Posts Tagged ‘Wine’

One of my favorite things to say about wine is:

“Don’t be intimidated, remember wine is just agriculture”

It is simply the process of harvesting, preparing and bottling up the fruit of a farmer’s hard work, the soil of a particular location grapes of a specific plant. There is nothing magical or mysterious about it… which is probably why it is so magical and mysterious… it seems so simple

But I guess I have to concede that wine also has an arcane poetry in this understated alchemy. The bottling of the earth in which the plant grew, and the wind and air that rustled through its vines, the water which rained or flowed to the roots to nourish and develop berries basking ‘neath the fire of a distant glowing sun.

But remember: don’t be intimidated.

And here I stumble upon the tension that I experience. I want the simple explanation; to reduce everything down to a manageable pocket-sized nugget. But my heart is often far more significantly emboldened when I get lost in the terrifying wonder and intricate magnitude of what God wove and fashioned with the deceptively simple, spring-loaded…

“Let there be light”

…don’t be intimidated

And so I sit with a glass of wine, staring deep into the redness, wondering at what is wrought within.

It is not just something to be consumed, but to be experienced.

So I sit. I still myself. I swirl the wine.

The light reflects and shines through the redness, the tidal waves contained with a hemisphere of glass; a sea of colorful and flavorful organic compounds dancing and playing. Amid the tannins, the flavinoids, the esters and sugars I am reminded… “This is my blood that was poured out for many, for the forgiveness of sins… do this in remembrance of me.”

And in the stillness, I am confronted with the sobering truth: “Don’t be intimidated” is TERRIBLE counsel.

Because deeper than the agriculture, more mysterious than the alchemy, more beautiful than the refractive hue is the deeper truth, the fuller wonder and the realer realization. Within and without this glass, everything points to the beauty and terrible majesty of the body broken and blood split, to the good glory of God’s great gospel.

But, oh, how easy it is to overlook, and how quickly the cross is presented as a concept, a symbol, an icon; reduced to a manageable nugget. Because of this, I invite you to join me in observing lent starting on Wednesday. Lent? wait you were talking about wine, isn’t lent about depriving yourself? It isn’t about not eating chocolate, it is about being disciplined and approaching Easter with a desire to wonder. Join with me and take forty days to intentionally prepare, remove obstacles and to examine the cross in its fullness. (What is Lent?)

And the next time you pick up a glass of wine – be intimidated, it is much more than just agriculture.

Have you ever had a favorite drink/meal removed from a menu?

To go to a restaurant, and to find that some all-important executive chef, without consulting with you, did away with what once brought you great delight.

Now imagine your dismay, if you had found that the entire menu was being done away with, as your favorite restaurant was being scrapped and turned into “some burger joint.”

I loved Zin Bistro.

Not only that, I had history and tradition at Zin Bistro.

It was where, along with good friends: Jon Herrera & Jeremy Friezen, I learned to pause, to savor, to enjoy good food and wine. It was where during college, over appetizers and a flight of wine, I also remembered how important it is to pause, to savor, to enjoy good friendship.

From Arugula to Zinfandel it broadened my horizons, and was probably as influential in my collegiate education as any course I took at the U of A.

So what is the appropriate response, after being in Australia for two years, to come home and find Zin Bistro has been changed into: Zinburger?


Okay, that might be a bit far… however I might have promised myself that I would never go to, or like, this “abomination.”

If I am gifted in any area, it is in my keen ability to make any short story… long. Because of this, I am going to cut to the chase and say that at the prompting of a new, potential good friend, Josh Reich, I went to, and ate at… Zinburger.

And, much to my surprise, I liked it.

Feeling like a culinary Benedict Arnold, I have been wondering, how I could enjoy what I said I would hate, and then I finally realized… it looks different, but Zinburger is still Zin Bistro at its core.

If there was ever any problem with Zin Bistro, it was that people didn’t eat there. It is so easy for me to forget that when I think back on my times there, but it was never wildly popular.  There were the regulars, and we absolutely loved it, but for the public at large, it never quite worked.

It surprised us all, didn’t everyone realize what they were missing?

So, what did “they” do? Take the desserts for example… The Bars of Zin & the Strawberry Cheesecake? They are still there, but now they are milkshakes. And many of the flavor combinations are still available, but now on a bun and served with zucchini, sweet potato, or truffle fries. And the wine list, while streamlined and not quite as eclectically intimidating as it once was, is as solid as ever.

This place, which was so influential in helping me learn to pause, to savor and to enjoy is still there.

When is a Church like a Restaurant?

I have been a member of the Crossing Church in Tucson for the past five years. It is honestly where I finally learned what it means to to pause, to savor and to enjoy the marvelous greatness of God. There is something sweet and special about what God has formed and fashioned there, and for everyone who has been part of this congregation it has been absolutely life changing.

Now I hate to say this, but if there was ever any problem with the Crossing, it is that, for the public at large, it has never quite worked.  And like Zinburger, it always has surprised us all.

Doesn’t everyone realize what they’re missing?

It always amazes me how sweetly and providentially God works in our lives. Josh, who suggested we eat at Zinburger, has been meeting with me and the leadership at the Crossing as we have been talking about major change. And, with such a beautiful similarity, this change will look like we are closing the doors of the Crossing, and what we once knew, and loved, is being replaced by something new and different.

I actually wouldn’t be surprised if, for some of us, out of a deep love for what God has done through the Crossing, it is tempting to regard this change with: instant, unwavering rejection & loathing.

Take comfort. You see, it will look different, but everything that we have loved and cherished about the Crossing will be there. Take the mission for example… two years ago we said the Crossing exists:

To be a community of Christ-followers dedicated to
authentic worship, loving service and gospel centered teaching,
to glorify God, to see lives changed and make his gospel known
in northwest Tucson and beyond.

By God’s good grace, our mission and our goals are furthered massively through this change. Not only do we have the opportunity for so many people to grow and enjoy what we have loved about the Crossing, we will be so much better equipped to glorify God, to see lives changed and make his gospel know throughout the whole of Tucson.

I am so excited, knowing that God will continue to provide a place where we can continue to pause, to savor and to enjoy his marvelous greatness.

It is to that end that I continue to pray… as I also secretly hope that Josh might want to have another meeting at Zinburger.