nonebusiness

#PTSD

After my first Tweet using the hashtag #PTSD, a PTSD & CPTSD support site followed me on Twitter and so I followed it. (The quote comes from a tweet from that site.) I have learned that there are many more out there who are experiencing the same kind of pain as I am as a result of the same kind of abuse by narcissists and sociopaths as well as other violent and traumatic situations. I have known for over a year that something had snapped; that I was somehow different or damaged. It wasn’t until I was at the Orthodox Peace Fellowship Conference, last Fall that I could put a name to it. There were a number of military people there, and a major focus of the conference was addressing PTSD. An Orthodox Christian psychiatrist, who is also a four star general, gave a definition of PTSD by listing the symptoms. I had an “O shit” moment. He had listed several possible markers, saying that one didn’t have to have all of them, but a preponderance of them would indicate that one had PTSD. Well, I had all but one.

I have never been in the military, so it came as a surprise to me. However, I have had my life threatened on several occasions. I have been bullied and lied to and manipulated by narcissistic, if not sociopathic, clergy on many occasions. This is a pattern repeated over and over by those suffering Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Another note, though is that the 4-star general is trying to get the label changed so that it is not called a disorder. This is in line with all of the scientific literature in the field, as well. What happened with me and with all the others and with all of the soldiers who were programmed to kill is not a disorder, but a natural response and survival mechanism, without which we would not survive with our psyches intact in the battlefields we face. In the case of the soldier, it is combat. and he needs to be reconditioned and deprogrammed for his new environment. In cases like mine, I cannot go near sociopaths or narcissists until  or unless I am ready to boldly not accept their authority or judgment, whatsoever. This is a sticky wicket when there is ecclesiastical authority involved. But I have been told by an arch-priest who is also a therapist to stand up to bullies.

nonebusiness

This is where the graphic and caption come in. In the summer of 2012, when I was in the hospital with strokes caused by complex migraines, I had very strange auras with migraines. One time, I had what I call “Picasso vision”. This does not fully capture it, but almost. Every face I saw was terribly disfigured. It was so convincing that I believed it was real. It was happening in my brain, not my eyes.  One’s default setting is to trust one’s brain. One nurse’s aide’s face was so horrible, I thought, ‘How can she live with that?’ I know. I’m a terrible person. Then I went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror. My own face was equally grotesque. I thought, this disease has sure taken its toll! The only one who looked normal was my beautiful wife. I saw her through the eyes of love. Now, much of the way we perceive ourselves is taken from our read of how others perceive us. This works out OK if one has an unwounded psyche and is not exposed to narcissists or sociopaths. If one is, an extra wall of defense needs to go up and some reminding needs to be done, hence the caption: “What other people think of me, is none of my business.” The reverse of that, of course, is, “You can keep your opinion to yourself!” It’s to develop a bit of a thicker shell for those whose trust and loyalty has been betrayed.

For the mean time, there are places I may not go and people I do not want to see. I will never respect or trust those people after the level of lies and abuse they have heaped upon me. I do hope to be able to be in the same room without being in danger of a migraine causing stroke as I am now.

“Why I Am an Atheist Who Believes in God” – a book review

whycoverWhen I read this title, my first thought was that people are going to think this is a kitchy attempt to evangelize atheists or to teach people how to evangelize atheists. However, I had the opportunity to spend a weekend at a conference with the author, Frank Schaeffer, last fall, and I know that he is the kind of man who comes at you straight on,  full frontal, with no guile, with his understanding of the world or politics or life, not like a breath of fresh air, but like an ocean breeze that just blows the blinds open and clears out all the cobwebs! I read this book in two sittings. It is that wonderful. I did have to come up to take a look around and check in with my family, once.

This book is not about the debate between theists and atheists and it is all about the debate between theists and atheists. Frank takes us to a different space in that debate, however. He reveals why this is so emotional for so many; why it is so “hot button.” It is really a debate within each of us. What Frank is doing in this deeply personal book of self-examination is calling us to stop shouting at each other long enough about what we claim to believe, whether that be Christianity, Judaism, Islam, atheism, Buddhism, Hinduism, or whatever, to listen to our own doubts and insecurities; then look honestly at the inconsistencies in our own systems of belief.  All of the world’s religions have changed over the centuries, and evolved. Just read the words of Jesus to see how radically he changed the Israelites’ religion. Paul tried to walk back some of Jesus’ more revolutionary ideas by silencing women in the church after Jesus encouraged them to speak. So we are whatever religion we are, or are not, mostly by accident of birth. Let’s be humble about that. If we read the words of Jesus, we are not supposed to judge, so let us not put other people in hell, not even for a little bit. Sometimes atheists make the best Christians. Sometimes Christians don’t know where God is. “My God! My God! Why has thou forsaken me?” “Lord I believe. Help thou my unbelief.”

The words “objective reality” are just a metaphor for something I’ll never encounter. …

Anyway, since no one is ever just one thing, who are we planning for? Which “me” should be running the show? We’re all in the closet, so to speak. We barely come out to ourselves and never completely to others. I’ve never met an unequivocal atheist or religious believer. I’ve only met people of two, three or four or more minds—people just like me. Atheists sometimes pray and eloquent preachers secretly harbor doubts. The evangelist Billy Graham preached certain salvation and heaven guaranteed yet privately told my dad, a friend and fellow evangelist, that he feared death and had many doubts.

We’re all of at least two minds. We play a role and define that role as “me” because labels and membership in a tribe make the world feel a little safer. When I was raising my children, I pretended to be grown-up Daddy. But alone with my thoughts, I was still just me. I’m older now, and some younger people may think I know something. I do! I know how much I can never know.

Muslim, Jew, Hindu or Christian, you are that because of where and when you were born. If you are an atheist, you are that because of a book or two you read, or who your parents were and the century in which you were born. Don’t delude yourself: there are no good reasons for anything, just circumstances. Don’t delude yourself: you may describe yourself to others by claiming a label of “atheist,” “Jew,” “evangelical,” “gay” or “straight” but you know that you are really lots more complicated than that, a gene-driven primate and something more. Want to be sure you have THE TRUTH about yourself and want to be consistent to that truth? Then prepare to go mad. Or prepare to turn off your brain and cling to some form or other of fundamentalism, be that religious or secular. You will always be more than one person. You will always embody contradiction. You—like some sort of quantum mechanics physics experiment—will always be in two places at once.

It came home to me personally on a number of levels. I have always loved church. I have been ordained four or five times in five or six churches. (The disparity is due to whether you accept my infant ordination at my baptism in the Episcopal Church. The bishop gave me the laying on of hands of Peter. No one knows why.) I currently cannot attend. I suffer PTSD from being bullied and having my life threatened by clergy. I have also discovered that I have a developmental defect in my brain, and subsequent strokes in my right parietal lobe. Limited blood flow and damage to that part of the brain tends to make the ‘victim’ more religious. So the fact that there is such a defect effect could be considered evidence for the existence of God as this is all part of the design; or it could be an explanation for my quixotic quest to find the church that would not betray me, all my life. Christian me believes one. Atheist me  believes the other. Simultaneously.

The one thing I know for sure is that I need to serve the poor in Jesus’ Name. I don’t care who joins me as long as they are not there to save anybody but themselves.

Thank you, brother Frank, for letting me know I am not alone in this insanity we call human life. Let us dare to “create beauty, give love and find peace!”

God, whoever he, she or it may or may not be, bless you, Frank and Genie Schaeffer!

Peace,
Cranford Joseph Coulter

 

cocoa-powder

Quinoa Cocoa Cinnamon Avocado Mango

That’s about all you need to remember for this dish I created tonight. It was delicious, nutritious, gluten-free, no added sugar, and has chocolate.

cocoa-powderIngredients:

  • 3 cups organic quinoa
  • vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 6-1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 Hass avocados
  • 4 Ataulfo mangos

In a large sauce pan, toast the quinoa in a thin layer of oil to bring out the flavor. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Add the water, cocoa & cinnamon, and bring to a boil. Pit & peel the avocados and dice into the pan. If they are ripe enough, wisk them into the slurry. Peel & dice the mangos & add them. Boil for about 6 minutes, then cover. Remove from heat and let sit for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer it to a suitable bowl or casserole dish for serving  and cover and put it into the refrigerator to chill.

It is mildly sweet and goes well with salad and/or soup.

Ku méejtech uutsil!

Pork Avocado Soup

HaxeNewIf you follow my recipes, you know I like pork and you know I like avocados. I put them together in my first time making pork soup. Pork tends to be really affordable. We got a great deal on a shank roast. We had it for dinner. There was plenty left over, and a good size bone with a joint. I stripped the meat off of the bone and stewed it with a Spanish onion, cut in half, for half a day, in about 5 quarts of water with about a Tablespoon of turmeric, in a 10 quart sauce pan. I discarded the onion and the bone, and refrigerated the broth overnight.

Ingredients:

  • Broth in 10 quart sauce pan
  • 6 carrots sliced thin
  • 1 leek diced, including green leaves
  • 8 or 9 radishes quartered
  • large handful of fresh kale, chopped
  • ~ 8 sun dried tomatoes, diced
  • 4 ounces pea shoots, chopped
  • 2 large Hass avocados peeled & diced
  • ~ 1/2″ fresh ginger grated
  • 15 twists medium grind black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon ground sage
  • ~ 1 pound pork diced small, including fat portions
  • water to almost fill pot

Basically, heat up the broth and start chopping and adding the ingredients in order and stew. It makes a great soup! It’s healthy , too, for an Atkins diet.

A real live hero

johninhatMy friend and neighbor, John Haggerty, has saved a few lives in his various roles of hockey coach and supervisor and woodshop manager. Sometimes it is by good instruction in safe practices. Occasionally, it has been far more dramatic. Once, it made the Philadelphia papers. I didn’t know that at the time. John told me about the incident, but didn’t show me any clippings. One of the team members got  his jugular sliced by a skate blade. John was right on it. He pinched the wound closed and kept pressure on it all the way to the operating room. What the newspaper article didn’t mention was that John had his skates on the whole time. So he was putting constant pressure on this boy’s neck while they were taking him out of the ambulance and wheeling him all the way into the OR, with his skates on.

If he had not thought so quickly, and been so steady on his skates, that boy would have lost his life by bleeding to death. Here is the article. Now John needs our help to rescue his house. You can make a donation at the GoFundMe site or by making a Paypal gift directly gift directly to him at oddcoach@aol.com or mailing John a check to John Haggerty, 107 E. Chestnut St., Souderton, PA 18964

We need to raise $67,000 by April 30 to cure the foreclosure. God bless you.

“I Like Ike” Pork Tenderloin

Dwight Eisenhower, Mamie EisenhowerWhen President Dwight David Eisenhower was running for re-election in 1956, he came to Minnesota. My parents were GOP state committee persons. At the parade that was held to welcome Ike, I was presented to him. He kissed me and held me high in the air! Of course, I was just a little more than a year old at the time. I still have the rhinestone IKE brooch my mom was wearing for the occasion. My mom had a hand signed, black and white photograph of Ike and Mamie Eisenhower sitting in the rose garden of the Whitehouse, in a brass frame, sitting on her dresser next to her bed for four decades, until she passed away. I have several “I Like Ike” buttons, even one in Norwegian. I did say I’m from Minnesota after all. Ike dreamed big. More importantly, he led a nation who was tired of war to dream big, and to work together for some things that were bigger than themselves.

Ike had seen Hitler’s Autobahn and envisioned the Interstate Highway system to knit our country together as one nation as it had never been before. He witnessed the scourge of polio and mobilized free, universal immunizations for every child in America to wipe out this crippling disease. He wanted to go further and have universal healthcare for children. Schools and universities were built and a generation of veterans and their children were educated, thanks to a progressive income tax and a high corporate income tax. The middle class was established and the war debt was paid off. It seems we have now lost that spirit of bold cooperation for anything other than endless warfare. Ike warned us about that as well when he told us to beware of the military industrial complex. Well, I have gone on long enough. What does this have to do with a recipe?

I got to thinking what to call this and it hit me that this would have been impossible without Ike’s input and vision. It would have been impossible when I was a child. I was able to go to the grocery store and buy all of these ingredients for reasonable prices thanks to Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway system. So here goes.

Ingredients:

  • ~ 1/4 cup lard
  • ~ 2 pound pork tenderloin
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • ~ 1 cubic inch ginger root, peeled & finely chopped or grated
  • 1 papaya, peeled, seeds removed & cut into bite sized chunks
  • 3 Hass avocados, pitted, peeled & cut up
  • 2 kiwis, peeled & diced
  • ~ 1 Tablespoon ground mustard
  • ~ 1 Tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 5 ounces Gorgonzola cheese
  • 6 ounces fresh, baby spinach (1 Dole salad bag)

Slice the tenderloin into 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick medallions. rub it down with the turmeric and the mustard. Heat up the lard in a large skillet, preferably cast iron. I used our 13″ one. It was full by the time I was done. You are going to need sides. Start cooking the pork the onion and the ginger root in the lard. Let it cook for a bit, turning frequently. You don’t want to carmelize the meat. You want it tender, not crunchy. As you prep the fruits, add them to the skillet. Stir the mixture, so nothing burns. The only thing that should have carmelized would be the onions. You can put a lid on it to help hold the moisture and the heat in to help cook the meat and reduce the heat to medium. Slice the meat open to test for doneness. If it is about done, crumble the Gorgonzola on top of the mixture and cover for a few minutes, reducing the flame to low. Rip up the spinach and pile it on top. Replace the cover. Turn off the stove. Just let the steam and heat from the cast iron pan and the other ingredients cook the spinach. Serve.

It makes six servings. It took about half an hour to make. It is a one pan meal. It is super interesting! It has so many different flavor notes and textures. It is the rare recipe in which I did not use garlic or pepper. The ginger provided enough heat. I preferred it in little chunks rather than grated so it would surprise the tongue now and again. The kiwi are an element of whimsy. Each serving may get just a tiny bit of it. It wakes up the palate with a bit of tartness. The cheese melts in with the fruit and meat juices to form this uniquely luscious sauce. When I was all done, I wanted to pick up my plate and lick it to get the last gooey drop of it.

Bethann and Hilary told me I could definitely make that again. It is gluten free, low carb, and includes two super foods.

Cranford Cleans Up Nicely

Apologies to those of you who are starting the fast today. We cannot fast due to health limitations. I have to avoid drastic changes in diet in order to prevent migraines that cause strokes. I also need to avoid grains and gluten and limit carb intake.  This recipe happened this evening, since Bethann was busy finishing a peppermint swirl dress, and could not break away to cook. I used ingredients I found in the refrigerator, cleaning up odds and ends. Bethann had started to thaw about a pound of 80% lean ground beef. It was still pretty frozen when I put it in the cast iron skillet. That worked pretty well. It allowed enough time for me to cut the other ingredients and for them to cook, without overcooking the beef.

Ingredients:

  • ~ 1 pound 80% lean ground beef
  • 1 small, sweet onion, finely diced
  • 1 Gala or other sweet apple, peeled & diced
  • ~ 10 radishes, finely diced
  • 4 portabella mushrooms, diced
  • a handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • a generous pinch of ground ginger
  • a generous pinch of ground mustard
  • a generous pinch of ground turmeric
  • 5 twists of black pepper
  • ~ 3 ounces of feta cheese

Start to fry the ground beef in a large cast iron skillet. Flip it and scrape it as needed to break it up and continue thawing it and cooking it, while slicing the other ingredients. As the ingredients are cut up, add them to the skillet. Add the spices. Keep turning and mixing the ingredients. When all of the vegetables are tender and the beef is cooked, crumble the cheese on top of the mixture and cover until melted. Serve.

It was delicious!

 

GLAM Hash

We were given a large chunk of leftover gyro lamb meat from a church festival.  You know what they say, “When life gives you gyro lamb meat,  make Gyro Lamb Avocado Mango Hash!” What, you have never heard them say that? That’s because they have not tried mine.

Ingredients:

  • ~ 2 pounds Gyro Lamb meat
  • 1/2 Fennel split lengthwise, diced, including fronds
  • ~ a cup of sweet pepper pieces, red & yellow
  • 3 cloves Garlic, pressed
  • bunch of fresh Cilantro chopped
  • 3 Mangoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 Hass Avocados or 2 Florida Avocado, pitted, peeled & cubed
  • 20 twists of Black Pepper
  • ~ 4 ounces of Feta Cheese

Directions:

Use a large skillet. Slice the lamb, then break it into bite sized pieces. Throw the Lamb and the Fennel into the hot skillet and brown. Stir and flip while cooking.  Add the the Peppers and Garlic next. Then add the Cilantro, the Mangoes & the Avocados. Stir in and continue to cook until everything is soft and juicy. Twist the Pepper. Break up the cheese on top. Cover for a minute or two to help the cheese melt a bit and serve.

Serves 6.

I know it sounds a little unusual. I made it for my family. They loved it. They took the leftovers in their lunches and asked for it again!

Puf da buna!

Oatmeal Scotchies

This is the recipe from the back of the Nestle’ bag. I’m doing this so we don’t have to go out and buy another bag of chips and use a magnifying glass every time we want to make them.

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2/34 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract or grated peel of 1 orange
  • 3 cups quick or old fashioned oats
  • 1-2/3 cups (11 oz. package) butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl. Stir in oats and chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 7 to 8 minutes for chewy cookies or 9 to 10 minutes for crisp cookies. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Pan Cookie Variation: Grease 15 x 10 inch jelly roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until light  brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 4 dozen bars.

 

Tithing: 10% of what?

comic_greekfortitheIn recent years there has been a lot of talk in different circles relating to the tithe principle of the Mosaic Law. People think that a flat tax sounds fair.  Those who earn more would pay more. Those who earn less would pay less. This seems to make perfect sense on the surface, but when we examine the reality in the light of Scripture, it is not so simple.

Many evangelical churches and cults teach that one should give 10% of one’s income to the church. The Mormons require members to file an income tithe return to the church. Among evangelicals there is always the discussion of whether this tithe is to be on net or gross income. The practice of ‘tithing’ has now spilled over into the Antiochian Orthodox Church as Metropolitan PHILIP introduced it as a prescription for stewardship. Many people have rebelled against it, saying that it is not biblical, since it is from the Old Testament and we are not under the Law. Apparently, they have carried over their dispensationalism with them into Orthodoxy.

The tithe pre-dated the law of Moses. Moses only codified it for the Israelites and for our example. However they would be correct to say that a tithe on income is not biblical. It is, in fact, found nowhere in either testament. The concepts of measuring annual income and of income tax are quite modern, and thus, of necessity, measuring and giving a percentage of income must be modern as well. To be fair to Metropoiltan PHILIP, he was just trying to get Orthodox Christians to support the Church, on a level on par with how the “schismatics” support theirs. He was actually going easy on most members relative to what the New Testament standard for giving truly is. Dues paying is hardly New Testament, after all.

This is where things get exciting. For years, demagogues have been citing the Bible to support a flat tax, claiming that it would be fair, all the while knowing that it would favor their rich supporters, while shifting more of the tax burden onto the middle class and working poor. They got many people to support the concept, because it sounded fair and it sounded simple, and it resonated with what they ignorantly claimed the Scripture taught. The tithes of Moses (yes, there were three!) were on property, not on income. Furthermore, they were not the only taxes. No, they were not voluntary.

It always sounds fair and simple that everyone just pays 10%. What is interesting is that churches that teach “tithing” only receive on average about 2% of their members’ average income in offerings. That percentage is lower the wealthier the members are; a bit higher, the poorer the members are. People who have more money tend to hold onto it more tightly. The New Testament pattern for giving and that taught by the Church Fathers, most notably and most eloquently, St. John Chrysostom, is not tithing, but rather jubilary giving. It is not based on what one starts out with, but on what remains once one has given. What is right to give is determined by what is left. The goals are to further the Kingdom, to live in the Kingdom, to recognize that we own nothing, to use everything as stewards to further the will of God and His Kingdom, knowing that his mercies are new every morning. The Mennonites, Brethren, Amish, and Brethren in Christ used to all teach jubilary giving. When they did, their average giving compared to their members’ income was over 5%. This is still not great, but more than double the “tithing” churches.

I said that the Mosaic tithes were on property, not on income. This is an extremely important detail. This makes them much higher taxes. Every year, a tenth of the crops was to be paid to the Levites. Do not be distracted by the language in some translations that say the “increase” of the wheat, etc. to think that that means the net increase. It does not. It just means the yield of the land. There were no deductions for hired labor, for purchases of tools, for land rental, feed for draft animals, tool repair, work clothes, medical expenses, legal expenses, etc. It doesn’t even matter if there was a drought and one harvested less than one planted. 10% went to the Levites. That was not all. Actually before the harvest was taken, the first measure of grain was harvested and presented to the Lord as a wave offering. The harvest was also not done in such a way as to squeeze every last bushel of grain or fruit out of the field. It was an abomination before the Lord to harvest the corners of one’s field and not leave them for the poor to glean. It would result in being ejected from the congregation, in other words, losing one’s citizenship and inheritance and land.

When it came to the animals, they were all put in the corral and driven through a cattle shoot under the Levites’ rod. Every tenth one went to the Levites. This is interesting. It is by nature not regressive. It is not going to take a man’s lone cow. The tax only starts on a minimum herd of ten. Again, it matters not if the herd has increased or decreased during the year, or what the rancher or dairy farmer paid for feed; or how much he may have had to pay his hired help or what it cost to feed, house and clothe his slaves. One in ten went to the Levites, randomly. If he wants to redeem his prize bull from the offering, he must give an equivalent plus 20% as a substitute. This is all spelled out in Leviticus 27.

It is very interesting that there are going to be many who will read this and start screaming about ‘how is this relevant to a modern society’ and ‘do you want to drag us back to the stone age’ before giving up their concept of a flat tax that they claim to be just, because they think they took it from the Law of Moses or it resonates in peoples minds that it is from the Mosaic Law. You can’t have it both ways. Just because it is 10% or just because it is a flat tax, doesn’t mean it is fair. It all depends on what you are taxing to begin with.

Who decided that what happened last year is the only thing that is important? You could have a very good year and get nailed with high income tax, even though you had several years before where you had terrible years of losses and expenses. By the same token, you could have loads of money and no income at all last year, millions of dollars of assets. Is it right that you should be afforded all the privileges of protection and citizenship and community without paying your fair share? No. Not according to the Law of Moses, which was the only  model handed down to us by inspiration of God for a pattern for human government. The model we are given in the Mosaic Law for taxation is not an income tax at all, but a tax on actual property, so that everyone who has means bears their fair share.