Portlandia (and chicken)

The Urban Monk is surrounded by chicken in Portland.

This weekend three of us at the Mission were treated to a retreat up in Corbet overlooking the, er..some really big river (The Macman is urban after all…a river is a river till Spring when the sun comes out again).

We were at dinner and as I tasted the darker meaty material on my fork I looked at FISCHE (Robert the Gangl) and the following transpired:

Macman: Fische, there is something wrong with this chicken.

Fische (grinning): Um, tastes fine to me (he says as he eats his pot roast greedily).

Macman: No, it’s like the texture is all wrong and it tastes foreign to me…albeit enjoyable.

Do we have chicken like this chicken back at the Mission? I mean, I have had chicken about 50 different ways, but never this way (shakes head).

Fische: No Macman. It’s a new kind of chicken. Shut up and eat it.

Macman: Okay, if you are sure it’s safe.

The next morning they serve squares of something. “Fische, is this scrambled eggs?”


Portlandia started recently on IFC. A decent quick review is HERE.  I liked it a lot (watching it at the Portland Library). I am new to Portland and kind of like a wide-eyed kid (very much like supposed SoCal couple Armisen & Brownstein) from NorCal I find new and fun things daily and report on them.

My favorite segment in the first episode of Portlandia was when they go out to eat and engage the waitress in a protracted inquiry about the organic life of their soon to be consumed chicken (sighs) . The waitress says she has more information and comes back with a detailed biography of the chicken including a picture.

"Barry" the chicken about to be consumed, and his biography from the farm.

The whole show is fun and makes sport lovingly.

As for chicken and I? I am starting on a utterly OTHER diet tomorrow. I have not lost any weight at the Mission and that is plain dumb when you go into self-denial mode (which is paradoxically life-affirming!).

I went to Whole Paycheck today on the MAX and got Miso soup mix…I am serious. Hard-boiled eggs in the a.m.; Miso soup at noon and salad for dinner for the next month. No sugar, no bread no empty carbs. No more chicken.

And I will do tea instead of dark french roast if it interferes with my hunger for austerity.


c1993. Christopher C. MacDonald.

“O Lord Jesus Christ, I long to live in your presence, to see your human form and to watch you walking on earth.
I do not want to see you through the darkened glass of tradition, nor through the eyes of today’s values and prejudices.
I want to see you as you were, as you are, and as you always will be. I want to see you as an offense to human pride, as a man of humility, walking amongst the lowliest of humanity, and yet as the savior and redeemer of the human race.”

I really am starting to have fun. Those of you who have been reading SANS ADOBE from day one know fun was extremely hard to come by all last year. 2010 was a year of nothing but loss and humiliation.

But as Soren Kierkegaard once titled a sermon: “Misfortune is Good Fortune”. I always agreed with what SK said in that sermon;  I just did not want to have to live it.

In retrospect, I feel it was all necessary and am grateful for it.

Now that I have settled into the Mission and accepted it on a deep level (and what comes and does not come with it) I am unbelievably free. I study daily, do art and attend Bible studies, worship services and “meetings” as I wish.

Speaking of Kierkegaard, today I had the good fortune of attending a class on him at Imago Dei Community (a progressive church in Portland).

After that, downtown to the library to pick up Lewis’ The Great Divorce (for my Thursday class on God in the Dock) two Merton books (for me) and The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life.

That may sound bland to many of you, but it’s a bit of heaven to me. It’s like meeting up with old friends for coffee, only they come from the 4th through 20th Century and not our time.

Portlandia says that Portland is where “young people go to retire” and that it is basically like the “90s never ended” (No Bush years at all).

I am actually gonna push the clock back to the late 70s and early 80s Berkeley. Logos Bookstore on Telegraph, the inception of New College, Radix Magazine, SCP (Spiritual Counterfeits Project) and Earl “The Pearl” Palmer at First Presbyterian Church is more like what I am seeing.

Where? Well Door of Hope (where they are so concerned with core Christocentric Bible Study they are sidestepping the Arts for now and allow their website to be “sucky” even though they could change it in a weekend), Imago, and others. Soon (come Summer I and others will try and see SPOKE thrive in Portland.

This morning’s Kierkegaard class was FAB. Well attended (especially considering it was for Kierkegaard and he has been bad-mouthed by many in the church wrongly) and led artfully by someone obviously as struck by Kierkegaard as I have been..

I left with a big smile. Portland is home.

It’s all terribly interesting. I’ll just pass on the chicken. Barry is safe.


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