Tag Archive: economy of God


Fourth Helpings

img_3366We live in times where the focus is on those things that divide rather than connect us but as Chappo (Peter Chapman) says “You should share communion together, it has a unique power to unite beyond words.

For many years I was a co-ordinator for a local community project called Sharing Abundance, the idea behind the project was food sustainability through food rescue and food redistribution. If we noticed a home in our neighbourhood had produce growing, especially if they didn’t seem to be using it, we’d knock and ask if we could pick it and donate it on to people in need: through our local church foodbank and outreach projects offering a community meal. Mostly people were happy to get rid of it seeing the produce as something that attracted lots of birds and bats or made a mess on the lawn below.

We knew when we started that an outcome would be produce: jam, chutney, cordial… what I didn’t know was how well this would work as a shared vision for bringing people together. A chain formed where people donated fruit, some people collected jars, some people picked produce, others were available for the processing and cooking days, a jar of the finished product might go back to the donor and others out to the projects for distribution. The members of this network didn’t necessarily meet one another but often the links were special points of connection. Connection to where our food comes from, to the seasons, to place, to the wisdom of our elders, to our neighbours, to each other. We learned about reducing waste, edible weeds, what to make with 5kg of parsley, what a loquat is and how to eat it (just bite it actually but mind the pips!). No one person had it all but the neighbourhood working together created more than the sum of its parts. Share the abundance and you will know what it is to be rich.

Apricot Jam

Ingredients

1kg apricots, halved and stoned, then quartered (or 1 kg of any fruit)
juice of a whole lemon (30-40ml)
1kg caster sugar
1 tsp butter (optional)

Method

Prepare: Wash fruit well then cut into even pieces discarding any leaves, stalks, stones, etc.

Sterilising jars

To sterilize the jars in the oven start by preheating the oven to 130 degrees Celsius/ 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash the jars and the lids very thoroughly. Place the jars on a baking tray and put them in the oven for 20 minutes. In the meantime, boil the lids in a small pot full with water, drain in a colander.

Assemble: Put a saucer in the freezer to use to test the jam later. Place the apricots, lemon juice and sugar in a large non-reactive saucepan (like stainless steel or enamel). Use a large, wide pot for cooking the jam. The fruit-sugar mixture should only come one third up the sides of the pot. If you use a tall pot with a smaller diameter, the jam will need much longer until it sets.

Bring slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally. If you like use a potato masher to work the jam and sugar together — this releases moisture from the fruit and gets them cooking faster.

Boil the fruit for 15-20 minutes: Bring the fruit to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. The mixture will start with big, juicy bubbles and slowly progress to small, tighter bubbles as the jam gets closer to doneness. If foam forms on the top of your jam mixture move pot away from the heat and scoop it out with a spoon or add a knob of butter (about 1 tsp) to make it break down and return to low heat until butter is melted.

Know when the jam is done: After 15 mins, simply dribble some hot jam from the pot onto the frozen saucer and wait a few seconds for it to cool. Run your finger through the jam — if it makes a clear path through the jam and doesn’t fill in, then you have a good set. If setting point has not been reached, boil for a few minutes more, then test again.

Jar and store the jam: When the jam is set to your liking, remove the jam from the heat and transfer to the clean jars. Do not fill the hot jam in cold jars or the jars may shatter. Make sure that the sterilized jars are still hot when you fill them.

Use a soup ladle to fill the jars with the jam. Or pour some of the jam in a heat proof jug and then pour the jam into the jars. Use a wet paper towel or tea towel to clean any spilled jam from around the top of the jar and immediately place the lids on top and tighten. Ideally you want to place these jars somewhere they can stay without being moved for 24 hours cooling slowly you will hear the ‘plink’ of the lids sealing as the metal contracts as the jars cool and securely seal.

24 hours later check the jars. If the lids have sealed tight and flat, store jam in a cool, dark place. If the jar lid did not seal keep it in the fridge and enjoy straight away.

Other Lives

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The day before yesterday I sat in the NZ Poetry section of Arty Bees and there were lots of titles I didn’t have a chance to peek into and I thought I’d jot down some of the titles of books I didn’t get to read and use them as a springboard for my own imagination to follow the pathway of poems unread…

Have a crack at using the title of one of these books to write a poem or short story of your own!

Here’s my effort sitting on a park bench in the sunshine round Oriental Parade…

Other Lives

A pigeon and I shared morning tea,
coconut rough and brine of the sea
our feet rest on yellowed moss over stony cement
I think he talked, or perhaps I dreamt
“See these clouds, this sky, the fountain,
the roads, the houses and there a mountain…
these are connected but you cannot see
these must co-exist in harmony
you affect I and I affect you
in the ways that we go and the things that we do
some have plenty and some not a lot,
it seems that we ought to share what we’ve got.
It is clear as the water, firm as the ground
certain as sunrise, at least, I have found.”
“But pigeon,” I ask, “What can we do?”
“Next time,” he answered, “you might buy two…”


Talitha Fraser

Sustainability in Practice

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” (John Muir, 1838-1914)

Definition of sustainability as meeting “the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Brundtland Commission, officially WECD 1983-1987)

Systems:

  1. Parts
  2. Connections
  3. Functions/Purpose
  4. A boundary

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We take turns running prayers at the start of admin meeting and Blythe is projecting a video on the wall of bread being made: ingredients mixed, kneading, left to rise… In Matthew 13:33 Jesus says “the kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

Without notice the yeast begins to permeate the dough and the dough begins to rise, Jesus said “follow me” without saying where he was going but promising transformation.  A God of broken people and broken places, he asks us to leave what we know and go into wilderness desert. Far we have come, far we must go. We believe in a God of rebuilt places and rebuilt people.

This is where the concept of liminal space was first introduced to me:

 

 

We have left point A but have not arrived at point B yet.  The liminal space is the in between-ness of being neither here nor there.  These transitional phases – they are not necessarily a comfortable place to be, it is hard to know what to be sure of, but we can have a default to view change as negative and it is not always so.  God led the Israelites into the desert for 40 years, many of them complained and sought to return to the relative comfort of slavery (regular meals!) under the Egyptians. “In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not.” (Ex 16:4) Perhaps we can begin to see these liminal spaces as an opportunity for growth and learning, with the assurance that God is with us as a broken person in a broken place.

Far we must go – but we need not go alone.

As the yeast transforms the bread, so knowing God yields subtle transformation in our lives. Be present to the transformation that is happening around you…

How would completing the sentence, “the kingdom of heaven is like…” or “the economy of God is like…”  look like in your context?

Earlier this year Samara wrote some for us, here are some that she came up with:

The Economy of God is like…

…a residents’ group who lived in the heart of the city.  One day a woman buzzed level 8 demanding assistance.  One of the residents invited her in and spent the day helping her contact Hanover, giving her access to the phones and accompanying her to apply for crisis housing.  Finally when the resident was tired and fed up after a day of being bossed around, she invited the woman over to her place for dinner.

The Economy of God is like…
…a street and hospitality group whose regular retreat campsite was destroyed by bushfire.  Some people who had experienced loss and homelessness wanted to help out, so a BBQ and cake stall was organised.  When the time came to set up the stall on Collins St, the food was all prepared but the people who’d suggested the event were not available.  Instead of cancelling, some others stepped in and ran the stall.  They sold many sausages and cupcakes, and they raised twice as much money as they had expected.  And there were two plates full of cakes left over to enjoy the next day!

The Economy of God is like…
…a youth and schools team who ran a seminar for a feisty bunch of Year 9s who thought the homeless had it easy.  When they started complaining that homeless people should have their Centrelink payments cut and go and get a job, the presenter who’d experienced homelessness explained how his 14 year old kids would end up visiting him on the street…and some of the Year 9s changed their minds!

The Economy of God is like…
…a fundraising team who went to a training day on finances.  When they got there they discovered that they were the youngest in the room by 15 years and that all the baby boomers in the room were terrified of the Global Financial Crisis.  The fundraising team spoke soothingly to them and invited them to lunch at Credo.

The Economy of God is like…
…an open meal in a basement where they invested in litres of coloured paint but no dishwasher.