Monday, December 22
I am always looking to expand my horizons, ans the culinary arts are my next endeavor. So enjoy this pie crust recipe I whipped up in my insomnia last night. Bone Appateet. (That's French).
3 cups flour
1 1/3 cups shortening
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg lightly beaten
2 tablespoons vinegar, apple cider or white
4 tablespoons of water, not hot
Mix together dry ingredients, cutting in shortening with a pastry blender until the size of peas. Mix together wet ingredients. Mix wet into dry until just incorporated. Divide into three balls. Can be rolled between plastic wrap sprinkled with a little flour. (Or, for a bottom crust, you can even put a ball of crust into the pie plate and use your fingers to press it into shape.)
Unbaked crust freezes well. Flatten ball(s), wrap individually in plastic, put in Ziploc bag, and freeze. Thaw in refrigerator. Makes 3 crusts.
You may want to look for a pie filling recipe to complete the pie. Or not.
Wednesday, December 3
Over the past Thanksgiving break, I was offered the chance to attend the Lighthouse Youth group at Woodside Bible Church no less than three separate times. Yet, to many people's surprise, I rejected every single offer. How could someone like me turn down something as seemingly great as Lighthouse? Well, I have a simple reason for never setting foot in this popular hangout. I am a Lutheran. Its pretty plain and simple. I believe in Lutheran doctrine and uphold Lutheran values that Lighthouse does not. I have held these beliefs my entire life, and I have no intention of ever changing. I am willing to take a stand for what I believe in, because what I believe is backed up by Scripture. This little concept of mine has started several arguments with people who do not consider themselves associated with the Lutheran church, or any denomination for that matter. They do not want to be “restricted” by denominations and petty church politics. I think its a cop-out. From what I can tell, most of these new found nondenominationals simply don't have the guts or desire to take a stand and possibly offend someone. Why can't we just all be friends and sing kumbya? Who cares about small stuff, like when to baptize someone, or whether The Lord's Supper is a symbol or not? Well, first of all, I can't stand that song, and second, I believe simple Lutheran characteristics such as infant baptism and communion cannot be ignored. These practices are too important for me to turn my back, no matter how “cool” or “relevant” Lighthouse may be. Their reasoning lies outside of the Bible, and focuses on feelings and emotions. The Great Commission at the end of Matthew 28 says that we are to “go and make disciples of all nations baptizing and teaching everything I have commanded you.” Not just a few parts of the Bible that we pick and choose, but we are to teach everything Christ has commanded us. When he says “This is My body”, I believe its Christ's body. If Genesis says the world was created in 6 days, then that's what I believe. End of story. See, I'm not big into picking and choosing or interpretation like so many leaders of the new Christian movement. Yes, I believe if you have faith that Jesus Christ is your savior you will go to heaven, but that doesn't mean my strong Lutheran beliefs have no bearing. I am a die-hard conservative, Reagan politics, pro-nuclear power, confessional Lutheran, college kid. I will not apologize or compromise my beliefs to fit into what is currently popular.
This Lighthouse trend appears to have affected a large number of LHN graduates and current students. This is sad, and fits my belief that Lutheran High School North has become Occasionally Lutheran High School North. Now, Occasionally Lutheran High School North isn't the worst place in the world; Christian values are still preached for the most part throughout the halls every single day. In chapel, students will occasionally get the law and gospel (about one in 5 chapels) if they are fortunate. A few teachers still hold strong to Lutheran doctrine, and some do an excellent job at it. Yet, most Lutheranism has died. In the pressure of the bottom line, the school has slacked off in one of the most important parts of its very existence, Lutheranism. Don't push Lutheran doctrine too hard, or all of the Catholics and other denominations will flee in terror (and their pocketbooks too). I believe the reason many students (including former Lutherans) have turned to nondenominational churches stems directly from the apathy involved with some of the religion department. For example, last year, as seniors, we were not equipped to enter the college world as Lutherans prepared with Lutheran theology, but rather as Christan debaters, ready to attack any fool who dares believe anything but Christianity. If the theme of one of my religion classes is a DC Talk song, then we are in serious trouble. The lack of a Lutheran education was glaring. For two of my four years, there was a non-Lutheran as Christian growth chair on Student Council. Another was elected this year. How many times did we watch universalist Rob Bell's blasphemous Nooma videos in chapel and in class? How many times were Lighthouse and Kensington Church promoted by students and teachers? How many times did we have non-Lutheran teachers? Was a Lutheran source ever used to defend Christianity last year? No. The Bible was rarely used, instead being replaced with an apparently better book for defending your faith, The Case For Christ. As we tried desperately to provide evidence and sources to “prove” Christianity, the power of the Holy Spirit and a little known noun called faith were dismissed as a cop out or a weak argument (Apparently I overestimated the Holy Ghost. Silly me!) And don't even think about using the Bible to defend your faith; you will be devoured alive by all of the brilliant atheists waiting in the shadows of your dorm. Welcome to Occasionally Lutheran High School North. As the child of an English teacher, I understand the dangers of word repetition, but in this case, I will repeat the word “Lutheran” until you are dizzy because, believe it or not, the high school on 24 and Romeo Plank is supposed to be a Lutheran school! (At least that's what the sign says.) Unrelated Note- What was the deal with the”Ask us about our Mormon Ties” sign??? Do I have to investigate something else at OLHN? Hello Mitt Romney? Did Steve Young replace Pastor Ball? Eieie.
So here we are, 5 months after graduating, and many of the students of Lutheran North theology have migrated to nondenominational worship. This sad fact is a direct reflection on the school. The excuse was that we got all of that Lutheran stuff out of the way junior year with Pastor Ball, and now it was time to move onto the “real world” where we will be in constant debate with all kinds of pagans, atheists, Buddhist monks, and rap artists. That is the response I expect. Or something about Lutheranism still being important, but not totally applicable to apologetics. Well, I am 3 months into college, and the only debates I have gotten into over religion were with fellow LHN grads as I defended Lutheran doctrine. If students are willing to so easily give up their longtime Lutheran beliefs within a few months, how much longer will it take to compromise even further? Lutheran doctrine is extremely important to me, but apparently not to some of the LHN staff as shown by their pitiful attempts at chapel. As a Lutheran, I will continue to hold steadfast in the Lutheran beliefs demonstrated by Luther's Small Catechism, no matter how much pressure I receive to leave my scripturally based Lutheran beliefs.
Epilogue- Can I have an epilogue without a prologue? I hope so. Anyway, after that rant, I would like to add a few additional points. First, I do not believe that Christians outside of the Lutheran Church are going to hell. John 3:16 tells us that anyone who believes in Christ will live eternally. I just know that Lutherans have the most scripturally accurate denomination. Second, I do not believe all teachers have failed me and my classmates in teaching proper Lutheran doctrine. Many tried very hard to stick to the Biblical truth, and I greatly appreciate that. Third, I am not exactly sure of the religious culture of the school right at this moment; I am basing many of my arguments on my career from 2004-2008. If things have changed (hahaha, “things”. Its a blog, who cares), please let me know. But I doubt it. And lastly, thanks for reading.
Much platonic love,
Tuesday, December 2
Monday, December 1
It is officially shopping season, and the hottest item of the year is here. Yes, that's right, Kitty Wigs. Here is what the website( says:
"Each Kitty Wig™ comes in an attractive round metal wig case with our fresh new logo on it. Your wig will arrive on a wig form and covered in a hair net to help keep its shape and luster.
The package also includes complete instructions for care, suggestions from professional photographers, and a mouse with rattle to help you direct Kitty's stunned gaze. Every kitty loves the promise of a new toy for model behavior.
Please remember, Kitty Wigs should only be used with human supervision, and introduced slowly. When not in use, the wig should always be stored in its pawproof case. Complete directions and safety warnings are included with every package. Please read them carefully and avoid unnecessary dangers."
Tuesday, November 25
I will be returning to Mt. Clemens for Thanksgiving, so I probably won't update this blog. Happy Thanksgiving, enjoy all the gifts God had blessed given to you. In the mean time, I will be renovating the look of this blog to give it a more professional feel. I guess that means an end to the John Ham posts...
Monday, November 24
Let the deluge begin. The snows have begun in Allendale Michigan. About 2 inches fell in a few hours, and it has continued to snow lightly all day. The trek to class was dangerous, as the numerous black diamond-grade hills on campus were covered in snow. I refused to wear boots, a good choice, considering I would have been the only student to wear them on campus. Multiple snowmen have emerged, including a Calvin and Hobbes-esque collection of miniature snowmen in front of Fresh Foods. However, I am told this blissful honeymoon will come to an abrupt end, as this weather pattern will be repeated everyday until June. I'm told the lake effect snow is so bad, it occasionally snows fish. Oh well, watch for black ice,
Sunday, November 23
Wednesday, November 19
Recently, there has been pressure for me to stop using blogger.com and switch to Facebook Notes. I have posted several notes on Facebook, including my most controversial piece ever, "Mustang Fans Display Poor Sportsmanship". See, that's the cool part of Facebook. It is very accessible. Within hours, I was able to get terrific feedback from all sides of the issue. However, as I began reading some of the poorly constructed responses, I realized Facebook is for morons. Anyone can throw up anything with zero effort or attempt at professionalism. I expected to get feedback, but not expletive laden rants by whiny crybabies. Facebook is the reason America struggles with grammar. Bad grammar is acceptable on this website, and even promoted. Was something funny? lol. Do you not know? idk. Are you just kidding? jk. How articulate. Sure Facebook is great for finding old friends and leaving stupid messages, but not for serious writing. It has become popular recently to craft some "serious" work and then post it on Facebook. I don't really have a problem with this, in fact I have a link to this very blog on my own page. The feature that keeps Facebook on the same level as a gossip magazine is the tagging feature. Once you slap together your classical work of literature, you can tag people in your note. This means that if you are tagged, you will get a notification that directs you to the Facebook note. Some see this as a great way for lots of people to see your writing, I see it as a cheap way to get attention. By tagging me, the writer is basically forcing me to read his or her opinion. Its as if the Detroit News came to my house, went inside, and woke me up to point out all of the top stories. If this happened, most people would be furious. I am getting very tired of people tagging me with their religious and political enlightenment's posted on Facebook. Most of them are riddled with errors and contain overused cliches. It has become too easy to sound like an expert. I don't try to act like I am some sort of prophet or super-political scientist, I just tell it how I see it. Yet these Facebook notes have gotten out of control. I am sick of being tagged. I am not going to call anyone individually and tell them to visit this blog, I will let my writing speak for itself, and if it is good enough, people will hear about it eventually. I give mad props to all of my fellow bloggers who have not stooped to the tabloid level of Facebook notes. We put time into our work. Time to build a layout. Time to think out our points. Time to post it in an actual blog. Now I am not saying that blogs are the pinnacle of writing, but they certainly hold more weight than a note. So please, don't tag me in your sermons or your rants; take the time to put it on a better medium. And no, I will NOT be switching my blogs to Facebook Notes. I am not thirsting for attention that bad.
Saturday, November 15
Last night, I went to the local Celebration! Theatre at the Rivertown Mall to see the new James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace. I was pretty excited, as I liked the last Bond movie, Casino Royale. I liked the direction the movie went, taking Bond away from all of his stupid gadgets and tricks, and making him more about the hand to hand combat. He was transformed from girlyman (Pierce Brosnan) to manly man (Daniel Craig). So yeah, I was pretty pumped. However, this movie was nothing but disappointing. It was basically a continuation of the last movie, which of itself had a complex story line. This move made it seem more complex, as it tried to resolve the old story line and at the same time add a new plot. But, being that it was a Bond movie, I was not too worried, since the best part of these movies is the action sequences. How disappointing. The scenes were horrible. The director tried to go Jason Bourne and show lots of fast, close fight scenes. All they ended up being was jerky and uncoordinated messes. The fights were totally ruined, as it was too hard to figure out what was going on. In one specific scene, a boat chase, it was too hard to tell who was going where, or even who was chasing whom (who?). Forget why they were being chased (or chasing someone), it ended up looking like a gaggle of bumper boats at the Farmada Fair.
Wednesday, November 12
Wednesday, October 29
Friday, October 24
About a month ago, I engaged in a serious project to get as much free goods as I possibly could. I read a story in "Uncle John's Bathroom Reader" about a TV show where they put a guy in a bare house, and he had to order everything from free samples in magazines. I put my name on many mailing lists for products ranging from toothpaste to an American flag. Well, a few days ago, I received my first mail. In my mailbox was a free coupon for Country Bob's All Purpose Scauce in a 13 oz. bottle. Of course this is only available in limited stores, but it is still free. This is the college life.
Thursday, October 23
Friday, October 17
As I meet more and more people from different schools here at Grand Valley, I become more and more aware of a common fact. Almost every other school has far more school spirit than my former school. These school have really cool traditions and histories that are nonexistent on the corner of 24 and Romeo Plank. I feel as if my Sophomore year was the peak of school spirit, as Rob Rotondo and crew started the Black Hole. Well, 3 years later, and I doubt people will even realize there is a basketball season. Apparently the open air mall is still a hot attraction. Mr. Slagel informed me that he counted a total of 12 people at the football game last Saturday. 12. There were more students at my sister's 5th grade girls' games back in the day. Pathetic. Even the crowd at homecoming was abysmal. I did not hear one cheer. I remember my freshman year when the crowd went crazy as the Cranbrook mascot came to our section. Yes, people used to cheer at games. The bleachers were not a metal extension of the parking lot, but a place to watch the games and get loud. The seniors used to sit at the front of the section and lead the students, not sit at the top and share the latest gossip about Nathan Schilling's girlfriends. I am wary of going back to a basketball game, as each year has gotten worse and worse.
Thursday, October 9
Tuesday, October 7
Oh well, its time to watch the debates. Look for my post debate review moments after the carnage. Aight then, holla then.