Tag Archives: lifestyle

A new way of creating Coffee Latte (just because I like it!)

caffe latte

Origin of Coffee Latte

In Italian, latte (Italian pronunciation: [ˈlat̪t̪e], English: /ˈlɑːteɪ/) is simply the word for milk. What in English-speaking countries is now called a latte is shorthand for “caffelatte” or “caffellatte” (“caffè e latte“). The long Italian form literally means “coffee and milk”, similar to the French café au lait, the Spanish café con leche and the Portuguese café com leite. Caffe latte is today part of the defined international coffee menu, which also includes cappuccino and espresso.

Ordering a “latte” (popular North American use) in Italy will get a large glass of (most likely) hot milk, as latte simply means milk in Italian.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary the term caffè latte was first used in English in 1847 (as caffe latto), and in 1867 as caffè latte by William Dean Howells in his essay “Italian Journeys”. However, in Kenneth Davids’ Coffee: A Guide to Buying, Brewing and Enjoying it is said that “At least until recently, ordering a “latte” in Italy got you a puzzled look and a hot glass of milk. The American-style caffe latte did not exist in Italian caffes, except perhaps in a few places dominated by American tourists… Obviously breakfast drinks of this kind have existed in Europe for generations, but the caffe version of this drink is an American invention…”

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The Yo-yo of greed – is there hope for the most vulnerable citizens on planet earth?

The whole world holds its breath… what will happen at Wallstreet? Is there anything positive to report?

The good news (WAS) according the Millennium Development Goals:

· Some 400 million fewer people live in absolute poverty today than in 1990.

· At least 90 percent of boys and girls in all but two regions of the world are enrolled in school.

· Deaths from measles fell from 750,000 in 2000 to less than 250,000 in 2006, and 80 percent of children in developing countries are now vaccinated against the disease.

· Some 1.6 billion more people than in 1990 can now get safe drinking water.

These gains and others are the result of a global effort “unsurpassed” in 50 years of development history, according to a new United Nations report on the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) based on data from a number of organizations, including the World Bank.

That was the good news until recently; now the bad news: the bad news is that we have not changed in our nature as people! The bad news is that we only can share some of the crumbs of our tables as long as we have abundance!

The fact is that we are caught in a constant swing, a yo-yo if you like, where every effort to break out from our greedy nature seems to release an untamable power bringing us back in the opposite direction leading to a widening gap between the most exposed and vulnerable and the rich to whom the large majority of the Western World belongs.

The current unbelievable and unaccountable $700 billion bailout package which is being discussed for Wall Street by the US government gives us an indication of what is about to happen. According to a fellow blogger the present crisis was addressed on a closed doors session of the United States House of Representatives on Thursday, March 13, 2008.(For English reading check out the end of the text).

It was on that particular meeting that the imminent collapse of the U.S. economy was discussed to occur by September 2008. (A true story? I don’t know, you judge for yourself). The fact is that millions of Americans are thrown back into (Western) poverty level living as a direct result of greedy investors and risk-takers in the economic realm. But there is more to be concerned about… 1.4 billion people still live on less than $1.25 a day and new challenges threaten the achievement of global anti-poverty goals.

Food, fuel and other commodity prices have risen dramatically over the last year and threaten to push over 100 million people back into poverty, according to the World Bank.

The current United States-based financial crisis will affect other economies and slow growth that has helped lift many people in emerging nations out of poverty in the last decade.

Greater effort is needed to lift people out of extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, reduce the number of malnourished children, prevent maternal and child deaths, and achieve greater equality for women, among other goals.

As you see, we are living in a global world with all its advantages but surely a multitude of disadvantages… And as usual, the exposed and vulnerable people in our world will be the first (and often) the only true victims… somehow many of us in the West seem to be able to avoid having to live with the disastrous, life threatening consequences of a world gone mad! What to do with it… Don’t ask me for the answers; I’ve only got one, that a man leaves his darkness as he follows the Son!

That’s the Way I see it!

John



Is Fairtrade just Feel-Good-Trade? Questions which needs answers!

Ever since I received a link to the article from the Jubilee Centre in England I have kept the contend of this article to myself since I realize that we are about to open a Fair Trade shop in the city of Stockholm. As a church we have adopted to only serve Fair Trade coffee and tea and so, slowly but surely, we are trying to implement what we believe. Because I am an advocate for justice and righteousness. I quote from their material:

It is unusual for Christians to adopt a skeptical position with regards to Fairtrade. After all, aren’t we supposed to take a stand for justice, righteousness, and fairness? Somewhat expectedly, therefore, our February blog comment questioning the Fairtrade Foundation, reproduced in our quarterly Engage newsletter, has provoked a mixture of disappointment, surprise, and confusion. The plea of one letter writer encapsulates the exasperation felt by many, “I should like to know what the alternative is for those of us who genuinely want to help.”

Helpfully, a report published in February by the Adam Smith Institute, Unfair Trade, provides an answer to this question, first explaining in more detail why, “for all its good intentions, Fairtrade is not fair”:

It is therefore that I want to ask all of you who know more about Fair Trade to check the enclosed information from the Jubilee Centre which I highly respect. Actually, their other material, which is tremendously challenging, has been used by God to help form my thinking and convictions in different areas of life.

So, I ask you to consider the information and to address this issue in depth by giving me your side of the coin, your perspective, and even more so, the information you can give me to help answer the important questions that are asked.

I have not made up my mind about this matter… and am therefore open to any trust-worthy input and source!

I hope you can help me! Is Fair Trade Stockholm interested in answering some of these questions?

John van Dinther




About some things you just don’t talk – the Swedish sin

Per Gudmundson in today’s leader in Svenska Dagbladet stated it clearly: “About some things you just don’t talk” with as sub title: “the Swedish sin”.

In his column he addresses the Swedish view on money, earning and riches. He quotes a couple of people working within the “entertainment industry” who have made “becoming rich” one of their major goals in life. One of them actually says that he throughout his career never has paid taxes and lived on “black money” (non-taxed). (Hello Skattekontoret where are you?!)

The Swedish taboo!

Anyway, the fact is that talking about money and income is literally a taboo in Sweden, even yesterday as I was meeting with a group of sixteen people (from 9 nations, including 5 Swedes) who are considering to become members of our church we spoke about their right as members to ask any questions about the economy in our church. They have the right to know exactly how much I earn and, for that sake, also about the other employees in the church.

The fact is that I have never ever heard a member ask that question to our board… Why? Because it is a taboo! I believe deeply in accountability and believe therefore also that if we are serious about our responsibility that we need to practice accountability in this area as well. How can members in a church take responsibility without knowing (asking)?

I believe in openness and transparency also in those matters and I believe that we as Christians have an even greater responsibility to live lives in transparency, not only for the sake of our legal and tax system. I believe that we are to fight the spirit of Mammon and consumerism to be able to be a Church which is trust-worthy!

Do I condemn everyone who has something? NO! The fact is that my wife and I own a house ourselves… the question goes much deeper that that. It was Pope John II who said: “It is not wrong to want to live better; what is wrong is a style of life which is presumed to be better when it is directed toward ‘having’ rather than ‘being,’ and which wants to have more, not in order to be more but in order to spend life in enjoyment as an end in itself.”

The problem so well articulated in the article which I mentioned comes down to: It’s never enough!

The problem of consumerism as a lifestyle means that we must keep raising the stakes and the investments. Enough is never enough, and soon we are possessed by our possessions. Shopping is the number one cultural activity in our country.

Accumulation of unnecessary goods has become a habit, even an addiction, as we wring our hands over lack of storage space. What we once considered luxuries we come to regard as necessities, and eventually we become dependent upon the things we acquire. Consumerism as a way of life demands competition, workaholism, and individualism.

What to say more about these things? You know, I came together with my wife as missionaries to this nation and were being financially supported by our friends to be able to do our work here. I remember the day that I, from having worked as a volunteer (no employement), to becoming employed by the church which my wife and I and fifteen others had started. My first salary was an reason of thanksgiving. Why did I thank God? Believe it or not, I thanked Him that from then on I was able to pay taxes and start supporting this society which I had learned to love and appreciate so much also financially! (To avoid any misunderstandings; I was NOT impressed by our social welfare system, but by you, the Swedish citizens! – and therefore I wanted to be part by paying taxes).

Maybe this is another approach to the matter… what do YOU think? How do you look at life, lifestyle, money and spending?

John

Downshifting – making time more valuable, life less stressed and money less needed… and the Kingdom more visible!

Downshifting means according to the Farlex free dictionary (on line)

1. A change from a financially rewarding but stressful career to a less well paid but more fulfilling one, or,

2. To reduce in speed, rate, or intensity

3. To simplify or reduce one’s commitments in (one’s life).

The whole idea of downshifting is to work on the quality of life by doing more with less, by consciously choosing to reduce intensity of life, earning, spending and accumulating things. It is reaction against consumerism which tells us to accumulate things, experiences, money and property.

In a couple blogs I have earlier written about consumerism and its consequences… Downshifting is about making other priorities; naturally it has to do with the whole area of consumerism, but also about other priorities.

What would happen if the members in the churches would downshift their involvement in the workplace and commit themselves a few more hours a week in ministry to people around them (and other ministry opportunities and needs)?

Personally I know of a few people who have downshifted in their involvement in their workplace and instead have committed themselves to ministry. Can you imagine the tremendous impact it would make if many of the members in our churches would do so?

An incredible flood of people with tremendous gifts and abilities would suddenly become available for the ministry of God in our nations and cities. Instead of trying to find some space in their agenda’s to plan in “church” and “church-activities”, people will find themselves with more time at hand which means; less stress, healthier balance, time for family, friends and ministry! The quality of life might change completely and… the peace and presence of God might become more visible because of a life in balance.

Just a thought… who takes it to heart?

John