. Not a church. Not one expression of the church. I love God’s people. I love the brethren because I share the most basic commitment in life with them. I love them because I believe Jesus came to save the world. But when I left The Master’s College I had absolutely no sense of how grace worked in the arena of theological error or controversy. I had imbibed a binary and bifurcated view that positions were wrong or right, true or false, healthy or diseased, saved or not saved. Theological differences became rhetorical exercises to be won, not loving appeals for unity. Convictions became bludgeons, not thoughtful reflections on God’s work in the world.
I can already hear the response. “Have you read Paul, Brett?! He was quite confrontational over these sorts of things!” Now I acknowledge that there is a time to call a spade a spade. Theological error is real and some of it can be fatal. I have come to believe that deviation from basic creedal boundaries fall in this category. Therefore, Mormonism is not something to be trifled with. It is truly dangerous because it denies the unique deity of Christ.
But when we encounter other kinds of theological disagreement which may be in error, we need to pursue correction with an intentional posture and strategy shaped by grace. And that begins with a certain level of charity towards the other person(s). Not just in our tone, but in our attempt to understand where they’re coming from and how they got there. Most charismatics I know are fervent believers who have fairly well-grounded reasons for their practice. I may think their reasoning has holes in it, but I have to respect them with the same respect I would like to receive.
My personal view is that many charismatics are open to serious dialogue on theological matters. Some may still be overridden by a commitment to their experience, but I have found that most are happy to engage in healthy and deep discussion. It is no mistake that vast portions of the charismatic movement are becoming Reformed in their theology. They are discovering the riches of certain parts of the Protestant tradition as their movement matures.
Now of course there are bad actors out there – charlatans who we need to warn against. And while I wish we lived in an age of church councils that could deal with such problems, we do not. Certain errors demand a response from those who are able to respond. But conflating the exceptional charlatans with the totality of a theology is totally unwarranted and unfair. It is not gracious and it is not productive. It is simply inflammatory and hostile. It is thoughtless rancor that creates more problems than it solves.
What I would have wished for is to see Pastor MacArthur and his ministry make their case with humility and tears. Be winsome and irenic. Make careful distinctions where they need to be made. Show some empathy for those who have found solace and a home in charismatic circles. Ask them to thoughtfully reconsider a positive alternative without anathematizing people who truly love Christ. Write a book that can be passed around dorm rooms at Indiana University without creating hatred.
Not all theological error is spiritually fatal. Some of it is serious, but that’s when the most thoughtful dialogue needs to happen. When it is serious there are real issues in the real body of Christ that need ironing out. We can’t do that by trading blows in the ring. When we choose to do it publicly, we have to do so with a pattern of engagement that keeps love and unity in view. The same Paul who wrote the confrontational 1 Corinthians wrote 2 Corinthians as a critical addendum to clarify his love and care. If we want to learn from Paul’s rhetoric, we have to see that pattern.
Part of the reason this matters so much to me is because I have a postmillenial (optimistic) eschatology. I don’t think we’re polishing brass on a sinking ship. I think God is really healing the world by progressively bringing the church to greater unity and maturity. This is not esoteric stuff – this is important and imminently practical. And so I was disheartened to see how MacArthur’s conference attacked the straw man of “dominionism” as well. Again, it lacked grace because it lacked the charity of true representation. My postmillenial convictions are not born out of my ego – I’m just a family man who works in the mortgage industry. That’s all I am. But I believe God is saving the world because of the very Scriptures John MacArthur helped me to appreciate. This is a long-standing conviction that has been held throughout the history of the church and it cannot be so easily villainized.
I’ll tell you what I’m going to pray for – and not in tongues. I’m going to pray that John MacArthur can change his controversialist legacy in the final years of his life. I’m going to pray that he awakens to the wider body of Christ that is so diverse and huge. I’m going to pray that in his final years he will humbly forsake his previous rhetoric in favor of a winsome and irenic approach that seeks unity. I’m going to pray that he stops erecting straw men that are so easy to knock down. And I’m going to pray that he stops lighting fires that destroy more than they redeem.
As many of you know, my wife and I are blessed with four boys. As of this writing their ages are 15, 14, 11, and 8. Ten years ago or so we had to make some decisions about how to manage video games while raising kids, and here is what we decided:
Ultimately, I don’t think this should be that complicated, but it must be because I see young kids with no boundaries playing games that I’m not sure anyone should play. If we allow our young men to continuously lose themselves inside violent video games (for hours in the privacy of their own rooms!), let’s not be surprised when they are socially maladjusted misfits who are unproductive losers at best and violent crazies at worst. Parents need to be parents. Video games are not an evil in and of themselves, but they can be if left unmanaged.Read More
I’m not sure why I feel the urge to write about this and probably make almost everyone I know upset with me, but I just can’t resist the opportunity to put some thoughts down about gun control and the 2nd Amendment in light of yesterday’s tragedy. Here’s what’s rolling through my head (and again, I don’t own a single gun for whatever that is worth):
- Thoughts for those who want to maintain the right to bear arms under the 2nd Amendment
- Thoughts for those who want tighter gun control
My hope is that we will put our disintegrating culture at the center of these tragedies, and not something else. When we disagree with one another over the 2nd Amendment let’s try and understand where the other person is coming from instead of demonizing them as either violent or naive.Read More
6 pork chops
4 chopped slices of bacon
1 cup chopped onions
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 Tbl honey
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp curry powder
9″/10″ deep dish pastry shell
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup leeks (2-3 leeks) thinly sliced
1/2 lb. hot italian sausage – cooked, drained, chopped
2, 6 oz. jars marinated artichoke hearts – drained and chopped
4 eggs slightly beaten
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
dash of hot sauce
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 lb. grayed Gruyere cheese, reserve 1/2 cup for top
This is better, easier, and healthier than eggs Benedict!!!
1 piece of toast (a rustic bread is best)
1 slice of prosciutto (put on shortly after bread is toasted)
1 poached egg
Drizzle with basil oil (below)
Pepper to taste
2 cups of fresh basil
1 cup of olive oil (not virgin)
Blend until smooth
Simmer for 45 seconds at medium heat
Drain off the basil solids in a sieve
Allow to cool