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Paul and Christa contemplate "Taste"


  • I feel like Ive been immersed in food re-cently. A movie about pastry chefs in France, an interview with Grant Achatz, a

    world renowned chef who lost his sense of taste for two years due to tongue cancer, and a book defending real food by nutri-tion guru Michael Pollan, have all stirred in me thoughts about how our complicated rela- tionship with food mirrors our compli-

    cated relationship with Jesus.

    " Im amazed at the many times throughout the Bible that food is used to express a reality about God or his kingdom. Most notably, of course, is the mystery of communion when Jesus says, Eat me like bread and drink my blood like wine and before that in Exodus when God sent sustaining manna from the sky and in Psalms when the writer in chapter 34:8 says Taste and see that the Lord is good. Even The Tree of Life in The Garden has fruit designed to sustain and please Adam and Eve. Still, after all the attention God gives to food, we still have this complicated relationship with it. Whether we try and simply break down food to where it is nothing more than fuel to help us meet our physical goals or we gorge ourselves to satisfy our bottomless empti-ness, we are increasing unable to taste food. " Yet, I cant help but hold in tension the quote from Martin Luther saying, We know that God loves us because he created beer, to the generations of destruction due to alcoholism. Did Jesus really mean his blood was like wine? Could it be that we still are not quite sure how to ex-perience Jesus? I think its much easier to use him like an energy bar we shove into our mouth as

    we drive the kids to school, just fuel to get through life. Or worse, we make him an addic-tion to hide the real issues in our life so that on the outside we look like super-christians but were killing ourselves inside with a french-fried, mono-culture religion. What does it mean to actually taste him? Really experience him?

    " Ive always been astounded by the way people in European countries eat, all that heavy cream and cheese and saturated fat, yet they dont really have a problem with obe-sity. To my American sensibilities of eating right (thats an interesting term) that kind of diet seems counter-productive but the one thing I feel like those countries have grasped is that they really do love food; they respect it. This pastry chef in the movie I just saw said, You dont find any all-you-can-eat buffets in France, because to them food is not simply nutri-

    tion, a means to a end, it is a reflection of the values of life. They eat slow, they savor the experience. I have to admit eating that way takes too long. All that time in one place? Eating? Talking? Laughing? Why would I want that? I have things to do! So, the cost I pay for that is something like food. It functions like nutrition... and because it has less stuff in it, I think its healthier... but its not. Its a poison Ive just built a tolerance to. It will kill me eventually. " You know, I think the spiritual discipline of fasting is Gods way of bringing taste back to our pallet, not just with food but with him. Its a way of breaking us out of survival-mode and back to the simple taste of life. So that we will simply love the gift of experienc-ing him.

    the torn curtain newslet ter

    After Chef Grant Achatz lost his sense of taste to the cancer treatments he didnt want to eat anything. Just the thought of going through the mechanics of eating without the joy that comes from the taste of great food was almost enough to end his life. Then after two years his taste came back... not all at once but the way a newborn babys tastes develops. Can you imagine that sensation?" Im so fascinated by this idea of taste I think because it express the heart of Torn Curtain Arts. We want people to truly and profoundly taste Jesus. We want to arrange the flavors of sweet, bitter, salty, acidic on the palate to stir up emotions and stories that draw people into an experience with Him, to say nothing of the aroma wed like to spread to the rest of the world as we cook it all up. We use whatever tools we have at our disposal to surprise and maybe even challenge their expectations of what He actually tastes like. Yes, this is what were about and this is what were doing. Because we think that if you really want to experience Jesus and savor him like someone who has discovered their taste again, you will taste what Chef Achatz could taste after two years of nothing... Sweet."

    current ly: We are partnering with Restoration Community Church to help them produce their weekly worship program.

    We are directing the Torn Curtain original Easter

    production of Resurrections for Hope Community


    Producing a video for Danny Oertli

    Ministries upcoming CD release party.

    taste. T O R N P A G E [Two]



  • Taste is knowing the amazing way that cream and lemon zest pair with rosemary and a pinch of red pepper flakes drizzled over wild rice with herbs and butter.Taste tells you that its important to clean off that shelf, no matter how metaphorical. Because some of those jarred goods are bitter and unnecessary to hold onto. Taste compels you to continue building history with old friends, not being scared to share the scary parts of your story. It might mean wearing your comfy pants because you ate too much...again...not surprisingly this satisfies much longer than the steak with wilted arugula. I hope you have or can find your own Dinner at Brandon evenings. Perhaps first on the menu? Companionship braised with safety on a fresh layer of love topped with honesty. Youre hungry arent you?

    please prayWere doing this thing

    full-time now so please pray that we have more places to

    serve in 2011!

    Please pray that God brings us at least 2 more partners that are willing to support us with $100

    per month.

    Were celebrating 10 years of holy

    matrimony this May! Thank God with us and pray that the Holy Spirit continues to sustain us.

    " Im noticing that in thinking about food Im only focusing on the delicious flavors and creamy sauces that I take pleasure in eating. Yet, when I think about how delicious our dinners with Brandon are I know that we taste bad stuff. Its not the food. Its the other stuff we stir, ladle and pour into bowls. Life. We each keep a private, meta-phorical pantrywhere the out-dated herbs are stored and the weird box of something from Wild Oats that we know is good for us but we dont want to cook. There are the recipes and cookbooks that didnt work. There too in jars that need no labels are our heartaches, our depressions, our personal failures that exist outside the kitchen where no amount of paper towels can adequately clean the mess. And though stored on high shelves, these affect our taste buds.

    Weve been friends with Brandon for about 13 years. I remember meeting him in a townhouse on CCUs West Campus my sophomore year of college. I remem-ber his red hair, soft voice and a shared love of t.v.s, Buffy The Vampire Slayer." Soon after meeting we began watching and eating together, sometimes playing games but always, always after being with Brandon I left with a very full stomach. Stuffed. Sometimes uncomfortably so... it all tasted so good and I just kept eating and tasting and I didnt want it to end...but then I would realize how hard it was getting to breathe and I would be forced to stop." After we graduated it seemed that we saw each other a bit less. Now maybe only once or twice a year. We would always eat. We would catch up on the last 6 months, play some games, and leave. Always wanting more." Then a couple of years ago life pulled some switches and there was something comforting about each other & our ritual of connecting over food. Like any home cooked meal we made each other feel warm, safe and loved. There was history to our friendship. The recipe had been created, tried and tested many times and we could say with certainty that it was keeper. We had filled a recipe card with some simple but quality ingredients and stashed it safely in our favorite cookbook.

    I think about food often. Usu-ally, I wonder what to make for lunch - again. But, I enjoy reminiscing on specific fla-vors Ive had the pleasure of tasting. A really good piece of

    sushi, pancakes at Snooze, Rigatte Primavera at Trattoria Stella, champagne risotto, and anything my dear friend Brandon cooks or bakes.