The Lectio Letter - Issue #57 - To Hunger is Human | Part I
“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”
― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
“An empty stomach is not a good political adviser.”
― Albert Einstein
“Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren’t satisfied in God and what He gives. We hunger for something more, something other.”
― Ann Voskamp
Well, I’m sorry to report this to my northern hemisphere readers who are huddling around in the cold, but summer has come to South Africa. We’re enjoying the warmer times and leaving our door open to our garden through the day more often now. Summer here in the Cape though comes with wind and lots of it. We often get 40-50km winds which stick around for weeks at a time. The closest analogy is to our experience of rain in the U.K. Sometimes it just goes on for so long you are tempted to forget it ever wasn’t raining. Then one day you wake up.. and there it is a dry day! We feel the same about the wind! (Discerning readers might spot my attempt at attrition to our reverse seasonal lives embedded here somewhere).
On a more serious note, the wind and heat also mark the beginning of ‘fire’ season here. We’ve had fires in the mountains around our house, as well as a couple of devastating fires in Masiphumelele, the community we work in. At least one person has lost their life, and one of the teenagers whose been involved in our ministry was severely burnt. There are many factors contributing to these, but needless to say, when we smell burning these days the anxiety wracks up.
We were also delighted to meet some friends of friends visiting from the U.S. at a recent wedding.
Other than that, Rachel and I have been working on a few things before the inevitable South African summer slowdown begins in the middle of December.
Since the last Lectio letter went out we have entered into the season of Advent.
A number of friends seemingly expect me to be a human liturgical calendar, as you can see from the message below (not the only person who reached out for some resources to navigate this season which is gaining traction amongst evangelicals.
Rachel and I used the “Daily Prayer” Service on Sunday and then I read out the sermon “Advent begins in the Dark” from Fleming Rutledge’s collection in the book Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ.
While I haven’t written anything yet this year, I still stand by the article I wrote a few years ago. If your looking for an orientation to the season (as well as some links to other things I’ve written), then have a read of it here.
Local Cape Town band Beatenberg just released a short EP. The best track so far is White Shadow, you can click below to listen to the whole thing on Spotify though.
Listen to On the way to Beatenberg on Spotify. Beatenberg · Single · 2022 · 6 songs.
Sometimes you come across something that reminds you that you really can’t play the guitar 😅
Just The Two Of Us - Marcin and Ichika Nito
On an Advent note, I’ve been listening to this Advent Carol’s album from St. John’s College in Cambridge which includes short lessons (scripture readings).
Listen to Advent Carols from St. John’s on Spotify. Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge · Album · 1994 · 28 songs.
Adam Lay Ybounden is one of the tunes that most evokes Advent for me;
Adam Lay Ybounden (King's College Choir, Cambridge)
The Hereford Carol is maybe the only one who’s tune surpasses it!
Herefordshire Carol (Arr. Ralph Vaughan Williams)
I’ve skipped the recipes on the last few lectio’s so here is a bumper issue with four recipes which make for a great Turkish meal!
While Rachel was away I began experimenting with some Turkish food. These are definitely recipes more suited to summer, so if you’re in the depths of winter maybe hold on to them until next year ;)
Turkish Chicken Kebab
This recipe is simpler than it looks. The trick it taught me was to grate an onion into a fine sieve and then use the liquid from the grated onion in the marinade to create that fantastic depth of flavour you get in Turkish “Tavuk Sis”…
The other important point is to pat the chicken as dry as you can which keeps the marinade from slipping off of it once you come to grill it.
Finally make sure to sprinkle Sumac, dried oregano, and paprika over the kebabs once they’re finished.
Use an overnight marinade of yogurt, onion, garlic, and spices for succulent chicken kebabs made the Turkish way.
This goes well with a toasted Pita with some Cacik (simple recipe here), which is like Tzatziki but slightly different (note add mint leaves, go easier on the garlic).
Finally, this simple chopped salad tops it off and is already a summer hit here. We’ve made it 4 or 5 times already.
The key detail is using Mediterranean cucumbers (which are shorter but tastier). Then cut them in two and use a teaspoon to scrape out all the seeds and soft flesh. Then slice the remaining cucumber into 5mm strips and chop it into small cubes. Same with the tomatoes, scrape out juice and seeds and chop the skins similarly. Go easy on the red onion and slice it as finely as possible. Don’t be skimpy on the olive oil, salt and pepper either!
4 Roma tomatoes
¼ red onion
Zest and juice of a lemon
¼ cup mint
2 Tbsp Fresh italian (flat leaf) parsley
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
We’ve been watching as many World Cup games as our schedule allows. As ever, being an England supporter has its ups and downs. Iran 6-2 was an up, but 0-0 USA was a very boring down.
Young Lions shine in opener | England v Iran highlights | FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
While we love to watch stand up comedy, it’s pretty hard to find something that doesn’t devolve into crass language. That’s part of the reason we enjoyed the Sheng Want Netflix special… A short clip for your enjoyment below (the special itself is a PG-13, not crass but not for young children either).
Sheng Wang's secret to good posture!
To Hunger is Human | Part I
Iced doughnuts, fillet steak with béarnaise sauce, the crispy edge of lasagne, Harissa sweet potatoes, Bacon and Beef hamburgers, Peanut butter M&M’s, the skin of roast chicken and cinnamon buns.
Are you hungry yet?
I can associate each of the food items above with people, a time, and a place. Memories have formed my hunger, enjoyment and longing for each thing on that list.
When we think about what makes us fundamentally human, we might think of rationality, morality or agency but before all of those things are developed in life, we hunger.
We go through our lives shaped by the people, places and practices that make up our day, a kind of passive spiritual formation as it were. But what moves us through life? What drives the people we make friends with? How do we choose where to live our lives, and what motivates us to act the way we do on a day-to-day basis? I want to suggest that it is our hunger.
The Bible tells the story of creation’s and humanity’s purpose as a story about hunger, but before we return to the well-trodden ground of Genesis in Part II of this series, I want to tell you about our friend’s new baby.
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