Banana Bread

I feel like people might think the title is metaphoric and I have something deep to say. Except, the post is really about banana bread and nothing more.

After lots of blood and sweats, with [a little bit of] help from my mama and sister, I baked for the first time. Like I said on Instagram, I only have time for this kind of nonsense when I'm visiting my parents haha. Because, seriously, why not just buy it? Cooking, I have down, almost to a science. I'm good at it, it's almost innate even if I don't enjoy it very much. But baking is not my kettle of fish; that's more my sister's specialty.

But it was Sunday night, so I baked. And I have pictures to prove that I did.

So find below.

There are tons of recipe online if you are interested so I'm not going to bother typing down the recipe I used. This was the one that inspired me. I added my own twists like shredded coconut, using considerably LESS sugar, and mixing an egg white (with that mixer thingy) for a fluffier cake/bread. And it turned out delicious, if I say so myself. No really, it was great.

On Gifts, Talent, Wealth, and Privilege

"In the end, we win." - Priscilla Shirer

That's legit the best news of the gospel. In the end, we win. The devil knows this; it feels like some of us aren't fully aware of this though, so we don't act like conquerors, we act like the conquered. But that's not why we are here today.

Aretha Franklin passed today. I wrote on Twitter and Instagram that my dad first told me about her legendary song, "Respect" when I was about 16 or so.  I'm not a music person per se, but I loved that song so much that for several years after I called it my best song. Now, I no longer believe in such absolutes but I will always love what that song embodies—what Aretha Franklin herself embodied. So rest in peace, you Queen of Soul. She was in every sense of the word, legendary.

Now why we are here.

I reread a parable in Matthew 25 (14-30); it's a parable on talents. The popular one in which a rich farmer left some coins for his servants and went on a journey, and then when he came back, the ones with the most talent made the most of it. And the one with 1 bag of gold literally went and buried/hid the master's money.

I thought perhaps this is more that just gifts or talents that God has blessed us with, though those certainly matter. It could more broadly apply to what we do with our lives; the privileges, opportunities, families, abilities that we have been blessed with, how do we use them? It goes way beyond money, in my opinion. How do we make the best use of our privileges and opportunities, and how do we use it to benefit and impact others. Often, we think that making an impact means something GRAND, but it is usually not. We must make sure not to be too egoistical as to think the deliverance of the world lies within our hands. Get over yourself, honey. Rather, think about the unique way you can help even just one person. It could be mentoring. It could be volunteering. But what are you doing with what you have. This also means if you are one of the people with the privilege of getting an education, you better apply yourself to it, because not everyone has that privilege. If it's a job, do it well too. Remember, God did not distribute talents and gifts and privileges and everything equally, and he expects according to what we have.

While we should not be greedy, we also must never be complacent or play it safe in life or even worse, do nothing. Many people do this: choose the option of doing nothing or playing it safe because, well Jesus can come anytime or YOLO. Nah B. We have to make excellent use of each moment spent on earth so that ultimately Jesus can say, "Well done, thy good and faithful servant".

Bottom line is, Jesus IS coming back and will most definitely require us to give account of how we spent out lives. He does and will hold us accountable.

For whoever has, more will be added and they will have in abundance. Whoever doesn't have, even what they have will be take from them. v.29



Friday Reflections

1.) One thing about Chimamanda that most people would know if they bothered to even read about her is her ability to include nuance even in very difficult conversations. This interview was another instance.

2.) Trevor Noah is a comedic genius. I mean, Trevor is what happens when you are talented, but you are also very well read.

3.) This is the closest to an academic explanation of the identity cleavage in liberalism generally, and specifically, the clash between French Ambassador Araud and Trevor Noah. I stand by my initial argument that both had valid arguments and were in fact both right, but Trevor was righter: context matters in everything!

4.) Research shows that positive thinking might be helpful in anti-poverty programs. What that research doesn't mention, which I think might be significant is that the beneficiaries watched people who look like them.

5.) There is an underlying millennial financial resentment, and it was obvious in the recent Money Diary that trended on Refinery 29 about a very rich millennial. This New Yorker article perfectly describes that angst. Can you blame us though?

6.) Shonda is business, man.

7.) Please read this author's description of her great grandfather's atrocities, and her family's way of coming to terms with it. I gotta say, I wish Americans would read this.

8.) The hierarchy of a Nigerian wedding. Yup, you guessed right: the single woman is a the bottom of the totem.

9.) Her son's death at 23 gave her a crazy gift, and I think it might give you too.

Book of the Month: Gender Roles

I particularly like how the book of this month has been helpful in helping me reconcile my identities as a Christian and a feminist. This was also one of the books my friends got me! Aren't I lucky?

Of the many things I struggled with as a Christian, the one that shook me to my core and made me extremely uncomfortable was the [wrong] message that God created me (as a woman) to be inferior. That God created me simply to be “under the covering of a man”. I didn’t understand. And more recently, this became a prevalent notion. Even beyond gender imbalances and inequality in our secular society; I find that in the church and Christian communities, respected people of God keep claiming the woman has no say; that the woman was only created for the purpose of the man; that the woman is not allow to lead or preach in the church; that the woman is meant to submit; and that the man is the head. Of course, variants of these are somewhat true. Most are blatantly wrong.  It was everywhere, and so I begun my own personal research and I prayed hard to God to help me understand. I wanted to know God for myself (for one), but I also wanted the know the truth about the place of a woman. The thing with God is he really does answer prayers.

Most of what Taffi Dollar wrote in this book, I already knew. Because I found it in the word myself. I am glad someone with such authority wrote it though, and that more and more we are having this conversation.  I quit waiting for other people to tell me what the bible says and dug in myself.  And I found out about Deborah. I found out about Phoebe, Priscilla.  I  read about Mary, Martha; I read about Jesus's reverence for women. I saw how Peter called us equals; I saw where Paul declared no division, but only equals among followers of Christ; I saw Paul acknowledge strong women who contributed, strengthened, and LED the mission of spreading the gospel. Don't worry, this book touches on most of these. One of my favorite bible stories is in Numbers 27:  Zelophehad had just died, and only male sons were allowed to inherit properties of their fathers. Unfortunately for Zelophehad's children, they were all girls. So they went to Moses, Eleazer, the leaders, and the whole assembly to complain.  You can read the continuation of that story in the last paragraph here. But what God did through Moses in that instance was counter-culture. Because honestly, as this book  explains at length, and as the Bible reveals, Jesus was very counter-culture.

I heard that an author wrote a book saying if you are a feminist, you are not ready to get married. In that case I will never be ready. From the beginning of time, people have twisted the word of God for their own personal reasons. It's not surprising though. When a system benefits the oppressor, he does everything in his power to maintain status quo. Hell, American leaders used the Bible to justify the inhumane act of separating little babies from their parents. Centuries ago, people used the Bible to justify slavery. This book demystifies all that nonsense: in simple and plain words she shows what exactly Jesus said. I particularly love her analogy of the creation of Eve, and how the Greek version of the Bible refers to woman (Eve) and God with the same term, ezer. Is God then inferior? So much to say, so little the time. So read this book for a better understanding of who you are in Jesus, and read the Bible and do your own research yourself! It would suck to live your entire life thinking you are inferior to men or to your husband, or that you are so useless that God couldn't even muster up the energy to create you for a unique purpose, and that all he could do was serve you up to a man. Hell no.

I want to say, I stand by what I said in this post: I don't wander into people's marriages and what you do with your marriage is ultimately up to you. But in this society where you and I live, I will be damned if I accept that one man is superior to me because of the XY chromosomes. I am after all, wonderfully and fearfully made. I am the daughter of the most high God. Don't test me, please.