Mike Cope's blog

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Later this week I'll be meeting about 20 guys whom I've met with for a day or two each year for 20 years, usually right after the ACU lectureship. When we started we were all young preachers in Churches of Christ. Through the years, there have been lots of ups and downs that we've celebrated together and grieved together. We've connected with each other through divorce, death, struggles, firings, career changes, and denominational changes. Of the original group, three or four chose to drop out at some point through the years. But, amazingly, the vast majority kept making the pilgrimage to share our stories with each other and pray for each other. We're no longer young. Several aren't preachers. And some aren't in Churches of Christ. It has been a powerful thing to be connected with these brothers through the years. And while our regular gatherings will end, the history and the friendships won't, I'm sure. - - - - Last night, David Fleer's message was excellent. He walked us through the text of John 4 with the image of a slideshow. In one of his slides, he asked us to imagine him standing at customs with two bags: the baggage he was trying to bring into the text. It was a good reminder that we have an incredibly hard time hearing texts when we come with our preconceived notions. Tonight is my turn at the ACU lectureship. My text is John 6 where Jesus says, "I am the bread of life." I dreamed the night before last that I forgot my audience could speak English and I tried stumbling through in Spanish. It was a tiring night as I kept trying to remember how to say things. As a fan of bread, I love driving past the Mrs. Baird's store factory on the way home. And I love standing around the tortilla machine at HEB. And I love it when the hot fresh bread comes out at Johnny Carino's. So how about you -- what's the very best bread you've ever had?

39 Comments:

  • David Fleer had an incredible message last night! I listened to it live on the internet: http://php.terra.com/radio/radio4/index.php?r_channel=loran2005

    His voice sounded a lot like George Carlin. I was waiting at any moment for him to break into the "hippy dippy weatherman."

    His juxtaposition of Nicodemus and the woman at the well was very insightful.

    I look forward to listening to you tonight!

    By Blogger David Michael, at 2/21/2006 04:50:00 AM  

  • I make a lot of our bread and so I would like to say mine is the very best I have ever had. But then I think of Aunt Diane's bread and know mine is not. My aunt was reprimanded in her high school Home Ec class when she made biscuits without a recipe. "I just made them like Mommy", she said. Grandma, the mother of 13, was a wonderful baker. My husband says making bread is a spiritual experience. Kneading the dough and smelling the yeast does seem to take you into a higher realm.

    By Blogger Angel, at 2/21/2006 05:55:00 AM  

  • YBB lives!!

    There is a woman named Lois Marie Reed who works in the physics dept. at ACU. When I was a kid, my dad was a minister at the church her family attended in New Mexico. That woman makes the best homemade bread you could ever put in your mouth. I probably haven't had any of her bread since I was 11, but I have never forgotten it.

    By Blogger Deana Nall, at 2/21/2006 06:09:00 AM  

  • Nearly any bread baked in Germany, especially the little breakfast rolls called broetchen. They were baked and delivered fresh early every morning and we ate them with real butter and a variety of jams. I gave them up as a student years ago during my first and only time to celebrate Lent... then left Germany before Easter!!! Haven't had one since! Perhaps that makes them better in my mind than they actually were. Though, others who didn't give them up, and with whom I was just remembering those days, assure me my memory is very accurate.

    German bread is substantial. A loaf of bread over there (excluding broetchen) weighs a ton. But it's the kind of food that will sustain you.

    By Blogger Owen B., at 2/21/2006 06:10:00 AM  

  • The fresh every morning Mexican bolillo. Still warm with crispy crust and decadently soft, yeast-based center. Nothing like it, imho!!

    By Blogger Kathy, at 2/21/2006 06:13:00 AM  

  • My Grandma's sourdough rolls, hot and fresh out of the oven. The way she made bread nearly daily before passing away at 92yrs of age.

    David Fleer was excellent, his mastering of words and language along with the message was intresting and insightful.

    Mike, I will be excited to hear what God has to say through you this evening.

    By Blogger Joe Hatcher, at 2/21/2006 06:16:00 AM  

  • The very best bread you can run out and buy is the like-homemade sourdough bread from Bay Bakery. They bake all the Cracker Barrel bread and ship it around the nation. But you can drive up to this nondescript bakery in Lebanon and pick up a fresh loaf for $1.

    The very best homemade variety is Georgia Nelson's rolls served at her home every Sunday afternoon. Those come with great fellowship to boot!

    By Blogger Amy, at 2/21/2006 06:24:00 AM  

  • Maybe its because bread and home go together, but I would say the best bread I have ever eaten is at home in South Africa. It is more like the substantial breads of Europe. Never forget the first US sandwich I made. When I lifted it up I saw my fingerprints in the bread...quite bizarre at the time.
    It helps that you can go into neighborhood bakeries to pick it up and choose from so many varieties and have the smell permeate everything. I also love the idea of stopping by the bakery for fresh bread whenever you are out because their are no preservatives in it to keep it fresh for weeks.
    Gosh, now I am salivating just thinking about it.

    By Blogger Arlene Kasselman, at 2/21/2006 06:31:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    The prayer you read at the end of service last Sunday touched me. Any chance you would post a copy on your blog?

    CT

    By Blogger Chelsea Thornton, at 2/21/2006 06:50:00 AM  

  • My great grandmother made the BEST rolls. Every Saturday we would go to visit and she always had a batch of rolls fresh out of the oven with homemade perserves! Yumm! She didn't use a recipe so none of us has been able to replicate it since :(

    By Blogger songbirdintl, at 2/21/2006 07:07:00 AM  

  • The ladies at the Maryneal Church of Christ in Maryneal, Texas make outstanding bread. They don't use packaged yeast. They use 'starter' dough. Man, it's good!

    Right now, we're living in Zagreb, where the bread doesn't have preservatives. So every day and half or 2 days, we walk down to our little bakery and buy a fresh loaf of "kruh." My glasses steam up when I walk in there because of how warm the fresh bread is. We might just get spoiled by this!

    By Blogger jocelyn, at 2/21/2006 07:24:00 AM  

  • Mmmmm...it's a toss-up. Sally Lunn's buns in Bath, England; fresh baguettes from On the Hoof in Oxford; or my friend Jamie's homemade "waybread," made with whole-wheat flour. It's amaaaaaazing.

    By Blogger Katie, at 2/21/2006 07:39:00 AM  

  • I'm guessing that your group has changed through the years because something as simple as "bread" is understood in so many ways. I've got mental pictures and memories of sourdough biscuits at a campfire as well as homemade tortillas in Mexico. Amazing how our "baggage" determines our understanding of bread. Maybe, we should praise God for that baggage--admit it's there and frame it to His glory--praising Him for the way in which He has helped others to experience cornbread instead of sopapillas.

    By Blogger eddy, at 2/21/2006 08:23:00 AM  

  • Mike, I love your dream. I was wondering if you were in your underwear as well. I believe we will hear no mater what language is spoken.

    By Blogger Clint, at 2/21/2006 08:37:00 AM  

  • It's a tie between the rolls at Texas Road House & the bread sticks at Fazoli's (sp?)

    By Blogger Josh, at 2/21/2006 08:40:00 AM  

  • Mike, as someone who waits tables at Johnny Carino's, I'd be happy to bring you as much fresh bread as you ever want.

    Just ask for Jared.

    By Blogger Jared Cramer, at 2/21/2006 08:42:00 AM  

  • Whenever we are in the Abilene area we HAVE to swing by McKays for a loaf of fresh sour dough...and a few thumb print cookies... and perhaps a cake...LOVE McKAYS! I can refuse chocolate and anything sweet, but put a basket of fresh rolls from Logans, or Maccaroni Grill bread in front of me and I can not resist! Sister Shubert rolls aren't too bad either. I'm now craving bread. Thanks!

    By Blogger SG, at 2/21/2006 08:44:00 AM  

  • When we left Colorado for Kandahar, little did we realise that our sandwich days with sliced bread would be so over. When Mother and I saw that we would be using a kerosene stove and oven, and Dad informed us that he had forgotten to pack the sifter, we sat and had a cuppa and a cry, because that meant we would have to use our nylon hose to sift our newfound buddies, the weevils, out of the flour and sugar. After our first trip into the bazaar, as we watched the Afghan bakers skilfully scoop out the hot, long flat loaves of Naan and throw them onto tall piles of colder selections covered in grit and consumed by flies, we knew we would have to re-think our entire paradigm for sandwiches.

    But, after a few months of getting used to the pungent odour and aftertaste left by the kerosene fumes on our best-baked goods, Mother outdid herself. We got over the weevils (Dad said they added extra protein!), and became artful with the slicing. Since those days, every time I smell home-baked bread or buttermilk biscuits, I remember our Kandahar treats. And that’s the best bread I've ever had!

    By Blogger Deb, at 2/21/2006 09:17:00 AM  

  • Last July I was in the States for about 3 weeks, and I had an appointment in Franklin, TN. To get in some extra time with my parents, I took them with me and we stayed at at Namaste B&B Horse Ranch in Leipers Fork. They had the best biscuits any of us had ever eaten. My mom, a true southern cook in her own right, had to have the recipe. Only after we had finished our ravings did the hostess reveal that they were from a delivery service! (She said her own family had to stop eating them because they were too high in cholesterol.) It's sort of like in Africa when we're thrilled to get a cake made with real cake mix, instead of one of those dry ones made from scratch.

    By Blogger Anthony Parker, at 2/21/2006 09:21:00 AM  

  • My Pa Pa made the best bread ever! When he was alive, he'd make as many as 30 loaves of bread for potlucks at church. He also made the best cinnamon rolls you've ever eaten. He'd send me care packages at college of sweet rolls and they were gone in an hour. Kids at their church referred to him as "The Bread Man." At his funeral, the preacher said, "The bread man has gone home." When I see people who knew my Grandpa, they still tell me how great Pa Pa's bread was.

    By Blogger Tracy, at 2/21/2006 10:45:00 AM  

  • I am a bread lover. That is my weakness. My favorite bread at restaurants is at Fazoli's and Olive Garden. I also love homemade tortillas. Restaurtants that serve store bought bread don't fool me. I know the taste of fresh homemade tortillas. I am ready for lunch now. :-)

    By Blogger Neena, at 2/21/2006 10:57:00 AM  

  • The best bread I've had is the first bread I ever remember eating. We lived in Iran in the early 70s and they would bake a type of tortilla-looking flat bread against the top of a furnace that was incredible. I wish I could remember the name of it. But they also cooked what the Americans called "pebble bread" because it was cooked over, you guessed it, hot pebbles.

    By Blogger H. Heflin, at 2/21/2006 11:16:00 AM  

  • My grandma's fresh biscuits are tops, I hope she can bake them for all in heaven.

    Second is United Market Street's garlic cheddar bread, one slice and you are hooked.

    Third, Rosa's hot fresh tortillas.

    By Blogger Hoots Musings, at 2/21/2006 12:31:00 PM  

  • I've found when it comes to bread (or any baked good for that matter) that God's true purpose for denominations comes out: distributing the spirityual gifts of baking. Stay with me here:
    In the pentacostal churches, those that have been passed over for the gift of tounges receive the gift of Peanut Brittle.

    for bread, the Amish and mormons have the corner. Amish friendship bread we all know and love. But the mormons can make the greatest fresh loaves of bread ever.

    By Blogger petestacoshack, at 2/21/2006 12:48:00 PM  

  • Oh, I almost forgot.

    Navajo Fry bread.

    There is a wonderful missionary church just about 1/2 mile west of Window Rock in AZ. They make the most amazing "Navajo Tacos" with homemade frybread. Just across the way is Navajo Burger that takes this Fry bread and makes a burger out of it (I'm pretty sure there is a sin involved in there somewhere).

    By Blogger petestacoshack, at 2/21/2006 12:54:00 PM  

  • the chapatis of east africa... not indigenous, but brought there by the Indian immigrants... hmmmm...

    By Blogger Kevin, at 2/21/2006 01:19:00 PM  

  • I do love the rolls at Texas Roadhouse, but it may be mostly the cinnamon honey butter that they give with the bread. I love Macaroni Grill's yummy rosemary bread. MMMMMM!!!!

    By Blogger Leah, at 2/21/2006 01:51:00 PM  

  • The State Line in ElPaso, TX has some of the best bread I've ever eaten. It is known as County Line in places like Austin, OK City, I think Lubbock, maybe? Also, Ms. Ola Lee Stuart in DeKalb, TX makes the best homemade rolls in the world. She was mainly responsible for packing about 50 lbs. on this once skinny preacher. Lord, deliver me!!!

    By Blogger Brad, at 2/21/2006 02:22:00 PM  

  • cheese rolls, mmmmm.

    By Blogger Sue, at 2/21/2006 04:37:00 PM  

  • Three words...BANANA NUT BREAD!! Definitely the best!

    By Blogger Franklin Wood, at 2/21/2006 04:53:00 PM  

  • Hi Mike,
    I just became a "blogger" and couldn't resist replying since I love to cook. I use to bake home made rolls and bread, but a few years ago discovered bridgeford frozen bread dough. It is wonderful, and since I've been working full time for several years, I don't have the time or the inclination to mix, kneed, rise, and bake bread anymore. Not to mention cleaning up all the flour that gets every where no matter how careful you are. You can experiment and add herbs or vegetables, or just butter the outside, put it in a loaf pan, let it quick-rise with a pan of hot water under it in the oven and 2 hours later you've got fresh bread. They also have parker house rolls. Be sure not to buy the Rhodes brand, it's not nearly as good. By the way, I'm also one to look for the best guacamole, so far El Chico's top shelf or Pappa Sita's have the best because it's so fresh, but they won't give out the recipe. I've never been quite completely satisfied with what I make at home. But I make a mean black bean salza!

    By Blogger Beth, at 2/21/2006 06:23:00 PM  

  • One more comment about your post unrelated to bread....

    It sounds like the group you've been meeting with is very similar to the one described by Brian McLaren as "deep ecclesiology" in his third book of the A New Kind of Christian trilogy. I have to say that of all the things in that book that made me think, deep ecclesiology made me the most excited.

    I'm hoping to start that with some people I know.

    By Blogger Owen B., at 2/21/2006 06:58:00 PM  

  • Great Message tonite. You summed it up well. My body cries out for many things in this world but what it really needs is Jesus. Thanks for a reminder of what we should major in.

    By Blogger sonofolred, at 2/21/2006 07:35:00 PM  

  • Mike, I am a son of one of the twenty. Over the years I have heard so many stories about this group. Only it has taken resent events for me to understand the significance of this community. I don’t know any of the exact words, but I know the feelings and emotions. Thank you for all you have done for my dad. When times have gotten bad for my dad, I know that you and others will always be there, and that means the world to me. When I heard about the latest news pertaining to my dad, I was comforted by the fact that I knew that people like you had called him and e-mailed him. Preachers, who could understand what was going through his mind, were responding in love. I will never even know half of the things that have happened to my dad. Only I know that God is good, and he is in control. Thank you so much for the kind words you have given.

    Shalom

    By Blogger Bj, at 2/21/2006 11:02:00 PM  

  • I, too, am crazy about the fresh tortillas off the press at HEB. In fact, so much that I make sure they are in the front seat with me so I can have a hot one or two! The foraccio bread at the "Blair House B&B" in Wimberley is awesome. Actually, ALL of the food by Exec chef Christopher Stonesifer is scrumptious. The breadsticks at Olive Garden are my favorite breadsticks. My favorite cinnamon rolls are homemade by our cousin Cindy Beard. Can you tell I like bread? Thanks for your posts, yours is definitely one of the first blogs I check out in the morning as you always either give us something fun to think about or inspirational/deep provoking thoughts to leave us pondering. So thanks from this relatively new reader.

    By Blogger Terri, at 2/22/2006 01:41:00 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Mike, at 2/22/2006 04:37:00 AM  

  • Irish Soda Bread - MY OWN!!!
    :)

    By Blogger :), at 2/22/2006 04:44:00 AM  

  • My current favorite bread is this amazing "coconut bread" that I tried during a recent visit to Hong Kong. It's about the size of a roll, with some coconut on top. The bread itself is lightly sweet, about the size of a roll, with some coconut milk (I think baked onto the top). Best of all, baked into the center of it is this buttery, sugary, coconuty mixture that tastes absolutely amazing.

    And, with coffee, it is heavenly.

    By Blogger Jessica, at 2/22/2006 07:08:00 AM  

  • BJ - Your words -- the words of a son of one of our "gang" -- bring tears to my eyes. I guess I haven't thought much about how this little community of "young bucks" (as we were once called angrily by an outsider--a name that sort of stuck) impacted the children of the group. Thank you so much. And yes, yes. God is going to continue to use your dad in powerful ways. Mike

    By Blogger Mike, at 2/24/2006 04:40:00 AM  

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