Is the primary danger “out there”?

by Jonathan Trotter

Note: this post was inspired by this article by David French.

As a homeschooled-in-the-80s kid, I’m well versed in the terrified cry, “The danger is out there! The danger is out there!” I can remember watching The Village and feeling like M. Night Shyamalan had just made a film about my life. (My parents didn’t yell this too loudly, but we were Gothardites.)

But is the primary threat “out there”? No. It is not.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve received a fraction of the pushback that David French has, but still, I resonated deeply with this:

“I get an enormous amount of criticism for not critiquing the secular left more than I do. Yet if I’m concerned for the health of the church, then corruption at the highest levels of the world’s largest Christian university, sexual predation by arguably Christianity’s most influential apologist, widespread conspiracy theories, and disproportionate disregard for the health and well-being of neighbors do more harm than the worst of Joe Biden’s culture war regulations or the most radical developments in the sexual revolution.”

The whole article is excellent, but here are a few more quotes worth pondering:

“If your reaction is that the greatest threat to human souls or to the church itself comes from without—from the external forces attacking Christianity or from the cultural temptations buffeting our children—then that dictates a very different posture to the world and approach to politics than if you believe the true threats lie within.”

A different posture indeed.

I have seen this fear, this alarm:

“If you believe the most dangerous threats come from without, fear can rise in your heart. As you lose political and cultural power, and you see others shape the environment in which you live, then you start to have genuine alarm that other people are destroying the souls of those you love. What a terrifying idea.”

There is hope, of course.

At the end of the day, the Church remains his, and he still loves her. He still calls her to remember her first love. I want to still love her too. I want to build more than I tear down. I want to heed with every fiber of my being Jesus’ call: “Your business is life, not death. Follow me. Pursue life.” (Matthew 8:22)

I want to love more than I fear.

I haven’t always done this, for sure. But I want to. I want to know Jesus more. I’m a few chapters in to Dane Ortlund’s new book, Gentle and Lowly, and it’s helping. It’s not about The Chosen, but it’s explaining, in theological terms, why the Jesus portrayed in The Chosen is so fascinating and healing and loving. He’s helping me understand why I cry every.single.episode.

Turns out, it’s because the stories are real. Ortlund writes, “Jesus is not trigger-happy. Not harsh, reactionary, easily exasperated. He is the most understanding person in the universe. The posture most natural to him is not a pointed finger but open arms.” He goes on to say that Jesus’ “deepest impulse, his most natural instinct, is to move toward” sin and suffering, not away from it.

Jesus is really like that.

And that is Good News indeed.

*Contains Amazon affiliate link.

Dairy-Free Chocolate Desserts

by Elizabeth

Based on the interest expressed in the comments of my last post, today I’m sharing three of my favorite “healthier” chocolate desserts. They’re all pretty easy to make but have slightly different personalities.

Tahini Date Fudge
I borrowed this recipe from Aviva Romm’s Instagram post.

3/4 cup dates, pitted, soaked, and chopped
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup – 1/3 cup tahini
1/2 tsp vanilla

All you’re going to do is drop the ingredients in the food processor and process till smooth, but I have a few tips first. Choose Deglet Noor dates over Medjool dates. Everyone says Medjool dates are the sweetest and softest, but this has not been my experience in America. The Medjool dates at the store have been pitted and have dried out already. Even soaking them in hot water does not solve this problem.

The Deglet Noor dates I’ve found here are still soft, even if they’ve already been pitted. I don’t mind pitting them myself if I have to, although pre-pitted is convenient. (I had to pit them myself in Cambodia, where I was thrilled to find any dates at all.) The thing I love about using dates as a sweetener is that they are not only composed of sugar; they are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. I still soften my Deglet Noors in hot water and slice them into small pieces, just to make them easier to puree.

Depending on the thickness of the tahini, sometimes you need more, sometimes you need less. Sometimes I add a splash of water if the fudge isn’t coming together. I love tahini. I can eat it plain. But it’s pricy, so I don’t do that very often, only when I’m really craving it.

I don’t like my fudge to be super sweet. I’m going for the flavor of dark chocolate, not traditional fudge. I’ll play around with the amounts of the ingredients until it tastes just right. Sometimes that means adding more dates, other times that means adding more cocoa. The thing I love about this recipe is that it’s very fudgy and rich. Sometimes I make it too thin, and it’s more like cookie dough, but that’s delicious too.

I generally make this for myself only; I don’t share with my children. Store in the fridge.

Chocolate Silk Mousse
I found this recipe in an old vegetarian cookbook somewhere along the lines.

2 packages silken soft tofu
1/3 cup cocoa
scant 1/3 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla

Open the soft tofu and drop into the food processor; then add the other ingredients. Process till smooth. It takes a little while, but all the cocoa and honey does eventually get distributed in the tofu. And it does have to be soft silken tofu. (Obviously this recipe is only for those who eat tofu!)

This is a very fresh-tasting mousse. It has more protein and calcium than some dessert recipes. You can refrigerate or freeze it. I like it refrigerated, which makes it feel like a mousse or soft pudding. Just kind of dissolves in your mouth. My family prefers frozen, which makes it taste like a chocolate popsicle. Not exactly a fudge-cicle as it’s not quite rich enough for that. This recipe feels satisfying while not overly indulgent.

Coconut Milk Mousse
I adapted this recipe from Mary Vance’s site.

2 cans full fat coconut milk, chilled in fridge
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

You’ll need an electric stand mixer for this one. Chill the coconut milk in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (you can also chill the mixing bowl). Open the coconut cans, and carefully spoon out the cream into the mixing bowl. You don’t want any of the water underneath. Start mixing for a minute or so until fluffy (it might not get fluffy; that’s ok too).

Add the cocoa, coconut sugar, and vanilla, and mix again until fully incorporated. Chill in fridge. This one is so delicious and rich. I love coconut cream by itself (when making curry, I often swipe bits of leftover coconut cream from the can). The flavor of coconut and chocolate here is a big hit in our family. It’s very rich, though, so even though you want to eat a lot at once, you really have to limit yourself to small amounts unless you’re willing to risk a stomachache! Pair it with berries to cut the richness.

A note on chocolate avocado mousse: I’ve tried it, and it doesn’t taste right. After it’s chilled, it tastes almost right, but the avocado just comes through too much. I want to like avocado mousse; avocados are so good for you, and I was looking for a way to get healthy avocado fats in me. But I just can’t do avocado mousse at this time.

After this short detour through RecipeLand, my next blog post will return to my more “normal” blogging topics.