Garlic and Sapphires (Ruth Reichl)

Ruth Reichl‘s memoir of her time as Restaurant Critic for the New York Times, during which time she found she had to disguise herself as one of a variety of alter-egos in order to avoid being recognised and thus given the favorable treatment due to a person of power. But this turns out to be a parable of the interconnectection between restaurant-going and role-playing, upon which the book meditates. The writing is not just scrumptiously evocative, but makes you want to pay closer attention to the food you put in your mouth — whether or not it has been created by a celebrity chef. And the spirit of the book is defiantly populist, furiously battling for the ordinary any- and every-bodies of this world against the supercilious and self-satisfied arrogant hauteur of the food world — even when it manifests in the writer herself.

garlic-and-sapphires

Continue reading

Germany’s Second Goal (Unknown Artist)

20150103_114413

This painting fascinates me: why would anyone choose to paint the moment of Germany’s second goal against England in the 1966 World Cup Final that England went on to win 4-2. If you were English, why focus on the German goal? If you were German, why choose a moment that so vividly reminds you that your team didn’t win the World Cup? What is it about that second German goal that is so artistically inspiring?

And then there’s the place I discovered it: nailed to the wall of the football pavilion at Hebron School, hidden under a sheet of dust and behind a pile of worn out sports equipment. I persuaded the Sportsmaster to let me have it — the artist had long since left the school — and have had it ever since, but never really with anywhere to actually put it. Until yesterday, when in the course of our reorganising of the space in our house, it went up on the wall in the living room.

second-german-goal
Photographic evidence confirms the painting’s accuracy

Upon further research I discover that the second German goal, scored by Wolfgang Weber, was an equalizer in the last minute of normal time. Which means that this goal would have inspired a euphoric rush of hope-filled adrenaline for the German supporters. Whereas for the English fans it would have catalysed a surge of nervous frustration. What is more, the goal was controversial — Banks, the English goalkeeper, claimed that the ricocheting ball had been hit by a German hand in the run-up to the goal.

So this was the goal that took the match to extra time. But, as we know, England went on to score two goals in those thirty minutes of extra time (one even more controversial), and become world champions. Meaning this painted second goal was ultimately futile.

Futile perhaps, but not forgotten. That is the artist’s declaration in preserving this moment. Which means that this painting is a poetic tribute to life’s haphazard frustrations.

As it is written:
The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.

The Mark Experiment (Andrew Page)

Mark’s Introduction (1:1-8)
a — Mark’s witness to Jesus (1)
b — OT prophets’ witness to Jesus (2-3)
c — Baptism of John creates great interest (4-5)
b’ — John is like an OT prophet (6)
a’ — John’s witness to Jesus

Section One: The Message (1:9-3:12)
Block A (1:9-20)
Baptism and temptation of Jesus (9-13)
Jesus proclaims the good news (14-15)
Jesus calls the first disciples (16-20)

Block B (1:21-2:28)
a (1:21-28) Jesus drives out an evil spirit
b (1:29-34) Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law and others
c (1:35-39) Jesus says his priority is teaching
d (1:40-45) Jesus heals a leper
d’ (2:1-12) Jesus heals a paralytic
c’ (2:13-17) Jesus calls Levi and eats with sinners
b’ (2:18-22) Jesus predicts a radical break with Judaism
a’ (2:23-28) Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath

Block C (3:1-12)
Jesus provokes opposition by healing on the Sabbath
Jesus’ growing popularity

Section Two: The Power (3:13-6:6)
A (1;9-20)
Appointing of the 12 (12-19)
Opposition from the family (20-21)
Opposition from the religious leaders (22-30)
Opposition from the religious leaders (31-35)

B (1:21-2:28)
a (4:1-20) Parable: The Sower
b (4:21-25) Parables: The Lamp
c (4:26-29) Parable: Seed Growing Secretly
d (4:30-34) Parable: Mustard Seed
d’ (4:35-41) Miracle: Calming Storm
c’ (5:1-20) Miracle: Driving out Legion
b’ (5:25-34) Miracle: Healing sick woman
a’ (5:21-43) Miracle: Raising Jairus’ daughter

C (3:1-12)
Opposition from family and friends

Section Three: The Training (6:7-8:30)
A (6:7-33)
Jesus sends out Twelve (7-13)
Death of John the Baptist (14-29)
Twelve return to Jesus (30-33)

B (6:34-8:10)
a (6:34-44) Feeding 5000
b (6:45-52) Jesus walks on water
c (6:53-56) Jesus heals in Gennasaret
d (7:1-13) God’s word and human tradition
d’ (7:14-23) What makes people unclean?
c’ (7:24-30) Jesus and the Syro-Phoenician woman
b’ (7:31-37) Jesus heals a deaf and dumb man
a’ (8:1-10) Feeding of the 4,000

C (8:11-30)
Pharisees demand a sign (11-13)
Confusion of the disciples (14-21)
Healing in two stages of a blind man (22-26)
Peter’s confession of Christ (27-30)

Section Four: The Cost (8:31-10:52)
A (8:31-9:29)
First prediction (8:31-33)
Call to discipleship (8:34-9:1)
Transfiguration (9:2-13)
Jesus drives out an evil spirit (9:14-29)

B (9:30-10:31)
a (9:30-32) Second prediction
b (9:33-37) ‘I am the greatest’
c (9:38-41) ‘We are the only ones’
d (9:42-50) ‘Sin doesn’t matter’
d’ (10:1-12) Attitude to marriage
c’ (10:13-16) Attitude to children
b’ (10:17-27) Attitude to possessions
a’ (10:28-31) Rewards of discipleship

C (10:32-52)
Third prediction (32-34)
James’ and John’s request (35-45)
The healing of blind Bartimaeus (46-52)

Section Five: The Judgment
A (11:1-25)
Jesus enters Jerusalem (1-11)
Jesus curses the fig-tree (12-14)
Jesus clears the temple (15-19)
Jesus teaches lessons about prayer from the fig-tree (20-25)

B (11:27-12:44)
a (11:27-33) Authority of Jesus questioned
b (12:1-12) Parable of the tenants
c (12:13-17) Paying taxes to Caesar
d (12:18-27) Marriage at the resurrection
d’ (12:28-34) Greatest commandment
c’ (12:35-37) Question about the Messiah
b’ (12:38-40) Warning about teachers of the law
a’ (12:41-44) Widow’s offering

C (13:1-37)
Destruction of the temple and the end of the world

Section Six: The Love (14:1-16:8)
A (14:1-11)
Plans against Jesus (1-2)
Anointing at Bethany (3-9)
Plans against Jesus (10-11)

B (14:12-15:39)
a (14:12-26) Last Supper
b (14:27-31) Jesus predicts Peter’s denial
c (14:32-42) Gethsemane
d (14:43-52) Jesus arrested
d’ (14:53-65) Before Jewish Council
c’ (14:66-72) Peter denies Jesus
b’ (15:1-15) Jesus before Pilate
a’ (15:16-39) crucifixion

C (15:40-16:8)
Women at the cross (15:40-41)
Burial of Jesus (15:42-47)
Resurrection (16:1-8)

Mark’s Conclusion
a The appearances of the risen Lord (9-14)
b The message of the risen Lord (15-18)
c The disciples of the ascended Lord (19-20)

Read This Before Our Next Meeting (Al Pittampalli)

(See the website here.)

1. We have too many meetings.
2. We have too many bad meetings.

1. Traditional meetings create a culture of compromise.
2. Traditional meetings kill our sense of urgency.

Three (non-)meeting types:
1. Convenience. 2. Formality. 3. Social.

What’s not a meeting:
1. Conversations. 2. Group-work sessions. 3. Brainstorm sessions.

1. We’re usually good at conversations.
2. Unlike meetings, they are not a ‘weapon of mass interruption’.

Seven principles of a modern meeting:
1. Supports a decision that has already been made.
2. Moves fast and ends on schedule.
3. Limits the number of attendees.
4. Rejects the unprepared attendee.
5. Produces committed action plans.
6. Refuses to be informational. Reading memos is mandatory.
7. Works only alongside a culture of brainstorming.

A meeting might be necessary for one of only two reasons:
1. Conflict. 2. Coordination.

‘The die is cast!’

Daring To Live On The Edge (Loren Cunningham)

Why live by faith?
1. Prove God is real.
2. Increase faith.
3. Learn how to listen to God and obey him.

Foundational Financial Principles:
1. Don’t worry about money.
2. Set right priorities.
3. Be diligent and responsible.
4. Invest money and see it grow.
5. Be generous.

Biblical generosity is:
1. Voluntary.
2. Lavish.
3. Joyful.
4. Compelled by love.

Breadwinners/Poor/Sent Ones/Manna People.

Personal Missions Support.