Calvin! I know he’s not Barth…but he’s not bad

14 Jul

This week I had the awesome opportunity to sit in on lectures given by some incredible theologians on the Gospel of John and Calvin. I know you all wanted to be there really bad so here is a quick summary of what was presented….also I would love to relive it if anyone wants to talk about any of this sometime, especially election… I have also been reading Karl Barth on election in the second volume of Church Dogmatics…can’t get enough of it!

A few notes:

First: Just because I mentioned Calvin does not mean you should think of TULIP…that is hyper-Calvin. Not Calvin.

Second: Grace- As opposed to the Nominalists of his day who believed that God helps those who help themselves, Calvin said this isn’t grace because grace is free. Neither is grace a perfecting of nature, like Roman Catholic theology would say, but a new nature according to Calvin. Grace comes to us when we are at our lowest, when we deserve it the least. He presents the idea of only the be-graced will as being free, as that which establishes freedom. And we have been begraced :)

On the same note, regarding mercy, Calvin says “God deigns to embrace the sinner with his pure and freely given goodness, finding nothing within the sinner except his miserable condition to prompt him to mercy…and so he seeks in himself the reason to benefit man.” He also says, “When a man is laid low by the consciousness of sin and stricken by fear of God, and afterwards looks to the goodness of God- his mercy, grace, salvation, which is through Christ- he raises himself up, he takes heart, he recovers courage, and, as it were, returns from death to life.”

Third: How to view Predestination for Calvin- 1. Don’t demonstrate inordinate curiosity for Predestination, 2. Predestination as pastoral care as removing weight from people, 3. Nothing can be credited to man without dishonoring God and giving pride to man.

Fourth: Jesus- We aren’t saved by a perfect understanding of the work of Jesus Christ but by his work. Fully man and fully God, there must be these two complete natures after the incarnation without confusion, change, division, or separation in order for God and humanity to be reconciled in Christ for “Only what is assumed is healed!” according to Gregory of Nazianzus. Don’t forget that the Incarnation isn’t God’s “plan b.” He has always been for us. John Calvin says that faith is “A firm and sure knowledge of the divine favor toward us, founded on the truth of a free promise in Christ, and revealed to our minds, and sealed on our hearts, by the Holy Spirit.”

Fifth: Gospel of John- It’s awesome. You should read it. Actually while you’re at it, read the New Testament in the next year. Dr. Brunner suggested using the Lectio Divina and reading one chapter a day which only takes a few minutes. Being that it’s July 14th, that would put you on 1 Corinthians 14- now go! He handed out a list of his favorite verses and so here is mine from John: 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Sixth: Dr. Finch’s 10 Disciplines for Church Theologians: 1. Cultivate self-awareness, 2. Embrace Scripture plus one theologian (cough Karl cough Barth), 3. Brush up on Christian history, 4. Identify your hermeneutical tendencies, 5. Be aware of personal history and theology, 6. Be consciously Christocentric, 7. Be consciously Trinitarian, 8. Come to conclusions, 9. Monitor your lived theology, 10. Last and never least: Pray.


Some great quotes from the week:

“When mediation runs into sin it becomes redemption.” -Karen Peterson-Finch

“To burn people at the stake is not Christ-like behavior.” -Karen Peterson-Finch

“One thing never forbidden to us is laughter” -John Calvin

“Life is short, the world is fragile, all of us are vulnerable, but we are here because it is our calling.” -C.S. Lewis

“It’s really women who should be having a meeting if men should be ordained.” -Dale Brunner

“Jesus doesn’t say, ok I’ll come back and give you the Great Commission when you have your act together” -Dale Brunner

“The 7th commandent: Be especially nice to girls” -Dale Brunner

“If grace were at all related to work or worthiness, it would not be grace at all.” -Karl Barth

Eggplant Success!

13 Jul

So I have the most awkward work schedule ever at the fitness center. 6:30-8:30am, 11-2pm and 4-7pm on M/W/F and then 10-2, 4-7 and teaching dance aerobics 7-8 on Tues/Thurs. I pretty much live at the fitness center. After my morning shifts on M/W/F I run either outside or on the treadmill, run home for a shower and then return. And then I have the awkward 2 hour break from 2-4 every day. I almost always take advantage of this time to either clean or mess up the kitchen. Today I did both.


With my random-fridge-leftovers expedition!!! So as I mentioned earlier we have no dish soap. And our sink looks like this…

Buuuuut I made it look like this! Yippee!


Now on to the food. I decided to pull out a few of the oddball Tupperware in the fridge and some produce that is bound to go bad soon and put it to good use. Look at this little guy!


Hello eggplant! First I needed to cook it. Which I had no idea how to do. I just chopped it up, stabbed the slabs with a fork, coated a pan with spray and popped it in the oven for 30 min. After 30 I flipped the slices and put it back in for another 30. I looked up how long to bake eggplant for and good ole google said 60 min but I have a feeling that was a touch too long in our oven because it got a touch brown. Next time maybe 5-10 min less?


After it cooled a bit I threw a bunch of stuff in one of my best friends,

Meet Bon Qui Qui…

In the mix:

~1 cup cooked eggplant

~1/3 cup black beans

~2 mushrooms

~1 egg white

~3 slabs tofu (1/4 package probably)

~1.5-2ish tablespoons rolled oats

~salt and pepper

~pinch minced garlic

~onion flakes

~1/4 t. cumin

~pinch red pepper flakes

I was inspired by Allie on one of the blogs I read but I was basically just throwing ingredients into Bon Qui Qui, iron chef style. Then I cooked them up in a nonstick skillet about 4 min. each side. It made about 4 medium patties so I left some for my housemates to try. I wonder who will be brave enough…



And then I was late to work and ran out the door leaving this mess behind


The verdict?

Yummy! I really liked this, yay for eggplant success! Next time I think I will make only 2-3 patties and make them a lot thicker because these were fairly thin. I ate these with some sweet potato fries that I made from half of a sweet potato that was just chillin in the pantry all lonely… YAY DINNER!


Oh and because I want to show off our sweet bachelorette pad I will be taking some pics of our work-in-progress house to post on the bloggy blog. For now, a sneak peak of my room. I desperately need to get some pics and posters up on my walls but for now this is where I live…


I should get a spread in pottery barn right?

Wow. Maybe I’m not supposed to blog.

12 Jul

Hi! Erica here. Alright so I just spent the last hour rambling through my first blog entry, I get up to go to the bathroom, come back and it’s gone. I really don’t know how that happened. Like it literally disappeared. Here was its basic contents:
1. The EstroDen needs dishwashing soap. I mess up the kitchen A LOT. And we go through a lot of dishes. Especially silverware (probably cuz I make every person who passes through spoon up some of my latest nut butter creation). Anyway we really need soap so I can wash the dishes that I want to dirty. That makes sense right?
2. I spend way to much money on food. Like seriously too much. It’s true that I eat like a 16-year-old boy but still. Another problem I (and ahem, other members of the household) have is letting food go to waste. SO, I’ve resolved to cut spending and utilize everything in the fridge before buying new stuff!
3. So what’s in the fridge? Well besides an explosion, I found on my shelf leftover black beans, celery, mushrooms, Greek yogurt, an eggplant and marinated tofu that I prepared last week and had every intention of eating on sandwiches and salads but have neglected to do :( I have never prepared eggplant before and do not even know if I’ve eaten it but the little purple guy looked so alluring that I had to get him. (I really can’t be trusted in grocery stores).
4. So what do I do? I’m thinkin tofu-eggplant-black bean veggie burgers? Or black bean and tofu spinach salad with yogurt-based dressing? Whatever it ends up being, I’ll blog about the outcome, good or bad…
So anyway, I hope dish soap shows up at our house some time soon.

Oh and just for fun I thought I’d post of few pics of the ladies of the house. For those of you who don’t know we spent the Jan-April together in Central America through a study program with our university. These are just a few of the hundreds of pics of our journey…

Um sorry guys… I am in ALL of these pics. It’s because they are the pics from my camera and well let’s face it, I’m pretty much a ham anyway and always find myself in front of the camera…

The First Post!

12 Jul

Well…WELCOME TO THE HOUSE! Here are a few things to keep in mind:

First, feel free to come and visit anytime. At least one of us should be home and the chances are in your favor that there will most likely be something in the oven we are willing to share.

Second, entrance into the house requires a hug.

Third, upon first impression you may notice a few feminist posters. If you don’t like them, please tell us why not so that we can have a grown-up discussion about feminism which may or may not end in getting whatever was cooking thrown in your face.

Fourth, before you go downstairs, do not smell the couch. And as you venture downstairs to get away from the heat of the oven always going upstairs, do not comment on the paint job.

Fifth, our array of rooms is to be noticed. Brea’s classy room is most often empty, Erica’s room explains where all the rainbows go after the rainy days in Spokane, Stacey tends to roam the house for a bed, Jen does in fact live in the storage room, and Cat lives in what Erica describes as the dungeon which she is “afraid to enter because there is no light and the cat might eat her.”

Finally, it is advised to end your tour on the couch on the back porch to enjoy the sunset, a glass of wine, and unmatched witty and thought provoking banter.

Hasta pronto, Pura Vida!


p.s. All our thanks and love in the world goes to Sagen “El tierno” Eatwell who so aptly named our awesome house and gave us our first house gift. Come see it in our kitchen!


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