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This is the third post in a series. Here you can find part one, and part two.

My apologies for condensing two days into one post, but I got super busy and so now I have to show you two different ingredient steps. But that’s okay, I’m sure you all will enjoy the pictures.

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Powdered pine resin.

Day three was the day for the Ponderosa Pine resin. Some of you may have seen the post of this resin on our subreddit: r/holysmoke. Well, I took the day to grind it up
into a fine powder, and put it in the mixture to begin to help start the kyphi really get going. By the way, it smells fantastic!

 

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Powdered orange peel.

Day four was the most labor intensive, because the orange peels were finally dry today! Because they were finally dry enough, it meant I could now powder them. Thus the labor intensive part. It takes a lot of effort to powder orange peel, let me tell you. It is a good thing that today was Saturday, because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to do it, y’all. Regardless, I got it done, and got the orange peel powder put into the mixture!

 

See how beautiful it is?

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Powdered orange peel in mix.

 

Stay tuned for more folks. And thanks for keeping up along with me!

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Creating Kyphi – Day Two

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Plump raisins.

Day One can be found here.

Day Two of the Kyphi is first checking on the raisins and wine. They look like they have been marinating well, and are becoming nice and plump. The wine has evaporated quite a bit, and overall the mixture just smells heavenly.

The process for today involved cutting off orange peels and chopping them up in a food processor. I do this while they are still moist, as they will be much harder to chop once they have dried more fully. Once I have them chopped, I lay them out on a few sheets of parchment paper. They will be set out to dry for the foreseeable future. Once they are dry, they will be powdered, and then added into the wet mixture.

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Chopped peels.

One other thing that was done today however, was the addition of a bit of honey. More will probably be added, but for now, it will get the infusion of scents going, and will assist the wine in retarding any unwanted growth on our mixture. I didn’t get a picture of the mixture with the honey, but don’t worry. You aren’t missing much there. It looks pretty much the same.

Stay tuned!

Creating Kyphi – Day One

Day One Kyphi

Raisins in wine.

Kyphi is an ancient form of incense that was immensely popular in ancient Egypt. It is a bit of a process to make, however, lasting for as many days as there are ingredients. When I make Kyphi, I rarely do so more than once or twice a year. The batch gives me so much incense once I am done, that it is hard to burn it all. Although I do give it a great effort.

The base of any kyphi-style incense starts with dried fruit – raisins in particular. To that base is added just enough wine to really cover the raisins. Over time, the raisins will absorb the moisture in the wine, while the water evaporates naturally. What you will have ideally, is a bunch of super-plump raisins which have absorbed the most aromatic components of the wine. This gives the mixture a deep and heady aroma, not unlike that of mincemeat I’ve been told. The idea of mincemeat disgusts me, but I do love the aroma of the raisins soaking in the wine.

That is day one. Again, this is an extended process that takes many days. Often times, it takes as many days as there are ingredients. For now though, we’ll stick with doing this day by day. I’ll try to keep this fairly up to date as we go along.

Full Disclosure: I will be telling you most of what my ingredients are, but not all, and not the weights/measurements. This is going to be my first attempt at a commercial product, so I can’t be giving off all of my secrets. But hopefully, this will be of interest to those of you who care about such things.

Day Two can be found here.

For the past six years almost, I have been advocating the Gospel of Love. Not because I’m really that much of a loving person, but because I believe that God is a loving God. I believe that the sacrifice on Mount Calvary was a sacrifice of love, and that it was not meant to be contained amongst the select few. I believe in a Gospel that stretches across time and space, oceans and mountaintops, valleys and plains and fields, and from the furthest reaches of the universe. There are not enough words to explain how great I believe the Love of God is. Language is limited, as is the capability of the human mind to comprehend that which is incomprehensible. But through the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the love of God is accessible to all peoples, of all nations, in every tongue, and in every era.

God Bless the Refugees

God Bless the Refugees

To this land they have traversed,
From dangers only God can tell.
Chancing life and limb and sanity;
Daring climate extremes, and living hell.
For a chance at freedom, it was worth it all.
Some lost friends along the way,
They were herded like cattle,
Once reaching Freedom’s shore.
Their entire lives they dreamed,
Of a land that accepted the poor.
The hungry, and the weak they are;
The huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.
And what has America,
The haven of hope, decreed?
No asylum! No mercy!
Send back the refugees!
Yet I cannot help but wonder,
If it is they who should be deported.
Or perhaps those who believe freedom is a birthright
To only we few fortunate.
America could learn a thing,
Or two, from folks such as these,
For the very rocks and I cry out:
“God bless the refugees!”

Patriotism in America

What constitutes being a patriotic citizen of the United States of America? This is a recent inquiry that simply will not leave my brain. Mainly because this is a season of fervor in regard to America and her independence the celebration of such being held on the fourth of July each year.

I shudder every year when this time rolls around, deep into my spine. Moreso than even usual, American churches are singing national hymns such as “God Bless America” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. Many throw in the “Star-Spangled Banner” for good measure, as well as the recitation of the American Pledge of Allegiance. All of this is being done in churches on Sunday, amid sermons on how America is the Promised Land, and was founded upon Christian principles.

All of this confuses me so much that it often makes me literally sick to my stomach. Obviously American Christians place a high value on being an American, and a Christian. They perceive themselves as the most patriotic folks that there can be. Therefore my main question is: must you be a Christian to be a patriotic American?

Is patriotism a matter of faith in God? If so, then whose god? Does that mean that atheists cannot be good patriotic citizens? I would argue that atheists are often the best candidates for patriotic fervor, simply because disbelief in a higher power means that their ultimate loyalty is to their nation of origin, and not to a deity or religion. If it is a matter of faith in a deity, is it the Christian god? Does that rule out Jews and Muslims who also claim to worship the God of Abraham?

And if it is a matter of faith in God (the Christian one), then why do so many American Christians equate a lack of pride in America as a sin? Why do they give such honor to the Constitution of the United States, and proclaim that it is inspired by God? (This is exactly what folks are saying when they say that America was founded on Christian principles. They may not realize it, but they are indeed convinced that divine providence had a major part to play in American freedoms). Why do American Christians know the Pledge of Allegiance, but not the Apostle’s Creed? How do they know the Founding Fathers of the United States of America, and yet cannot name the Twelve Disciples? How can they read John Locke and Adam Smith, and not have read Irenaeus and Clement?

The Church in America needs your prayers, because it has forgotten that it is not a citizen of the United States – it is the Bride of Christ. Her citizenship is in heaven, not here on earth. The songs she sings should be magnifications of the Godhead, and the pledges she should recite are the Psalms. She should honor no graven image, and glory in no death except for the Cross and our Savior who was crucified upon it. Her freedom is bought with a price, but it wasn’t an American whose blood was shed for her – it was a homeless Jewish man who spoke no English, lived in a territory occupied by a ruthless empire, and at one point was a refugee in danger for his life. He lived and died in the region we call the Middle East, and spoke a language very similar to one spoken by those we now deem infidels.

A Prayer of Desperation

I cry out to you O Lord, in the depths of my despair. My cries for help have fallen on deaf ears, and those who could help cannot be found. My God the fear that wells up within my soul! Shall Hades continue to reap his wealth from my Tartarean sorrow? Only you can save me, my God! Are you not my shepherd? Hear me O God of Job; He who has crafted the universe! Release me of this I beg of you! You are the Father who gives only good gifts; the God who hands not over death to His child who asks for bread. Grant your Holy Spirit to comfort me! By the power and the passion of the Cross, free me from these chains!