‘and Made by Bruno Menard, and The Idols of the Age
We strolled past &Made by Bruno Menard (facebook. Pacific Plaza, 9 Scotts Road) on its second night of operation, looking for dessert after a less than satisfactory dinner at Aoki up the road. “Who’s this Bruno?” I’d asked the Frenchman who’d offered a look at the menu. “Oh,” he replied without any apparent eye-rolling,”just a three Michelin-star chef from Japan.”
We settled on the glowing enomatic wine-dispensing machines of Caveau that night, but went back another day to gawk at the sight of a Michelin-starred French chef grilling up burgers.
The burgers we tried (The “B” burger – dry-aged beef, caramelised onions, caper/garlic sauce, comte cheese; and The Three Little Pigs – bacon, pork filet & chorizo patty, shitake mushrooms, Japanese cabbage, Shibazuke pickles, yuzu-kosho mayonnaise), fries, desserts were the best I’ve had in a long time. The flavours of the burgers were balanced and complementary and every component was well-executed down to the brioche bun that was fresh and had a well-buttered underside toasted on the grill. Even the toasted sesame seed sprinklings actually tasted of, erm, freshly toasted sesame seeds.
Dulce de leche is always a sure winner but quickly becomes overwhelming. Here, the sweet-saltiness of the hot caramel lava cake found a good foil in the large scoop of ice-cream covered with crispy cornflake-like paillete feuilletine. We approached (after managing to stop laughing at Frenchmen ridiculing their own accent) the Berry Ze &Made Sundae (&Made soft ice-cream with creme chantilly, red fruit coulis, vanilla crumble, fresh berries, topped with paillete feuilletine) with trepidation, hoping it wouldn’t be a glorified version of McDonalds’ strawberry sundae across the road and available for one-sixth of the price. While retaining the best bits (the soft-serve ice-cream with soft fruit), it blasted the Maccers version clean out of the water with the superior taste of real cream and less processed berries.
Like the interior of the restaurant that was a fun mix-up of retro Japanese quirkiness with the colours of an American diner, the fusion of American, Japanese, and French cuisine was a happy unpretentious union. And the service completed the experience – brisk, well-informed (though i guess the menu is rather small), attentive to every look (no helpless flailing of arms necessary in the main area). Chef Menard came out of the kitchen to do the rounds fairly often.
Meanwhile, finished up Derek Tidball’s Preacher, keep yourself from idols. In addition to idols of the self, there are the idols of the age we live in:
- the idol of success – ambition, fame, drivenness, a desire to be where the action is. To get the fame and numbers, preachers change their message under the guise of being more “seeker sensitive”. But God requires us to be faithful to his word, and it is the sovereign God who alone decides the growth of the fruits of our labour;
- the idol of entertainment – everything now is seen in terms of its entertainment value. It is tempting to view preaching in the same way. Though preachers must learn to communicate effectively to a contemporary audience, it is not the latest gimmick that will captivate the audience but the word of God which pierces hearts;
- the idol of novelty – sometimes the preacher thinks he has read this passage so many times that he is bored of it and tries to find some fresh novel angle, perhaps so people won’t think of him as a boring talker without fresh content. But as a messenger of God’s words in the Bible, that is not his job. While he should express old truths in new ways and apply “timeless” revelation in timely ways, he is not to dwell on what God has not made the main point of his word;
- the idol of secularisation: mission being superseded by aid and development work, eternal divine authority supplanted by what I think is right, sin translated to sickness, true needs dislodged by our felt needs, serving neighbour supplanted by self-centred individualism; the church as a Christ-focused community replaced by a social club of insiders, salvation as a matter of psychological integration or material comfort, godliness ousted by comfort, holiness traded-in for the feel-good factor, eschatology has become human progress, eternity smothered by the temporal, etc
Then, i suppose, mostly applicable to pastor-teachers, the idols of the task:
- the idol of oratory – think Barack Obama. Paul refused to use techniques to induce belief in his listeners. But this does not mean he merely discussed repentance; rather he persuaded them to repent. Oratory does not create faith in listeners, the Holy Spirit does. But this does not mean that the preacher should not work hard at making his message understood and persuasive;
- the idol of immediacy – expecting and requiring the listeners to respond to the call to repentance immediately. “Altar calls”, the raising of hands in response are mostly for the benefit of the preacher who wants to feel good about himself and see evidence of his own ability to persuade others. But the Spirit works on his own time; and
and the idols of the ministry:
- the idol of professionalism – preachers should aim to be professionals in the sense of having a mastery of God’s word, having imbibed it deeply, studied it regularly and submitted to it obediently, but not that they are superior to it or sterile in relating to others, making the service of God an end in itself;
- the idol of busyness – the preacher needs to be committed to working at the text and doing the hard work of preparing his sermons, not excuse his superficial out-of-the-hat preaching because of the busyness of running the church;
- the idol of familiarity – the danger of trivalising the important, of handling God’s truth with cynicism, of creating hype and making wild promises that God never made.