I did some more roasting yesterday. I did a batch each of Kenya Kiangundo (huge beans) and Panama Bouquette. Both should be great on their own. The Kenya is roasted full city+ or so (a little darker than I intended) and the Panama is full city. Someday I will get serious and buy a thermometer to guage the temperatures. And a stopwatch. Ok, maybe not. I kind of like the intuitive roasting, where the cues are subliminal, and you just know that the roast for this particular bean should be just a tad darker. But then again, that is how I feel about just about everything.
I also threw together a blend of coffees that I don’t really get excited about on their own. It consists of El Salvador Everest (a peaberry), Ethiopian Sidamo, and Papua New Guinea Agoga. In case you are wondering if the blend turned out exceptional, it didn’t, but it was alot more rounded than each would be on it’s own. To tell the truth, it was more of a way to use the PNG in a blend that would be palatable. I have nothing but trouble trying to get the PNG to taste good, so I though maybe it would work out in a blend that I did not expect a lot from. In that sense it was a smashing success. It truely was a mediocre blend, which we will drink without comment.
I think that there are many people, from all sorts of backgrounds, that are finding themselves at the tail end of the process given below. That is where I find myself.
The law of existence: First life, then theory. Then, as a rule, there comes still a third: an attempt to create life with the aid of theory, or the delusion of having the same life by means of the theory. This is the conclusion, the parody, and then the process ends — and then there must be new life again.
Take Christianity, for example. It came in as life, sheer daring that risked everything for the faith. The change began when Christianity came to be regarded as doctrine. This is the theory; it was about that which was lived. But there still existed some vitality, and therefore at times life-and-death disputes were carried on over “doctrine” and doctrinal formulations. Nevertheless doctrine became more and more the distinctive mark of being a Christian. Everything then became objective. This is Christianity’s theory. Then followed a period in which the intention was to produce life by means of the theory; this is the period of the system, the parody. Now this process has ended. Christianity must begin anew as life.
Recently I have had more than passing thoughts about the importance (or lack thereof) of doctrine to living the life of a Christian. The tomes of theology do not seem to bring me any closer to acting on charity, compassion, mercy, justice, or love. If it is less important to pass on in-depth theology than to model the life of Christ, what then is the role of preaching to Christians? Why do Christians sit and listen to it every week?
Christ did not establish any doctrine; he acted. He did not teach that there was redemption, he redeemed. Christ’s relationship to God, nature, and the human situation was conditioned by his activity. Everything else is to be regarded only as introduction.
I have been reading Provocations – spiritual writings of Kierkegaard off and on for the last 6 months (warning, PDF download). It really is provocative, and I cannot read too much at a time. The goal of much of his writing is to incite the reader to choose, and to force the reader into self-examination. This makes it a book that cannot easily be read straight through.
Kierkegaard was famous for his “Attack on Christendom” and as such, is often dismissed by modern Christians as a “non-Christian”. He is also sometimes called the father of Existentialism, although he would burn with anger if he were alive to hear it. Kierkegaarg’s central passion was to “make people aware of what is essentially Christian.” His aim was to provoke the individual to become a true individual. He did not think much of intellectual enlightenment, and rather sought to evoke inward change.
He lived in a “Christian” country, where the Church leaders were wealthy, owned land, and held political clout. People were born into church, and church was just a part of life. Everyone went to church, but it did not necessitate a change in behavior. Kierkegaard reacted to a culture that studied, lectured on, and talked about God and the Christian life, yet did not seem to imitate Christ. It is in this that I find resonance.
So I will begin posting a quote from the book, and maybe a little bit of response. Here is the first:
This is Christianity: Let a person begin seriously to realize his need for Christ. Let him literally give all his fortune to the poor, literally love his neighbor, and so forth, and he will soon learn to need Christ. Christianity is a suit that at first glance seems attractive enough, but as soon as you actually put it on — then you must have Christ’s help in order to live in it.
Well, besides Radio Paradise and my own little iTunes station I listen to last.fm where I tell them what music I like, and they make me a custom station. If you happen to have broadband and use last.fm, you can find me as Samaritan and listen to my personal station. Current band list:
B-Tribe, Bettie Serveert, Conjure One, Delerium, Dido, Eastmountainsouth, Fiona Apple, Gabriel Rios, Jeff Beck, Jem, KT Tunstall, Kasabian, Kirsty MacColl, Mich Gerber, Michelle Shocked, NAMASTE, Nikkfurie, Ollabelle, Portishead, Thievery Corporation, Turin Brakes, U2, Yello, Zero 7, dZihan & Kamien, Emogen Heap, Morcheba, Afro Celt Sound System, Cibo Matto, Emiliana Torrini, Lulu Mushi, Sufjan Stevens
Apparently there is a huge mass of snow elves running up from Oklahoma, carelessly dumping piles of snow everywhere. Such a mess. Actually, until they arrive in Michigan, they are only using squirt guns. They saved the poufy stuff for us. I am sure the kids will be in tears when they find out tomorrow…
Just now, while sitting at my desk in my comfortable task chair, I suddenly had the feeling that I should fasten my seatbelt. It was an impulse to reach over my left shoulder. Familiar, yet completely out of place.
While roasting with Nathan the Sunday before last, I discovered that I still had some Salvador Santa Rita left. Most of you might not know to care, but this is definitely the dessert of coffee. As Nathan puts it “I name this coffee ‘sweetness’.” It is a wonderful base for any blend, and really blends well with the chocolate of Honduras. So finding it at the bottom of my box was a real joy. The peculiar thing is that I have enough coffee in that box that a whole 4 pounds could get lost. I wanted to have enough to last me through the winter, so I bought a big load in September, but then Christmas was coming around, so I bought 15 pounds more for gifting. It was a slight over calculation, in both cases, but the benefit is that I have a very well rounded stash. I am thinking that I will not need to reorder until well after the anniversary of my first roast in March.
Tonight I roasted in the Poppery:
2 Batches Honduras
1 Batch Mexico Portifino
1 Batch Salvador Santa Rita
All are at City+ (Medium Dark Roast)
Note to Nathan & Nathan:
I did not have to force the batch of Mexico into second crack by recirculating the hot air. It roasted beautifully, and trotted right into second crack on it’s own.