Well, actually, Micah Taylor found it.
And what is it?
The password. For this site. That I somehow forgot. And as a result have not been bloggity blog blog blogging.
That’s about to change.
News for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
I Found It.
Well, actually, Micah Taylor found it.
Urban Abbey Promotion
I’ve sent a ton of you a link to this blog entry to invite you to promote the concert at Urban Abbey in the Old Market district of Omaha NE on April 19th. It’s going to be a great concert and I’m so grateful that you think so too and that you’re coming and that you’re telling other people about it and that we’re going to pack the house. That makes for a pretty sweet Friday night.
Here are the details:
Nate Houge – Acoustic Concert
Urban Abbey – 1026 Jackson St, Omaha, Nebraska 68102
Friday April 19th 2013 @ 7pm
All Ages – No Cover
Poster: Urban Abbey (prints well as black and white)
Facebook Event: http://on.fb.me/12FikOS (If you’re in Omaha and going and would like to invite others, let me know and I’ll add you as a host.)
Press Release: Nate Houge Urban Abbey Press Release
“Nationally touring folk rock artist Nate Houge will be playing an all ages concert at Urban Abbey (1026 Jackson St) in the Old Market district this Friday, April 19th at 7pm. Nate Nate Houge is known for his catchy tunes, honest lyrics, stories, and quirky sense of humor. You may also recognize his name from his work with Rachel Kurtz, Jonathan Rundman, and Sparkhouse. This concert is open to the public and all are welcome. Check out Nate’s music and more at natehouge.com.”
“This Friday Nate Houge will be playing an acoustic concert at Urban Abbey in the Old Market. Nate’s from St. Paul MN. He’s one of those Lutheran touring musicians you may be familiar with. It’ll be a great night of music and fun. It’s all ages, it’s free, and it starts at 7pm, so check your bulletins for more details, you won’t want to miss it.”
Thanks for your help in promoting this event. It’s my first time playing in Omaha and I’m grateful for you support!
Songs from NWMN Synod Youth Gathering
Hey! We’re in the middle of a great youth gathering here in beautiful, balmy (not), Detroit Lakes area. Or as the locals call it, DL.
I will say right now that this is an amazing group of singers – maybe the loudest singers I’ve ever sung with at a High School event.
In an effort to get you to keep up the singing wherever you go, and perhaps lead a few songs back in your home congregations, I’ll post the songs we sing as we sing ‘em – meaning I’ll keep updating this throughout the weekend.
Raise A Song of Gladness – by Jacques Berthier – Taize
Where There Is Love – Ryan Marsh – Songs For a Mystical Supper
(download it free here: http://belovedschurch.org/mysticalsupper/)
(no really, stop reading this blather and download that stinking album now!)
To The Lamb and To the Lord – Nate Houge – Becoming Liturgy
Jesus Christ You Are the Light – Nate Houge – Becoming Liturgy
Be With Us Now – Nate Houge – Unreleased, hope you remember it
Your Work In Me – Nate Houge – Reform Follows Function
Be Not Afraid – Taize – ELW #388
Comfort Your Hearts – Nate Houge – Becoming Liturgy
Jesu Tawa Pano – ELW #529
Brother, Sister, Friend – Camp song
Ridden – Nate Houge – Folkstar
Freedom Come – Ben Allaway – can’t remember the name of the resource, but e-mail me and I’ll send it to you when I get home
Where There Is Love – Ryan Marsh – You downloaded this by now, right?
He Hung Upon A Cross – camp song
Raise A Song of Gladness – Jacques Berthier – Taize
My, My – Nate Houge – Reform Follows Function
Comfort Your Hearts – Nate Houge - Becoming Liturgy
Where There Is Love – Ryan Marsh - Aren’t you glad you downloaded this?
Brother Sister Friend – Camp Song
Jesu Tawa Pano – ELW #529
To The Lamb and To The Lord – Nate Houge – Becoming Liturgy
He Hung Upon A Cross – camp song
Take Your Time – Nate Houge – Reform Follows Function
Freedom Come – Ben Allaway
Raise A Song of Gladness – Jacques Berthier – Taize
Be Not Afraid – Taize – ELW #388
All We Can Do – Nate Houge – Reform Follows Function
Be Thou My Vision – ELW #793
Be With Us Now – Nate Houge – Unreleased
The Work of God – Nate Houge – Becoming Liturgy
Comfort Your Hearts – Nate Houge – Becoming Liturgy
And of course, let’s not forget the Thrift Shop Table Grace, my cowrite with Katie VanBeek:
(tune: I’m gonna pop some tags…)
I’m gonna pop some grub
Got hunger inside my belly
God is providin’, lookin appetizin’
Food is super awesome
(tune: I wear your grandad’s clothes…)
I eat my vegetables
They taste incredible
They are so colorful
Got two servings in my bowl
Baker In Residence
My home congregation, Humble Walk, does not have a full time song leader. It has an artist in residence program. Different artists come in and lead music for a season or handful of weeks at a time. It works and opens us to a wide variety of music. When playing elsewhere it’s often assumed that I lead music a ton at Humble Walk. I don’t. One of the main reasons has to do with me having two kids along with me and there are few things I dislike more than bringing my kids to work. That being said, when I am asked to do it I usually say yes because I love my church and I love leading music and my lovely wife can usually find some extra hands to help out on her end of things to make it tolerable with the kids.
Last week I said yes. Mostly because Coordinator Justin asked me as an artist to make bread not music. 99% of the time our artists are musicians and 1% has been visual artists like this guy. (Matt is the 1%)
So my art was to be baking bread. Which I love. So I said yes.
Here’s how it went down.
Justin and I met up. The challenge in creating interactive experiences is to find the avenue that allows the unpracticed to participate. The balance necessary in leadership is to provide instruction and structure so that success is measured not in performance (yuck.) but in participation (yeah!) How do you do this with bread? See, that’s why Justin and I had to meet up. Though bread is more forgiving than most (myself included) it’s also weirdly mysterious to the point that it intimidates. Making a loaf of bread takes more time than talent. And somedays I would argue a healthy dose of ‘ignorance is bliss.’ Perhaps bread baking suits me for these qualities. I’m okay with that.
Here are the opportunities for creative thinking that we needed to address:
- no access to a kitchen
- 45 minutes from start to finish (give or take)
- our alter/prep counter is an artists table covored in paint and gouged wood
- 15-30 particpants – not observers- this wasn’t to be a demonstration but rather an active part of worship
- connection to the gospel – our songs support the theme, how could bread do that?
- pacing through the service
- gluten free inclusivity
We first came up with a somewhat elaborate scheme to bring dough in at different stages, including baked loaves. This seemed like the most realistic plan giving our limitations but it also seemed to fit the limitations better than the goal of participation. We wanted to embrace both.
What we came up with was tortillas.
An unleavened (or chemically leavened – baking powder in this case) bread. The dough would need time to rest but not to rise. Each person could make his or her own tortilla. We could bake them on a griddle, no need for a kitchen and we could make corn tortillas as well for a gluten free option. And of course there was still a gospel connection to make and pacing through the service.
The gospel lesson was about Jesus in the wilderness. Satan challenges him saying, “If you are the son of God turn this stone into bread.” Bread reference. Bam. But so what? There’s a bigger theme I went with. There are proteins in flour that come together to create gluten. You want strong gluten development in bread to create a sort of skin of elasticity that will hold the dough together, and in the case of leavened bread, hold in the CO2 produced by the yeast. It’s what makes bread rise. To form that gluten you need TIME and TENSION. Kneading creates that tension that brings the proteins together. So does time (the key to many no-knead breads). The balance of both offers you workable dough and beautiful flavor. Time: 40 days. Tension: Temptation.
Bread baking now reinforced the text and the season.
And the pacing? Here’s the recipe:
You’ll need a workspace. I used the leftover counter top from where my favorite mother-in-laws sink had been cut out and made two portable workstations, one for flour, one for corn. We made this on a lefse griddle cranked all the way up. It did not work as smooth as the cast iron tortilla pan my Aunt Alice gave me when she taught me how to make tortillas, but it worked.
Our ‘opening song’ was making the dough. Two batches of flour, one of corn. The corn tortilla was on the back of the corn flour bag and is way easy, so I’m just going to talk about the flour tortillas here. Folks helped measure and knead and everyone had an opportunity to join in and get messy.
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbl shortening/lard (we used butter flavored crisco)
1 1/2 cups warm water (hot out of the tap works well)
Mix dry ingredients
Crumble in the shortening/lard with your fingers
Add warm water and knead with your hands until it is well combined and smooth. A stand mixer will do this at home in about 3 minutes. A slightly sticky dough is good. Super sticky? Bad. Super dry? Bad. So be good and slightly sticky.
Place the dough in a bowl and let it rest till after the sermon. (10-20 minutes of rest)
Divided the first batch of flour dough into 24 pieces and put the pieces in a bowl. Pass the bowl around and each person takes out a piece and rolls it between their hands to form a ball. Then, as ready, come around the alter and roll it out. You can’t roll it to thin. Dust with flour as needed. The corn tortillas we did with a homemade press which went quickly so folks came up and made corn tortillas at the alter.
Lay on the griddle till one side bubbles. Flip over for a bit. Little brown dots on each side is coolio.
With the scent of tortillas baking we moved into prayer, letting them rise as floured incense.
As tortillas were prepared we piled them on to the communion plate (Paten). Communion was served by intinction one warm tortilla at a time.
I busted out butter, cinammon and sugar as well as plastic wrap and we were sent with something sweet and a few tortillas to take home. Actually, very few… if any. We did a pretty good job of finishing them off. But there was still dough left, so that was wrapped up and sent home with willing spirits that were ready to try something new.
And that’s how bread worked as the art of our worship.
As is often the case, worship was messy. Fluid. Hiccupy. And beautiful. It was actually more beautiful then I would’ve guessed it to be and for that I thank Justin Rimbo for his vision and my faith community for her support.
I’m Not Afraid of Lent
It’s Lent. Generally speaking I love this season of the church year. I love the slowing down, the somber tone, the minor keys, the intention of surrender and sacrifice. Acknowledgement of limitations. Namely death.
But this year I don’t need the reminder. It’s been dark out there for way too long. Over the last few months my community of friends, church, and neighbors has been hit with death, heart attacks, suicides, job loss and depression. There are days when the newspaper brings me to tears. I get darkness. I get death. I can’t bear it.
Typically during Lent folks give stuff up. Or take stuff on. Or dwell on which is better and lift their worries up to the heartless cloud of know it alls we know as facebook where they are set straight. And further tizzied.
As for myself, I came up with three ideas of what to give up this lent.
1. Lent. Nah. That would be the easy way out and what sort of stubborn church snob would I be if I didn’t do it the hard way?
2. Self. Nope. I love me. And this one gets too confusing. Too out there.
3. Fear. Yes. I’m giving up fear. Which scares the hell out of me. But that’s the kind of the point, correct?
I’m going with Jacqueline Bussie‘s take on life that the opposite of Hope is not Despair but rather Fear.
To be honest I don’t know what it looks like. Probably doing some new things. Earlier this week I faced my fear of the backstroke during lap swimming. I got water up my nose. I’ve said no to a few things this week. That’s something I’m generally afraid to do. Maybe that’s all it is. I’m guessing there’s more to it. I think living as someone who is not afraid could get a little crazy. But crazy is not all bad. Even Seal acknowledges this.
So good-bye fear, hello hope.
You so crazy.
It is possible.
A couple weeks ago our family was driving up to Bay Lake Camp for a weekend retreat with other folks from our home congregation/neighborhood. I was in terrible mood. Tired and angry and frustrated about a number of things. In fact at one point I actually pulled over and got out of the car to let Jodi drive ’cause I was in no place to be behind the wheel. I even asked Jodi, “Why are we even going this weekend?” (Other than the obvious: It’s the congregation she pastors) Her response? ”It’s transformative.”
That woman. She’s always right.
We drove out to the island. Driving on ice will never be normal for me. We unloaded. I laid down. I even slept a little bit – a relatively new thing for me. I mean, sleeping during the day. I think it’s called napping.
When I finally dragged my bitter self into the community space and took on the taco bar I wasn’t quite ready for people. But it was that or not eat tacos. And I would sooner drive on ice than not eat tacos.
This would be a nice place to say, “And then everything changed.” And in fact I was hoping someone would flip the switch and I’d be a happy camper. But it wasn’t. All the same I stuck with the community. We turned in our cell phones. We played games. We froze. And we went to bed. And I was only slightly less cranky.
Mid morning day two I went for a walk with a few friends. We headed to the site of the Island Folk School. It may be my favorite place on earth. Which works out well because I plan on retiring there.
On the hike back I was asking my friend Chris how she manages to always be so giving and hospitable. (The sorts of things at the heart of my stress and bitterness.) She shared a number of insights but the big one for me was surrounding ones self with people who see possibility.
That’s when things changed for me. That’s when I realized I was hiking back to a lodge full of people that saw possibility. They were part of a scrappy podunk congregation because they saw possibility. They believe in a God of possibility not prosperity. Of hope not outcome. Possibility not perfection. You and I get to be a part of that possibility. We are possibility.
It’s possible that I’m bordering on motivational speaker here. In which case: Buy my book!
Or receive my thanks: I’m grateful for you, because you keep my vocation a possibility. I hope I can do the same for you. Thank you.
Last year I visited a church. Well, many of them actually. It’s a vocational hazard of sorts. The church I’m thinking about today was one in transition.
Old church. Old neighborhood. The population/ethnic make up around the church had changed and the church had not. Its congregation was made up of folks who drove into the city to attend because that’s where they had always gone. And this congregation was ready to fold. It wasn’t sustainable.
So this church called a new pastor in hopes of giving it one last go before they closed the doors. The pastor’s job was to be the pastor of the existing congregation and simultaneously start a new congregation that was more representational of the neighborhood. New name, new time (evenings), new people, new life, new language, etc…
As he worked with the new and old two things stood out. The new congregation wanted to worship in the mornings when the old congregation worshiped. And the old congregation wanted to worship with the new congregation.
And so there was no longer an old congregation. It died. And it was raised to new life in this new congregation that met in the same place at the same time with many of the same people. It had been made new. New faces. A new call. A new life.
With a new year upon us change and transition are on our minds. Me? I’m ready to start over. How I’ve done things in the past is no longer sustainable. I could use a new set of rules to play by. That’s scary. And may lead to the unknown. But my identity remains. In my tradition I’m carried forward by the promises made in baptism. That I have been made new. That I am whole and loved and welcomed into God’s work in this world.
Whatever the new year holds I need you to remind me of that.
Julekake. And jule thank me.
I married into Julekake. Yet another example of how I married up. This is a sweet cardamom Christmas (Jule – pronounced like you’ll-uh) Bread (Kake- pronounced like poop in Spanish). I’m sure my rootsier scandinavian readership will happily clear up any cultural and pronouncial details. In the same way my English major friends will make up for not working in their field by kicking me in the ouchies for making up the word pronouncial. (Relax, Mr. Keillor has got your back.)
A couple years ago I scoured the Internet for recipes and I found a wide range. So I tried to remember what Aunt Laurie’s Julekake tasted like then I made a guess based on the various recipes I found and every year tweak it a bit. Over the last 3 years it’s come into a focus a bit. This year I tried two new things. I shaped it more like a batard and I experimented with an egg glaze. The new shape I like. Traditionally they’re in big rounds (boule) but I like the more predictable size of each slice I get with the batard. The egg glaze? Didn’t do it for me. Skip it. You get to drool icing over the top anyway, that’ll be plenty pretty.
So here is what I did this year.
9 cups / 1575g all purpose flour
1 cup / 250g warm water
1 1/2 cups /400g milk
1/2 cup butter
2 1/4 tsp yeast (1 package)
1 Tbl salt
3/4 cup / 160g sugar
2 Tbl cardamom
1 cup white raisins
1 1/2 cup candied fruit (totally unnaturally red and green cherries, candied citrus is good)
Heat the milk to about 180-190 F
Remove from heat
Add the butter to cool the milk and melt the butter
Add water – use cooler or warmer water to end up with a 90-105 F mix. Keep in mind the temperature of the eggs you’re about to add – again, the end temp of all the liquids
should end up around 90-105 F to create a comfort zone that allows your yeast to be fruitful and multiply.
Add those eggs
Sprinkle the yeast on top
Whisk it all up
While that’s doing it thing mix the flour salt sugar and cardamom in a a big bowl
Add the liquid and use a big spoon or your hand and make a big lump of dough
Cover and let rest for 15-20 minutes
Add the raisins and candied stuff. This is sticky and messy just so you know. But even when dough seems like a disaster, carry on, it knows how to be dough and it will come back to what it’s supposed to be.
Knead. Like 10-12 minutes probably. It should be a slightly wet dough. If you need to add moisture spread the dough out flat, dimple with your finger and sprinkle a little water over it.
Cover and let rise. Mine took about two hours to double. I put a plastic bag over the bowl and stick it in the oven with the oven light on. The bag retains moisture the light keeps it a little warmer than our house normally is this time of year.
Form into 4 boules or batards and place on parchment paper (2 per pan)
Let rise again. Generally half the time of your initial rise.
Do not score, you won’ be getting that kind of spring
Bake at 350 F for 35 minutes – I do one pan at a time and keep the waiting pan somewhere cool so it doesn’t over proof before going in the oven.
After the loaves have cooled you can drizzle icing over the top. I’m not sure what the measurements are for the icing because I used some that was leftover from making ginger bread houses and added a little hot water and almond extract to make it a little smoother. If you mix powdered sugar, a little butter, water and a dash of coffee (for real) and a bit of almond extract I’m sure you’ll end up with something fattening that your body will respond positively too. I might actually just go try that to see for myself. Yum.
Garnish with some of those freakishly bright candied cherries.
We like ours lightly toasted with butter and a thin slice of gjetost (yay! toast.)
Merry Christmas folks. I may not blog next week so keep busy with something else, okay?
Bake more bread,
I went to Menards this morning in order to save big money by way of spending it which still doesn’t make sense to me but why would the colorful talking box lie to me? As I handed over my play money/credit card, the man in front of me apologized for being slow and mentioned he was having surgery the next day. We talked a bit about it. Hip surgery. He was looking forward to it being done with. And then he headed out as I bagged up my ‘savings.’ When I started my car I noticed he was walking back from putting his cart away. He was using a cane and I could see more clearly how badly he needed that hip replaced.
By this time I had started driving through the parking lot searching for a way out – as is my custom – and I thought, ‘I should pray for him.’ And then I thought, ‘I should turn around and get his name.’ And then, ‘That’s weird.’ But self rebutted with, ‘If I was having surgery I’d be okay with a stranger asking my name and saying they would pray for me.’ Quickly countered by, ‘Aha! I finally found the exit, this is my chance to flee this internal dialogue!’
And then I turned around.
He hadn’t got back in his car yet, in part to the hip I’m guessing. His name is Jim. I said I’d pray for him. I gave myself an internal pat on the back for doing my holy deed.(I make a point of celebrating such a rare occurrence.)
On saying I’d pray for him his face lit up and he thanked me and then he turned it around and said, “I just think of it as one of God’s little interruptions. I mean, just think about Mary. God interrupted her life and it worked out okay.”
By ‘Mary’ I’m assuming he was talking about the Baby Jesus Mama.
Interruption. Rupture. Breaking open. Breaking into. Shattering the norm. The status quo dashed.
I’m ready to be interrupted. Preferably without major surgery.
I’m ready for this world to be interrupted.
I’m ready for the immense capacity for violence in this country to be interrupted.
I’m ready for hate to be interrupted with love.
I’m ready for heartbroken parents to be interrupted by their child’s embrace.
I’m ready for death to be interrupted with resurrection.
I’m ready for another shitty manger to be interrupted with the presence of God.
Saint Lucia Buns. Yes, Taylor, I send buns.
December 13th is St. Lucia day. I spent 31 years of my life not knowing this. The first 31 to be exact. Living in Scandisota has taught me that there are many dates I spent much of my life oblivious to and in doing so I missed out on a lot of butter, flour, sugar, and calories in general. I’m working on rectifying this.
Last year for Christmas I received Pat Sinclair’s cook book, Scandinavian Classic Baking. Today’s recipe for St. Lucia Buns comes from this fine book. I’m not going to reprint her recipe here because, duh, it’s not mine and I would need permission to do that. You can find plenty of recipes out there on the interwebs if you want to have these ready for tomorrow morning. Or you can rush down to Ingebretsen’s and get your own copy of Scandinavian Classic Baking. I recommend it. Cookbooks are vinyl in an mp3 world.
So if I’m not printing a recipe why read on? Because I’m going to give you a few tips that’s why dummy. Nothing like a good insult to up the readership.
Tip #1. Don’t forget to add the eggs. I did till a few minutes into kneading. Though I’m guessing it would’ve worked I didn’t feel like kneading eggs directly into the dough. What worked for me was to crack two eggs into a bowl and whisk in a 1/4 cup of flour or so to make them less slimy. Then I flattened out the dough, made deep finger divets in it and poured the egg/flour combo over it. Fold it over and start kneading. It’ll ooze out a bit, but stick with it and it’ll all come together. And adding flour won’t hurt because you just added more moisture and they should balance each other out.
Tip #2. If you’re dividing dough into 16 equal pieces and don’t feel like busting out the scale here’s what I do. (adjust #’s as needed) The knife I cut my dough out with is 1 1/2 inches wide. 1.5 x 16 = 24. Roll the dough (like a snake) into a 24 inch long cylinder. Start at one end and lay the knife flat on top of the dough so the dull side of the blade is lined up with the end of the dough. Upright the knife (now the sharp side is in a cutting position on the dough) and cut a disc of dough. Repeat. Work down the length of the dough and you’ll have 16 equal size pieces of dough. And yes, a picture would’ve been worth a thousand words in this case.
Tip #3 Make them the night before and bake them in the morning. I made the dough, let it rise, punched it down, divided and formed my little S’s and layed them on parchment lined baking sheets. Now cover them with plastic wrap or put in a big plastic bag and immediately put them in the fridge to retard the dough. In the morning take them out and let them warm up and rise. I accidently woke up at 4 so I went ahead and pulled them out of the fridge and put them in the oven with the oven light on to rise. When I got up at 5:30 I pulled them out and preheated the oven. By the time the oven was up to temp I put the first tray in and they came out wonderful.
Oh. And for those of you keeping track of my imperfections: I didn’t use the signature ingredient, Saffron. The roads were crap and I didn’t want to make a special trip for it. But I do love Cardamom. And so I used that (1 teaspoon).
Break more rules. Bake more bread.