London Coffee Festival 2013, and Suffering and Evil in Job
Rushed through Spitalfields just in time to meet friends waiting in the line for the London Coffee Festival 2013 (facebook), which snaked round a corner of the Old Truman Brewery and continued for a least 1km down Brick Lane. News that the organisers were still clearing the people from the previous time-slot prompted several Americans to demand a refund while the British continued to wait stoically in the drizzle.
Half an hour after the start of the ticketed time, we were in. Because this was London, individual stalls in the main hall were set up around a green open space, and there was a programme of live music acts for those resting from all the caffeine.
At the Brew Bar near the entrance, there was 360°‘s Bolivia Caravani (Mana-mana?) on Hario V60s. We tracked the beans down at the Make Decent Coffee room where you could taste test the same bean brewed using different methods – on the cafetiere, it was cloudy and slightly muddy; on the aeropress, its brightness was overwhelming; on the chemex, muted; and on the V60, relatively flavourful and full-bodied. An educational experience especially for my partner-in-crime (since i’d conducted similar experiments at home with the same equipment).
The coffee i enjoyed most, in milk, was Union Hand-roasted‘s Blend No. 1 (50% Guatemala Finca el Cascajal, 40% Nicaragua Finca la Argentina, 10% Kenya Kagumioni AB) – all caramel goodness versus the dark chocolate and berries of the alternative blend, Louie Mio (vague – 10% Vietnam, 50% Ethiopian Sidamo, 30% Brazil, 10% Honduras).
Of all the gear on display, was most interested in the Ikawa Roaster and Roast App for homeroasters, a lovely bench of Hario equipment (most of which i owned but left in Singapore), the tamper handles made of different woods, and the beautiful ROK Espresso maker.
The next day, in possibly the only sermon to mention the London Coffee Festival (but i could be wrong!), Andrew Sach of St. Helen’s Bishopsgate ended a very useful series on the Book of Job, having himself been greatly helped by Christopher Ash’s Out of the Storm.
“I won’t believe in God unless he can explain why there is evil in the world.” and “How can a good God allow suffering? A good God can’t, so the presence of pain proves that there isn’t a good God.” we say, and think ourselves very reasonable and intelligent. But the Book of Job scoffs that by this, we actually show that we know nothing at all, and in our arrogant foolishness even fail to realise that God is so much greater than us that we cannot expect to start to understand all that he does in his sovereignty.
New International Version (NIV)
40 The Lord said to Job:
2 “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
Let him who accuses God answer him!”
3 Then Job answered the Lord:
4 “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?
I put my hand over my mouth.
5 I spoke once, but I have no answer—
twice, but I will say no more.”
6 Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm:
7 “Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
8 “Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?
9 Do you have an arm like God’s,
and can your voice thunder like his?
10 Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor,
and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.
11 Unleash the fury of your wrath,
look at all who are proud and bring them low,
12 look at all who are proud and humble them,
crush the wicked where they stand.
13 Bury them all in the dust together;
shroud their faces in the grave.
14 Then I myself will admit to you
that your own right hand can save you.
15 “Look at Behemoth,
which I made along with you
and which feeds on grass like an ox.
16 What strength it has in its loins,
what power in the muscles of its belly!
17 Its tail sways like a cedar;
the sinews of its thighs are close-knit.
18 Its bones are tubes of bronze,
its limbs like rods of iron.
19 It ranks first among the works of God,
yet its Maker can approach it with his sword.
20 The hills bring it their produce,
and all the wild animals play nearby.
21 Under the lotus plants it lies,
hidden among the reeds in the marsh.
22 The lotuses conceal it in their shadow;
the poplars by the stream surround it.
23 A raging river does not alarm it;
it is secure, though the Jordan should surge against its mouth.
24 Can anyone capture it by the eyes,
or trap it and pierce its nose?
41 “Can you pull in Leviathan with a fishhook
or tie down its tongue with a rope?
2 Can you put a cord through its nose
or pierce its jaw with a hook?
3 Will it keep begging you for mercy?
Will it speak to you with gentle words?
4 Will it make an agreement with you
for you to take it as your slave for life?
5 Can you make a pet of it like a bird
or put it on a leash for the young women in your house?
6 Will traders barter for it?
Will they divide it up among the merchants?
7 Can you fill its hide with harpoons
or its head with fishing spears?
8 If you lay a hand on it,
you will remember the struggle and never do it again!
9 Any hope of subduing it is false;
the mere sight of it is overpowering.
10 No one is fierce enough to rouse it.
Who then is able to stand against me?
11 Who has a claim against me that I must pay?
Everything under heaven belongs to me.
12 “I will not fail to speak of Leviathan’s limbs,
its strength and its graceful form.
13 Who can strip off its outer coat?
Who can penetrate its double coat of armor?
14 Who dares open the doors of its mouth,
ringed about with fearsome teeth?
15 Its back has rows of shields
tightly sealed together;
16 each is so close to the next
that no air can pass between.
17 They are joined fast to one another;
they cling together and cannot be parted.
18 Its snorting throws out flashes of light;
its eyes are like the rays of dawn.
19 Flames stream from its mouth;
sparks of fire shoot out.
20 Smoke pours from its nostrils
as from a boiling pot over burning reeds.
21 Its breath sets coals ablaze,
and flames dart from its mouth.
22 Strength resides in its neck;
dismay goes before it.
23 The folds of its flesh are tightly joined;
they are firm and immovable.
24 Its chest is hard as rock,
hard as a lower millstone.
25 When it rises up, the mighty are terrified;
they retreat before its thrashing.
26 The sword that reaches it has no effect,
nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin.
27 Iron it treats like straw
and bronze like rotten wood.
28 Arrows do not make it flee;
slingstones are like chaff to it.
29 A club seems to it but a piece of straw;
it laughs at the rattling of the lance.
30 Its undersides are jagged potsherds,
leaving a trail in the mud like a threshing sledge.
31 It makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron
and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment.
32 It leaves a glistening wake behind it;
one would think the deep had white hair.
33 Nothing on earth is its equal—
a creature without fear.
34 It looks down on all that are haughty;
it is king over all that are proud.”
42 Then Job replied to the Lord:
2 “I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.
4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.’
5 My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.”