I learned this afternoon of the death of one of the best pastors I’ve had a joy to know, Pastor Herbert Stemler. This is a photo of him and me from the night of my ordination in 2012.
Prayer for the Presidents We Like and Don't Like Alike
Barring some surprising twist as key states recount votes, it appears we are going to have a new resident in the White House come January. I am going to write the exact same thing I posted on Facebook almost two weeks ago about Justice Barrett’s confirmation:
If you are celebrating the election of Vice President Biden as the next President, please pray for him (and Sen. Harris, too). If you are upset about the election of Vice President Biden, please pray for him (and Sen. Harris, too). We desperately need to spend more time praying for our leaders than politicking over them.
This is very much what the Bible commanded us to do over the last four years for President Trump and Vice President Pence, and it is what it will continue to command us to do for President Biden and Vice President Harris (1 Tim. 2:2, 1 Pet. 2:17).
Too often, my own heart wants to pray for and respect leaders who are in the party I choose and not “the other party.” I (and I suspect most of us) need to constantly be repenting of that.
Every time the White House switches parties, it is good to do a check to see if we are aligning with the Scripture’s call to give honor to and pray for our leaders. If my intentions about prayer and honor change as the administration changes, I have either been sinning or am about to be sinning (perhaps both!).
We shouldn’t honor and pray for President Trump and then stop when we arrive at President Biden. Likewise, if we’ve been failing to honor and pray for President Trump, we shouldn’t just start with the next administration, we should repent and pray for the forty-fifth president even as the time is fast approaching for a forty-sixth president.
I shared more on these matters in my message for Little Hills this past week, prior to the election. It’s embedded below for anyone interested in digging more into what Scripture says on these things.
Remembering Lou Brock
I had the honor of getting to know Lou Brock just a tiny bit over the time I served as chaplain at Lindenwood. In the picture I have attached to this post, we are awaiting the start of the May 2013 undergraduate commencement exercises at LU. I first met him the evening prior at the pre-commencement dinner President Evans always hosted. I had the opportunity to have a very nice conversation with both Mr. Brock and his wife over dinner that night. The Brocks were always incredibly kind and they were excited about Jesus and their church.
I almost missed the chance to ask to take a picture with him. I had figured he might want to get away from being pestered by fans when he had the opportunity to hang up his Cardinals Hall of Fame red jacket and swap it for a black suit (in the role of a spouse of an LU board member). When I finally worked up the nerve to ask — after all, I was actually killing time in the presence of Lou Brock — he was happy to oblige and was just as gracious as he had been the evening before and in the times later on when I would see him at other LU events.
Mr. Brock is now with his Savior, freed from the illnesses that had beset him the past few years. Praying for his family today and praying for their comfort in Jesus.
The Amazing Pizza Recipe that Makes Sourdough Worth It
Last week, I posted about getting started with sourdough starter. While I started my starter ostensibly for bread, pizza is what has utterly sold me on the process. I cannot commend this recipe enough, with just a few slight changes I’ll describe.
After trying it several different ways, I think the best crust comes from planning ahead one day before you want the pizza. When you go through the daily discard and feeding ritual, place the discard in another bowl and feed it, just like you do for the main starter, similarly to what I mentioned last week. That should produce just enough “fresh discard” the next day for the pizza recipe and it gives the pizza crust a milder flavor and flakier texture than using several days of accumulation of discard. In sourdough terminology, this is the “levain”.
Doing this the day before, and not just a few hours ahead of dinner, is essential if you want thin crust pizza.
I ❤️ Sourdough
Not realizing apparently everyone else was thinking the same thing, it occurred to me back in March that the pandemic shelter-at-home time would be a perfect time to learn about the art of making sourdough bread. I wasn’t trying to be trendy, I just am fascinated by the idea of sourdough. In a way, raising your own “yeast colony” is sort of like a vegetable garden: sure you can buy produce at the grocery store, but everyone knows those tomatoes and peppers and peaches will taste better if you buy them from a local farmer when they are fresh or if you raise them in your backyard.
My adventure into becoming a yeast farmer took a little while for my brain to properly make sense of, so now that I think I have at least the basics down, I thought I’d share what I’ve discovered, especially since I’ve discovered raising my little sourdough farm is not only relatively easy, but makes some of the most incredible pizza I’ve had. If you love St. Louis style pizza, you can use a simple sourdough pizza crust recipe I’ll include in my next post to make what I believe is a St. Louis-style pizza better than many pizzerias’ version.
(Admittedly, several months in, I’ve only made bread once, but I’ve found some other things I love that it can make and I wanted to share them here both for your enjoyment and for my safe keeping lest I lose the recipes.)
French Fry Rankings
Lucas Kwan Peterson ranks fast food french fries, a deliciously good idea. He gets some of the essentials right, though I have to disagree on a few points. What he got very right, though, is his take on McDonald's fries:
McDonald's fries, for approximately 4½ minutes, while they're absolutely searing hot, are the greatest food on Earth. But their half-life is astoundingly fast, and by the time these babies are cold, they taste like mealy little icicles. The batch I sampled was warm, not piping, so their greatness was compromised. But I love a thin fry and, perhaps more, I love the memory of great McDonald's fries I've had in the past.
On the flip side, I don't know where he found a good Steak 'n Shake fry (they are capable of greatness, but that greatness is hard to find any longer) and Chick-Fil-A waffle fries should be way towards the top with a satisfying texture and strong potato-y flavor. My rankings are below the fold.
My friend Dennis Powell writes:
I don’t mean to be cranky here. Please forgive me if I think it’s a little nutty that the phrase “with sea salt” is considered good when that phrase might mean “contains fish poop.”
When you put it that way…
As Wikipedia notes,
St. Louis-style barbecue sauce is generally tomato-based, thinned slightly with vinegar, sweet and spicy. It is not as sweet and thick as Kansas City-style barbecue sauce, nor as spicy-hot and thin as Texas-style. A St. Louis-style barbecue is not complete without copious amounts of sauce.
That is what makes St. Louis-style sauce so good. Just the right combination of sweet and spicy in a sauce just thick enough to properly coat the meat.
I just found out that the cows favorite restaurant chain is building a location just a few miles down the road from me. This is simply too exciting! How did I ever go through life without knowing about Chick-fil-A for so many years?
I am not quite sure, but in any case, I am really glad they are coming to St. Charles.
Spicy Chicken Sandwich
Chick-fil-A has introduced its first new sandwich in about 20 years, apparently.
While I'd say it does not surpass the original Chick-fil-A sandwich, the new Spicy Chicken sandwich really is an excellent twist on the original. I was able to get one of the reservations the chain offered to preview one this past week and it had just the right amount of spice to give the sandwich character without having the heat overwhelm the mild but delightful Chick-fil-A flavor. Unlike some spicy chicken sandwiches, the additional spices complemented rather than changing the overall taste of the sandwich — a good thing in my book!
If you enjoy a little kick in your food, next time you are by a Chick-Fil-A, it would be worth trying out their new creation.