Sunday, August 22, 2010



Theologically, according to Christian tradition, redemption is a state of being in which the merits of Christ are applied to our sin and we become free as children of God.

I believe that...  but I also believe that redemption is wider than just this strict understanding of Christian theology. 

Redemption, an act of God's grace, can be seen in so many areas in our life.  I think particularly of my relationship with my ex-wife.  We started out in such a naive state with regard to our psychological and emotional handicaps.  I grew up with an abusive father and enabling mother (maybe THAT'S why I'm such a damn good nurse!).  Ilene grew up with a volatile father and a mother traumatized by her life situation.  We endured, worked at, occasionally enjoyed, doubted, felt hope, felt despair, were childish, showed great maturity, agonized, were playful, had moments of great sorrow, moments of great joy, felt the creation of our children within us, were angry, were exasperated, were depressed...

The scars were too great to allow us to live together in a marital relationship... yet God's grace brought redemption through counselling and a rebirth of our appreciation for each other as family.  Yes, Ilene and I are divorced... but we are still family and will always be that.

Redemption, an act of God's grace, can be seen in the acts of mercy that the nurses and therapists perform every day in the hospital where I work.  No, the practitioners are not perfect.  Some of them are decidedly imperfect.  Yet everyday they perform miracles with their patients, taking broken and damaged bodies, gradually working them into the highest state of functioning that is attainable.  In doing that, they become family, sharing in the freedom of God's children.

Redemption, an act of God's grace, can be seen in my band, a group of 8 people who try to employ what talents they have in serving our God.  We are liberal, Catholic, Methodist, Church of Christ, semi-conservative, Mennonite, barely believing, totally committed.  Every time we play for Breaking Bread, a block party, Episcopal Disaster Relief, or Crop Walk, we become part of a larger family of God's children, sharing in the freedom of God's children.  We help in the redemption of broken lives and situations.

Redemption, an act of God's grace, can be seen in a dish, licked clean by a ravenous dog...

OK, I've stepped over the line, there.

I blew it two posts ago.  I took a very expensive piece of meat and ruined it by not paying attention to details.  It probably, no, it WAS, the single worst thing I have ever cooked in my life.

Yet, there is redemption...

What you see above is a perfectly done beef brisket.  See how it shreds?  It is moist, fully smoked, and ready to be covered in BBQ sauce, thrown on a bun and eaten.

Here is the BBQ sauce recipe I use for smoked meats:
Recipe by Michael Chiarello (with adaptations by me.)

4 tablespoons Extra virgin Olive Oil
4 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce (Kikkoman)
2 tablespoons Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Chipotle pepper powder
2 cups ketchup
2 cups honey
Sea Salt
1/2 cup espresso or very strong coffee
Freshly ground pepper

1.  In a saute pannover medium high heat add the garlic and olive oil and cook for one minute.
2.  Add cider vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, and honey and stir well.
3.  Whisk in coffee and add salt and pepper to taste and bring to initial boil. stirring constantly.
4.  Put in 275 degree oven for about an hour.

If you like your sauce thicker, you can add a little cornstarch and water.  A thinner sauce works well on shredded meat.  I like a little thicker sauce for coating grilled meats such as chicken and ribs.

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