Coffee Interlude: Cake, Jasmine, and Bourbon

This is what I’m roasting and drinking. Four coffees from Sweet Maria’s, and I really like all of them.

Honduras Ocetepeque El Jutal.

I bought 5lbs from Honduras. I liked what the flavor profile looked like: cinnamon, buttery, walnut, and good all the way into Vienna roast. This one I like to refer to as “Coffee Cake”, though it is subtle. I imagined that the bean would show well and be versatile in the levels of roast, the way it is brewed, and if I happen to infuse it with whiskey (which I did, and haven’t tasted yet). Crowd-pleasing coffee.

Ethiopia and Rwanda

I also wanted to venture out into some African Coffees, and I bought beans from Ethiopia (Ethiopia Shakiso 2lbs) and Rwanda (Rwanda Karongi Gitesi 2lbs) that are nicer in the lighter roasts. Most people I don’t think are used to a good African coffee. They tend to be a bit more acidic (citrusy), and don’t lend themselves as well to darker roasts. At the same time they can be very complex with spicy, fruity, and floral notes. I haven’t been able to get a good test on the Ethiopian that I bought, but it is definitely more tea-like with hints of jasmine coming through, it is sweeter, and if you’re paying attention you might think of cherry cola while you drink. It’s an interesting cup, and I can’t decide how I feel about it.

The Rwanda, I think, is my favorite right now. It starts out a bit caramely, honey, tea, and finishes lemony, but in a muted way–like a custard. The roasted beans even have a less classic coffee smell, it’s way more complex, kind of bready sweet flowers. There is a lot you could imagine with this coffee. But it’s not exactly the classic nutty chocolate flavors most people like.

Donkey Decaf Espresso

Donkey espresso decaf (2lbs). This stuff is what I use for my afternoon latte. It’s made to be roasted a bit darker, and with a decaf bean, it looks darker than it was actually roasted. Even with my mediocre (at best) espresso pulls, this bean gets good crema, and taste very strong: bitter, chocolate, nutty, dying to be mixed with milk. SM recommends mixing it with another bean, but I think it’s pretty great the way it is. It’s the closest thing to rocket fuel I’ve drank in a while, and that’s saying a lot from a decaf.

Booze-infused coffee

Booze-infused coffee. I’ve been experimenting with small batches of booze-infused coffee. I’ll let you in on the 6 step process.

  1. Look in liquor cabinet.
  2. “Oh, this is almost empty.”
  3. Look in coffee cabinet.
  4. “Oh, I’m running out of this bean.”
  5. Mix booze and coffee
  6. Soak and stir for a week (1oz/1lb)
  7. Roast
  8. Morning smells like I’m an alcoholic.

I’ve done rum+guatemala (FAV-think bananas foster), rum+el salvador, scotch+guatemala, bourbon+costa rica, bourbon+guatemala, maple whiskey+costa rica, and maple whiskey+honduras. The next infusion will be 3-5lbs with Knob Creek Maple Bourbon turned into a nitro cold brew. It’s a serious experiment.  

I’m already picking out my next beans. I’m still a little shy of the Indonesian region, but I’ll work my way there. I’ll probably pick out a 5lb bag of central/south and 5lb from Africa. Every time Sweet Maria’s sends out their newsletter with the list of new beans, I’m tempted, but I have to get through what I have.

Buy some.

If you’re in Tampa 8oz coffee + dozen eggs $10. Everyone else $8 plus shipping. Venmo (@Paige-Cargioli) or Facebook is great for orders and/or payment. First come first serve. 

If I Were God… on making humans, free will, the afterlife, sin, evil, and punishment.

In my prayer the other day, I decided to play the game “If I were God.” A popular “If I were God” thought, is about the idea of hell. Because, if I were God, I don’t think any short life of evil deserves eternal conscious punishment. Yes, I know, I am not God. I cannot understand these weird God things, but allow a little room for some human brain gymnastics. After all, the Truth can handle it, and if I were God, I’d give humans brains so that they can use them.

If I were God making humans, my first idea would be for everything to be good! I think I’m on the right track here, but what does that mean? I would want life to be great! No sadness, or suffering, everyone is living in the present moment, everyone makes the right choices, and we all love each other, and get along, and we don’t worry about death or dying or do anything terrible to each other, and there is really no other option.
Eeek. Paige God, what about that whole “free will” thing? Sound like you’re losing it in this perfect world of snuggly nice humans without a worry in the world. These humans sound like spoiled well-loved puppies. They do right, they stay in the present, they give love, receive love, and that’s about it. Deep and meaningful conversations might be challenging.
If I was God, I don’t think I would actually like a world where my closest companions were only dogs. I think I would like someone I could talk to, I could experience with–someone who gets me and I get them… That may come with some drawbacks. If humans can think like God, like me, like they are in the image of me, God, we got some tough stuff to deal with.
Do I even want this universe? Yes. I def do. But these conscious beings, how are they going to work without killing themselves? They probably will. Is it worth it? I mean, I’m God, so I can do what I want. They might destroy themselves, but they might also do great things, and I could get along with them and help them, and they could talk with me, and I could talk with them, and ultimately in the end, we’d all be one. Right? I’m God. I can make that happen.
So, I’m going to give these beings that are like me a short life, so that they don’t have to endure the torture of universal questions they’ll never really understand for eternity. But I will give them hopes and dreams and talents and abilities, and they’ll all fit together so perfectly, even if they don’t really get that either. And they can go after their dreams with reckless abandon because this life is all they have before I consume them.

NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM

See, that was fun. But really, it kind of made me realize how much I think of life as going after some reward or expecting some sort of punishment. It’s more difficult to get out of this kind of thinking than I think we realize. And, if I were God, I wouldn’t want the end of everything to just be a giant reward or punishment like The Good Place.
I was asked a long time ago, “What would you do if there was no reward or punishment?” Or phrased a more true way, “What would you do, if your only reward or punishment was in the present time (not eternal)?” There are always reward for doing good things, and there are consequences for doing selfish things.
This is Paige trying to figure out “WHY EVIL!?” I will end with two ideas that I’m still sitting with regarding all of this…
  1. “We are not punished for our sins, so much as we are punished by our sins.” Like I said, there are consequences for what we do, and we might think that those consequences only affect ourselves or whoever (like if you punch someone). We don’t think of our personal sin as affecting others that we love, like our children or friends. So, choosing not to do something bad/selfish, is less about our own reward, and more about loving and protecting others from our insanity. Or something like this.
  2. “If we could somehow understand the gift we’ve been given, and be genuinely grateful, how could we possibly sin?” How could we be entitled and do anything selfishly in gratitude? And maybe that is what the all-consuming God, in the end, does–makes us capable of all-consuming gratitude, where the option of evil is like an old well-rehabed addiction.

I don’t know. I’m not God…

Further reflection on my protestant catholicism.

I was reflecting on a post I wrote about the Incarnation and being both Protestant and Catholic and how that it is like the Incarnation…

The Incarnation is about God being a paradox, because God cannot be both God and human. If God can’t do something, then how is God, God? Theoretically, I cannot be both Protestant and Catholic. I can’t preach at CoC in the morning and take Eucharist at night. But I am, and they are both Christian. How can I be a Christian and not be both? They are both my community: a part of what makes me who I am.

That was 3 years ago, and I don’t feel all that different presently. I’m not entirely sure when I decided to pause on the Church of Christ. Well, I didn’t decide. I didn’t have any goals, it wasn’t really well thought out, I was seeking. My inconsistency in attending a CoC began in my senior year of college, though I have always attended some church or multiple churches at a time. It was in this year that I was doing RCIA and preaching that I committed to attending a CoC. And since, I still haven’t.

What’s interesting to my mind now is that even without the attendance, I still feel connected to the CoC community. I know who the people are. Many know who I am or who my family is. Even where I live now, there are a few CoC’s I know I could walk in to and I’d find a family connection–some okay some not so okay. There is even a CoC within walking distance of my house right now, and I am reasonably sure that women preachers are not something that they want.

I think something that Protestants don’t realize about the Catholic church is how different each church is. The pastor of the church, the architecture, music, demographics, country, state, all make for a totally different feel. There are at least 5 Catholic churches within 5 miles of my house, and they are all very different. There is a historically black (Haitian Creole) Catholic church very close to another downtown church. There are the rich and well educated towards the airport and stadiums and in the south, the Koreans out east, and the Latinx in the west. Then further out into the suburbs you usually have a mega Catholic church, and then the smaller more rural conservative sister nearby (if mega isn’t your cup of tea). Don’t even get me started on how the Catholic schools are made up and influence the parishes.

What’s cool is that they are all still Catholic, they don’t bad mouth each other, and they help each other out. Incarnation. Trinity. Different and the same. Two and three but one. Human and Divine.

I still don’t know how my very Protestant roots will influence my present and future as a confirmed Catholic. Or Perhaps, I simply haven’t found the words to rightly describe the influence or how I want to make use of it.

[Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.]

Receiving Eucharist and Catholic

I went to Mass on Sunday, and I receive.

I’m referring back to my post on stealing Jesus in Mass. I remember that while I was in RCIA and more seriously considering confirmation, for the most part, I didn’t receive. And even earlier before that, I wrote about how I didn’t receive in Ireland since I was the only Protestant living with a bunch of Catholic priests.

I am the only one not receiving at these Masses, and I am quite the obedient “non-Catholic.”

Just Be God’s: A Call to Continuing Conversion is a series of blog posts. You might want to start reading it from the beginning: Here.

I’m still not entirely sure what my rationale was for all of this. Being of evangelical/pentecostaly background, I would guess my “feelings”. Admittedly and shamelessly, I still base my decisions on these, more or less, educated feelings.

Even though I’m now cleared to take Catholic communion, I feel more guilty and have so much less understanding. I have these conversations in my head, “You’re supposed to receive after confession… I should go to confession more. No one goes to confession. Augustine just thought going to mass was enough to receive…” And so on. Do I do this because I think that’s what I’m supposed to do as a Catholic? Am I empathizing with everyone? Sucking up some similar energy? Is there actually some merit in these thoughts and questions? I don’t know.

Did I expected to somehow feel more worthy or special or with some secret knowledge? Well, if I did, I do not. I feel grace-filled, unified, and consumed by mystery. Still.

Separation of Life and Ministry

I was reading through my first post for “Just Be God’s” and it was a different time to be sure. My social life and work life were not at all related to “serving” or “ministry”, and I had the time and energy to really commit to church as a hobby. It was/is the best way I know how to care for and be cared for by others. What I needed at the time.

Then there is this other world, the serving and caring for others world. This world where you work your booty off as a teacher or minister or counselor or chaplain, and get paid to think about religion and spiritual things and help people. This world where you hear true, intense, and terrible stories that you wish weren’t a part of the human condition. Where there is little to no separation between home and work. For some, this may sound awesome. It is.

But is it?

When I wrote about asking God for a sign, and committing to going to church and seeking spiritual things, I had a special space for it. I made special space for it. It wasn’t my everything, but it was for everything. When religion and spirituality become everything, it’s like I need to find a special space where it isn’t or where it’s different. I have to create space to grow for myself, where I do not have to support others or hold their spiritual space.

Is this wrong? Or is this right?

I’ve been reading a book called “Proverbs of Ashes” and it’s blowing my mind. It takes a lot of simple Christian ideas that a lot of people live by, and says, “That might not be the healthiest thing to teach people (especially the marginalized, abused, and women).”

Sure, to make meaning of suffering (once removed), as a closeness to Christ or as a way to help others or as a learning experience, is nice, but is that what God wants for us? If you wouldn’t tell that to a person during their suffering, why would that work after the suffering?

In a very trivial sense, there may be people dying in their ministries because they believe, and have been taught, this is what God wants. God wants suffering? Exhaustion? Workaholics? God wants us to lie to ourselves and say we love it? Rejoice in our suffering?

Or does God desire that you have the space to love and serve and be loved and served? I hope for the latter God.

 

Create more. Consume less.

I woke up early this morning. The dog spinning in circles, jumping at my face. She demanded I take her out before coffee. Which I did. A short stroll around the apartment complex she happily relieved herself. I mused about what I might do today, feeling like there was a lot but not really. A long list of things that take little time: clean the bathroom, vacuum, return some emails, and so on. But what do I do? Back up to the third floor. I make my coffee and oatmeal, and them binge watch Netflix. Househunters my drug. I make excuses about it like, “Well, we are planning on buying a house.” Like somehow this is a part of my research. After a few episodes, I think, I should listen to that book on dogs, only a few more hours and I’ll finish. Continue reading “Create more. Consume less.”

Women in Preaching Podcast

I started podcasting this week. Here is my first sermon.
Don’t ever procrastinate making a podcast. It should be up in iTunes next week (fingers crossed!) Until then, and while we are patiently waiting for iThings to do their magic, you can have a listen right here.

That being said, here is Episode 1! Yay! Next week is Katherine Balmforth. Enjoy!

The lectionary readings can be found at that Vanderbilt website here.

Here is the transcript:

Continue reading “Women in Preaching Podcast”