The “art” of baking….not.

Baking is an art form, one in which I am not well versed in.  I approach baking much like I approach gardening: instead of the manicured lawns with sculpted flower beds, I’m more the scattered wildflower variety with a yard fertilized by my dog.  Nonetheless, here are a few equally scattered thoughts about baking anyway.

Starting with friendship bread—someone gives you a small bag of tan-colored, semi-liquid mush, accompanied by a sheet of specific directions which, if followed correctly, will produce some very delicious sweet bread.  The unique thing about Friendship bread is that part of the instructions tells me to save some of the mush to give away to someone else.  The more I follow the directions, the more sweet bread is produced and the more I can give away (or eat).

Now, I kind of think faith is like that. 

Andrew Murray, in his book With Jesus in the School of Prayer, refers to some of the hard sayings of Jesus, liked moving mountains and all that.  Jesus even said that “greater things than these you will do since I go to the Father”.  Wow!  I mean, really, He brought people back from the dead, pulled money out of a fish’s mouth, withered a fig tree with a word, stopped a storm at sea, commanded demons into a herd of ham, and on, and on. 

Sometimes it’s tempting to sweep these sayings under the modern day carpet with excuses—He just meant that for His disciples at that time in history, or the generic He was referring to “something else”.  (Reminiscent of the serpent’s original question to Eve concerning eating from that certain tree—“Hath God really said…..?”)

Or else I can shrug my shoulders and relent that I just don’t have enough faith.  Now there’s a real cop-out. Or I should say, a half-truth, something the old serpent is equally quite good at.  Of course I don’t have enough faith!  Duh.  But that does not stand to reason that I don’t have ANY faith.  In fact, God tells me that He has given EVERYONE a measure of faith.

My pastor says that we all make choices, including choices concerning my relationship with Jesus. LIke my Friendship bread starter dough, I am given directions on how to increase the faith God has given me, improve upon it.  In essence, I am responsible for reading and following the directions:

  • I am given a measure, even a cup, of faith. I must receive it, even if it’s like a friend giving me the bag of ugly-looking mush. Doesn’t look too tasty to begin with! (1)
  • Mixing my faith with other ingredients particularly happens in regularly hanging around other mush-loving people. (2)
  • Lots of patience, waiting, comes in the form of study, and personal time spent alone with the Lord Himself, and my nose in His Book. (3) “Those that are pleased with Christ must study to be pleasing to him; and they will not find him hard to be pleased”, says a wise old commentator.  (4)
  • Shaking the bag regularly. You don’t have to be very old to know what the shaking of life is like. But it’s the shaking and squeezing of the mush that activates the yeast, which eventually makes the bread rise.  In other words, it gives the bread “character”!  (5)
  • Part of the directions include putting my faith into a hot oven for a specified period of time. Yeah, this is also a fun one. No explanation needed. (6)
  • Giving a cup away. As someone once said, faith is personal, but true faith is never meant to be private. Something about not putting a lighted candle under a basket… (7)

Like friendship bread, I am given a portion of faith, and it’s up to me to decide what I’m going to do with it. When you follow the directions, it’s pretty amazing what can happen with a bag of mush.

 

  • Romans 12:3
  • Hebrew 10:25
  • Jeremiah 29:13
  • Henry, Matthew (2010-11-07). Unabridged Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (best navigation) (Kindle Locations 136223-136224). OSNOVA. Kindle Edition.
  • James 1:2
  • Daniel 3 – I love this story!
  • Matthew 5:15
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And speaking of new tricks for old dogs…..

My first Hobby Club bread.
My first Hobby Club bread.

One of my New Yorker daughters signed me up for a Hobby Club, hosted by one of her work buddies, Tyler Riewer.  (That’s rEE-ver, for the uninformed, a very nice Germanic name, very much unlike Jones, which is so common as to be utterly boring…more on that another time.)  Mr. Riewer’s Hobby Club gives all the members a chance to experiment with new and different activities, one for each month of 2015.  Included on his website (check it out—it’s really fun!) are instructions for each undertaking after which we are invited to post our Instagram photos so we can all enjoy laughing at ourselves and each other.

This month of January, we delve into the floury depths of breadmaking.  Now, this is not an altogether unexplored territory for me, since I already make most of our own bread for health reasons anyway, whole wheat, no salt, no white refined sugar, all that.  But what this club is doing is taking the breadmaking art to a new level for me—they actually expect me to use (gulp!) measuring cups and a receipe!

What Mr. Riewer doesn’t know is that Instagram is, in itself, a new and different activity for me.  As are  many of the other cultural changes that have come about secondary to the birth of the internet.  I have embraced a somewhat love/hate relationship with the web, for example, but I suppose each new discovery and invention presents its own opportunities for good or bad.  Kind of like money, or guns, or parental authority; it’s all about the choices of those that use it.

But some things do not change, at least for me.  Like the joy of seeing my grandchild, (even if it is only on a video chat instead of in person).  Like the sound of football on in the family room.  And of course, like the smell of fresh bread baking on a cold January day.  ‘Nuf said.   I need to go make that baguette.

Thanks, Mr. Riewer!