It was a grand week, this week of weeks. In the five o'clock hour of Sunday morning, I found myself at the Kerbey Lane Cafe in Austin, Texas, sitting across from my friend Malone, plate of cinnamon roll pancakes in front of me. (Yes, you read that part about cinnamon roll pancakes correctly.) Conversation with Malone is always above-board, the kind that is always on the move. We don't just hit conversational high points, either; instead, we dive deep into topics like literature, poetry, church, faith, addiction, music, maybe a little more literature. But this Sunday conversation was special, magical. "Why," you ask? The food. Allow me a bit of historical context.
My grandmother was an awful cook. She had a penchant for burning everything she put her spatula to, including Campbell's chicken noodle soup. It takes special skill to be as wretched as she was at whipping up a meal, but there was one culinary aptitude the good Lord blessed her with--the ability to make a killer batch of pancakes. She said once that, "I like cooking pancakes because they are forgiving." I don't think I ever understood what that meant, but evidently, she and pancakes lived in some sort of reconciled state of grace. I loved them. They were a comfort food.
Unlike my grandmother, my grandfather was an amazing cook. He had a culinary quotient that I've not seen matched by any other lay-chef. He knew his limitations, though, and avoided baking altogether. A lover of gooey cinnamon rolls, he'd sometimes wake me early, load me into the car in my pajamas, and we'd set out to find the perfect one. It became our treasure hunt of sorts. And on some lucky Saturday mornings, we'd return to the house to find fresh batch of pancakes waiting for us.
So, you see, cinnamon rolls and pancakes are a sort of spiritual event for me. (And don't get me started on the cinnamon rolls served by the Benedictine nuns at St. Scholastica. Benedictine sisters know the best ways to use leaven.) This being so, what could possibly be better than a pancake cinnamon roll mashup? Pure genius, Kerbey Lane Cafe. Add Malone to the mashup? Double-pure genius.
It's true. Any week beginning in Austin is a good one. And any good week ending with some good links means... well... the end of a good week.
I put out a call for some new reading material in January, and Antonia Terrazas recommended that I pick up Christian Wiman's 2013 release, My Bright Abyss. I meant to purchase it last year, but it had, unfortunately, slipped off the radar. Malone saw Antonia's comment, and on this Sunday of Sundays brought me a copy. It's a brilliant book, really. Wiman holds his academic and poetic bents in tension. Consider this:
"A deeper truth, though, one that scripture suggests when it speaks of the eternal Word being made specific flesh, is that there is no permutation of humanity in which Christ is not present. If every Bible is lost, if every church crumbles to dust, if the last believer in the last prayer opens her eyes and lets it all finally go, Christ will appear on this earth as calmly and casually as he appeared to the disciples walking to Emmaus after his death, who did not recognize this man to whom they had pledged their very lives; this man whom they had seen beaten, crucified, abandoned by God; this man who, after walking the dusty road with them, after sharing an ordinary meal and discussing the scriptures, had to vanish once more in order to make them see."
1. A Gap advertisement leads to exploding ovaries? You're either born this kind of funny or you aren't. Kristen Howerton was born this kind of funny.
2. Last week, Amber attended the IF:GATHERING, a woman's conference in Austin. There, she ran into the always under-promising-and-over-delivering Tsh Oxenreider (that's about the highest compliment I can give a person). This week, Tsh shared a vision for the good women at IF. Even if you're not a lady, even if you're not a conference sort of person, her words are rich, speaking to the inclusivity of a more global body. It's good.
3. Preston keeps popping up in my list. Perhaps it's because he keeps generating good content. Check out his offering, When I Have a [Talking About] Drinking Problem.
It's Valentine's Day. What better day to share a little poetry with your lover? Don't know where to start? Head over the Poetry Foundation for some great love poems.
I've been building a YouTube playlist of the tunes I can't stop spinning. Take a look and enjoy.
I stumbled across this piece by Jon Gomm. It's simply amazing.
Tell me: what are you reading, listening to, or otherwise happening across. Tell me your good links in the comments below.