Yes, It Is.

I brewed 5 gallons of Irish Red Ale last week along with 5 gallons of a Belgian Dubbel.

After 8 days in the primary fermenting, I racked them to a secondary for the next few weeks to age gracefully.

We hope to have fine brew to celebrate the birth of our daughter, our 3rd child. We also hope to celebrate Jennifer’s and mine birthdays.

Holiday Ale

On Saturday night, (which was August 16), I bottled the Holiday ale.

I have been thinking of already starting something else that can age, perhaps also in a secondary while I finish off the Holiday ale. Something cheaper…I am looking either an American Pale ale or I.P.A. If I had my druthers, and more money..I think I’d choose to do a Belgium tripel with blueberries.

Thanks.

New Yankee Cyder

I wanted to jot down that I started a gallon of Cider (Cyder is the old world spelling) to be ready in about three months.

Back in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 17th century, the puritans would often brew casks of cider and beer particularly when a new pastor was called or ordained. I wanted a cider to commemorate this.

To make the cider, I added a cup of white sugar, half cup of brown sugar, a pinch of nutmeg, and half stick of cinnamon and boiled these ingredients together for about 6 minutes.

I then added this with a gallon of apple juice (organic, unsweetened, no preservative style), found a cool, dark place…(I’m trying to go for 65 degrees).

For the next ten days I will let it ferment naturally (if it doesn’t for any particular reason, I have yeast ready to throw in) and then I will add oak chips, some raisins, and let it sit for another 14 days.

I will then bottle and let age for three months.

I am excited about this. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Johan Von Staupitz

Addendum:

Alright…I grew impatient. I have too many things on the rack brewing away…I didn’t have much time…so I added champagne yeast. I was slightly nervous about letting wild yeast get crazy…and ruin a batch. There will be another day for that…probably when fresh apple juice season begins.

Miri Miri On the Wall

Captain Kirk discovers that Jonathan Edwards was right after all...those cute little buggers really are "Vipers in diapers".

Captain Kirk discovers that Jonathan Edwards was right after all...those cute little buggers really are "Vipers in Diapers".

I caught myself thinking of an old Star Trek episode this morning while at work. The episode, titled, “Miri”, basically featured a group of children on an earth like planet and survivors of a horrible disease.

When the landing party of the Enterprise arrive, they find themselves suffering from the early symptoms of the same disease…while the children seem to remain immune. They quickly discover that the disease will kill within 7 days and that all children are immune until puberty.

The children are for the most part suspicious of the enterprise crew (in part because the grown ups tried to hurt them prior to dying off) and resist efforts to be helped, even trying to attack and kill the crew.But the children are in a world of their own. They are unconcerned that even they will perish in only a short time. They are unconcerned that the adults are dying. They make no plan to find out why people are dying because they really seem to be blind to the reality and gravity of their situation.

Believe it or not, this episode has much relevance for us in on this old planet earth.

While we are young, many of us are blessed with good health and good looks. We are energetic, we have friends, and most of us in the United States, even those of us growing up in poverty, had enought to eat.

We as young people are so oblivious to death, disease, and a hard life absent of friends, energy, and ideals. We can’t imagine a life without what we want in short supply.

The young are not alone in this. Many of us cover our eyes to the obvious fact that we are marching slowly towards death’s ominous door, all of us, completely unaware of which day will be our last.

We are blind to the disease raging in us, and all those around us, bringing even the strongest man to the grave in only a matter of time.

We cover our eyes to the effects of the disease, which cause some to weep, some to kill, and others to ravage whole nations.

We have sickness, we have poverty, we have depression, we have rage…marriages are shattered, companies are defrauded…and children are abused…and all these are merely symptoms of the quiet disease we suffer from. Earthquakes, typhoons, floods, volcanoes…even the earth shows evidence of this disease.

Scripture tells us that when God created man, he created him perfect, and their relationship with each other and the earth as a whole was perfect.

But Adam succumbed to temptation of a wily figure who appeared as a serpent…and broke the one rule laid down by Adam’s creator. By doing this, Adam lost his perfection, and plunged not only himself but his offspring and the created world too into a vast pool of disorder… suddenly everyone and everything became infected….

Children are born into this world bent from the beginning…and when they grow up to sin they are only showing their true nature…no the nature that God created in the beginning…but the nature that reflects Adams disobedience.

I myself suffer from this disease…and since it doesn’t give me sores, or make me feel sick…I can too easily forget that it is there…warping and twisting all of my thoughts, intentions, and desires.

Yet, just as Kirk and Spock from the enterprise found a cure…we too have a cure.

When meting out Adam’s punishment for his sin, God then turned to the serpent and promised that one would later come who would be bruised on his heel, but He himself would stomp on the serpent’s head.

This is Christ Jesus. Just as through one man came death, this second “adam” has brought life. Just as we were helpless and beggarly in our cancerous condition, Christ has come and given us fresh bandages, cleaning our sores, and giving us soothing ointment.

Christ came, member of the trinitarian God, and came in the likeness of God, putting on flesh so as too suffer and put to death our condition once and for all. Christ took the punishment for humanity’s rebellion, suffering the wrath of His perfect father upon the cross. While it appeared that Christ simply died like any common man, He demonstrated his perfection and his defeat of death by raising himself from the dead three days later. He demonstrated that no chains or fetters shall keep him down…and his enemies have been vanquished..though they rage currently for a short while…oblivious to the slow march to death.

The days are marching towards the judgment of all mankind and the enemies of God. God will give to those in rebellion against him what they deserve.

Frankly, we all deserve the worst. None of us, even the best of us, have fulfilled God’s law. We have not loved God perfectly…sin tainted it. We have not loved our nieghbor as we love ourselves…sin tainted that too.

What shall we do? We are dying, day by day….and none of us have clean hands.

We shall look to Christ…sitting at the right hand of the father in heaven, and plead for his mercy. We will trust Him to be our advocate to the father…and trust that Christ took our punishment to the cross on our behalf.

And we are slowly being healed…to reach conclusion on that day know one knows…

and I look forward to it.

Golden Hills Now Veiled In Grey

Something I have struggled with for the last year or two is not doing missionary work in the classic sense, going off “as a missionary” and planting churches abroad, but rather going somewhere in the United States that demonstrates great need and living there and procuring employment as a teacher, building relationships and being part of a community…a “missionary” type activity stretched to a broader meaning.

This is in fact probably what most Christians should do, and hearkens back to the philosophies

The Highway of Assurance

The Highway of Assurance

of both Luther and Calvin, of simply being Christians in a fallen world. Luther would tell us that this is ministry, when we use our gifts and talents to earn a living and provide for our family and neighbor- this is a spiritual calling for all Christians….not just those devoted to full time spiritual work.

I have stuggled in part in selling the place I would like to go to my wife. South Dakota appears to her to be isolated, empty, cold, and foriegn…especially on Indian Reservations. She’s mostly right. It is a missionary type mindset that needs to embrace this and see what good can come of this.

I only pray that this is more than a fantasy and that God would accept this and grant this.

Johan

Summers fade, and roses die. Part One.

The neon sign flashing in my head before I claimed Christianity

The neon sign flashing in my head before I claimed Christianity

In 1997 I moved out of my parent’s home and moved into a tiny, dilapidated shack. It was my senior year of high school…and despite all warnings against such a move from anyone older and wiser, I did it anyway. After I graduated that year, I ended up “wandering” for about the next year, looking for fun wherever I could find it, friends, and trying to forget who I was and where I came from.

It was inevitable that the next year I jumped on the Further Festival tour. I was a Grateful Dead freak; and in 1998 the surviving members did a low-key reunion tour together. I did this off and on for the next five years.

The last tour I did was the Ratdog amphitheater tour in August of 2001. I was broke both monetarily and spiritually. I became convinced that “God” was a cosmic being who was against me and who had hedged me in, slowly and carefully trying to break me in every possible way. I couldn’t be angry about that; there was so much about me that was not good¬† that it made sense. What it did do was give me overwhelming sadness and fear. If the “God” of the universe is not for you, then what possible hope is there?

I left tour, went back to my hometown, got a normal job and rented a house. I was pretty clean, normal, doing the normal life…and hoping it would appease God. I was miserable inside. I was reading the bible voraciously…and it was speaking to me in such a way the Siddartha had never done…ever.

In a cosmic twist of fate…I got laid off my job, my house went up for sale…I dated a girl who was a floozy and only wanted me physically ( I had hoped that being a pastor’s daughter she might be semi enticed to at least a semblence of morality).

If I was convinced that God was personally set against me before, I was now without a doubt. I knew what I needed to do. I needed to repent of sin, and look to Jesus Christ to save me. I kinda understood the repenting part….but really didn’t understand the Jesus thing. I had gleamed this from reading the bible and perhaps unconciously from the few Christians I had met up until this point.

December of 2001 saw my praying to the God who was set against me to recieve me and give me the ability to understand and believe in the Jesus “who held the keys of life and death”.

In an effort to thrust myself into repentance, I left my home state of Ohio. In April of 2002 I left for Texas via the Greyhound to start a new life in the Bible Belt. I was baptized in an African American church, dated a young lady friend, and effectively did start a new life.

In a short amount of time, I was married, domesticated, and involved in church life. My long hair was cut, new hobbies were created ( I began cooking around this time) and I began to think seriously about the future…mostly because everyone I knew seemed so driven by working towards successful goals.

I write all of this with the intent of talking about current events that probably rest upon this background information. To make a long story short, I grew up without religion or church, had a difficult childhood, and left home as soon as legally possible. After gravitating towards Buddhism and do-it-yourself eastern philosphy, I slowly became convinced of the truth and seriousness of the claims made about Jesus from scripture…which only increased my sense of guilt and shame in terms of honest self reflection. Looking for a way out from this and the reality of an eternity of being cast off from the creator of the universe, I became a “Christian”.

In a series of rapid events, I was married and domesticated and began attending church. I began thinking of what I would do with my life. I became enthusiastic about the possibility of serving Jesus and His people by becoming a missionary.

….until I found out that in order to tell about Christ, you needed a degree. You see, I was at that time unfamiliar with middle class assumptions about education, success, and the importance of Western culture.

But, it made sense that without skills or the ability to work, I might have trouble getting citizenship into a country that was hostile towards Christianity…so I signed up for college!

To bring all this up to speed, I spent 5 years as a full time student, also holding whatever job I could, and being married, and having children. I had two children while in college…it wasn’t easy for my wife and I to balance everything.

I graduated college, and we arrived at a prominent seminary to begin working towards a degree that would place us as missionaries in a much needed part of the world. Classes begin very soon. But the last year I have come into real doubts about this…enthusiastic about giving testimony of Jesus and serving the church and people…but doubting my own qualifications, my wife’s ability to process the adjustment that would take place in going from the West into a place on the other side of the globe…and serious struggles with procuring enough money to finance a family of 4 ( and soon to be 5…we were suprised to discover we are expecting again).

I am 29 years old, unsuccessful, and sincerely want to serve Christ and my neighbor while providing for my family. This is the dilemma’s I may talk about now and then on my blog. I just need a release and a way to process all of this…and I have few friends.

Crazy Stunts and Economics, Silly

I forgot to mention that I prepared my first mead on Friday. I combined 2 pounds of clover honey with warm water, 25  golden raisins (cut in half), half a mission fig, cinnamon, nutmug, Jamaican All-Spice, clove, and a little corn syrup, and champagne yeast. One gallon of mead that hopefully will be ready for autumn.