Category Archives: Food

The success of a willingness to exist amid uncertainty

arbor of vine Science and Health encourages readers to be obedient to God, and also to be observant, flexible, and intuitive. Because Christian Science, as explained in Science and Health, is a living thing, there are no hard and fast rules for its management. Success in the practice of Christian Science demands a certain amount of negative capability—a willingness to exist amid uncertainty.

The unwillingness to exist amid uncertainty, by default, assumes it can use Christian Science to define and dictate the human circumstances. It falsely reads into Science and Health a precise set of instructions on a trajectory toward fundamentalism. It over-processes certain guidelines and spiritual truths in such a way as to actually render them detrimental to their practice; similar to over-processing flour to make it pure white, but ending up with a product void of all nutrients.

Christian Science is a metaphysical system of divine healing, grounded on one God, Spirit.

Science and Health offers a fairly open-ended set of guidelines, along with specific knowledge of God and us. While making a full statement of Christian Science, the narrative leaves a lot up in the air, with ample allowance for the vagaries of human circumstances, backgrounds, economics, and even one’s personal schedule.

The reader can identify, not with conforming human beings, but with a God that loves us all and blesses us no matter what situation we find ourselves in. We can discover a divine Truth that can set us free whether we are plastering a wall, praying, traveling in a car, or typing information into a computer.

Dealing with mercury

pink fish“The tests reveal I have mercury poisoning,” said Kathy.

Her mother wasn’t surprised. Kathy was a vegetarian who ate a lot of fish. “I’m sorry honey, but let’s be glad you now know to change your diet, and hopefully your health will return.”

Did mercury cause Kathy’s health problems? Yes and no.

Mercury, released into the air from industrial pollution, has been recognized to accumulate in streams and oceans in the form of methylmercury. Fish such as tuna, swordfish, and marlins absorb high-levels of methylmercury. Although most people do not eat enough fish to be in danger, fish eaters become at risk of mercury poisoning. Pregnant women are advised to restrict their consumption because of possible risk to the unborn child.

To act as though mercury-infused-fish is a cause will not eliminate the health problems. Benefits only come when the situation is seen in the light of effects. Unquestionably, it’s a trick to identify what looks like a cause and work with it as though it is an effect, but that is how we progress.

Let’s take a crop destroyed by weather—a drought. We presume the drought caused the crop destruction. In an effort to stop the destructive cause, weather is altered or manipulated, and we irrigate. However destruction continues because drought is an effect. So are frost, hail, pests, disease, or lousy farming techniques.

We can alter our diets, however health problems still exist. Because mercury pollution is an effect.

Human beings are tied to a long standing history of pollution, poisoning, and health problems. It’s enough to make us want to sit down and quit life. But we don’t We are resilient. We constantly become aware of who and what we are.

We are effect. Everything is effect. As we probe deeper into cause, we can learn good, God, is the natural and ultimate cause.

We are evolving. We have the right to eat healthy. We can have a balance. When dreadful conditions arise, we can forge ahead with a conviction that health is God created and God sustained.

Where to draw the line

As a mother of 2 daughters and a past foster mother, I noticed that while raising the children, I had to draw the line. I drew the line when it came to their vocabulary, what clothes they wore, and how late they could stay out. But, the line was drawn at different places for each child.

It almost seemed unfair.

But, when I drew the line too close or too far from what the child could handle appropriately there was a hint of rebellion or weirdness. When I moved the line with artistic mindfulness, things worked out.

Each child was unique. I treated them all the same in that I treated them different.

For example, I could offer all kinds of food to one child and there was never any over eating. But, this was improper with another child who overate. So, I drew the line with myself and offered a healthy amount of food, and that’s all.

This drawing the line method of working with others requires me to look past myself. I can’t do what makes me feel good. I don’t want to enable another to over-do or under-do their potential.

draw lineIt reminds me of the Letter of Paul to Titus.

Titus was left behind in Crete, signifying that a line was drawn by Paul. Even if Paul wanted Titus to come along with him, Paul somehow knew Titus was to stay behind. Titus was to “set in order the things that are lacking,” in church. Titus went to draw lines himself that would help people discover their best character.

With reference to “liars, evil beast, lazy gluttons,” in the church, Titus was to draw a tight line that would allow them to “be sound in the faith.”

Knowing God as one Mind, I believe I can pray to hear Godlike thoughts that respond to others in the way that is best for everyone. Mind shows us where to draw the line. It might look unfair to the human mind, but to the divine Mind, God is allowing us all to express our full potential in a way we are ready to do so. God knows what we can handle.

I was able to draw the line with the children to keep them safe and balanced. I draw the line in my relationships to ensure they are pure and productive.  I want to draw the line each day to keep me focused on God, rather than the world.

How to Help

Getting-Through-a-BreakupPeople are helping all the time. We like helping.

Everyone wants to be a hero. Disaster hits, and heroes fly in for the landing.

But some crash land.

Those who come ill-prepared need rescuing themselves.

Those who come enamored with desperation make poor judgments.

Those who come to help, but lack common sense, however brave, run around without a plan and get in the way of those who really are helping.

Then there is the help that is no help at all. After a crisis, they helper comes with outdated or unneeded aid.

Does the church want to help? Then remember, it is not the churches need that needs helping.

To help: be prepared. Have common sense. Act accordingly. Offering outdated words about God is the same as offering outdated medicines and rotten food.

Moreover, when people are starving, we must give real food, not Twinkies. When people are battling disease, we must give them accessibility.

When in a crisis yourself, do you want someone to give you Viagra or a truckload of basketballs?

Empty churches are churches that give useless sermons, or that have forgotten how to help. The same principle holds in helping as in healing: First, do no harm.

Pebbles can be hard

???????????????????????????????After sliding my boot on my foot, I wrap the laces around the rivets and tie a double bow. Walking out the door, I feel the pebble, small enough to ignore, but large enough to have an effect.

If I keep walking on the pebble, a small callous could form on the bottom of my foot. Or, the pebble could wear a raw hole into the flesh.

So, I sit on the ground, unknot my laces, take off my boot, dump out the pebble, and reboot myself before going on the walk.

The puny size of the pebble made me smirk. And, think.

What puny things do we carry around in our thinking that makes us callous to some part of life? What tiny assumptions or expectations do we carry in our minds that make us raw and sensitive?

  • I deserve to be able to use plastic wrap rather than a recyclable container to hold leftovers.
  • I want to avoid a neighbor.
  • I eat one bite too many at meals.
  • I think someone else is clumsy.
  • I think I look and act like my grandmother.

None of these thoughts can be ignored for a long time. All thoughts, hidden or materialized, have an effect.

However, I can dump them out and see less impact on the earth as I use recyclable containers. I don’t have to be the neighbor’s best friend, but I can smile at the neighbor.

One bite of food too many calls for an increase in weight over the years. I don’t need one bite too many at meals. And, I don’t want to think someone else is clumsy because it opens the door for me to be clumsy.

Even if I did resemble my grandmother, and even if I wanted to be like my grandmother, this pebble keeps me from being me.

I can dump out the pebbles and walk with a strong free mind.

God’s Diet: Turning to God to Battle Obesity

Guest post by Eliza Wood, from Progress Planet.

Is being overweight a sin?

Perhaps life’s demands during Biblical times were such that the problem of obesity was rather small. And perhaps being overweight may have even been a luxury position, implying a person had ample food and others to perform the necessary physical labor. It must have happened to some, but didn’t warrant a specific law, chapter or verse aside from some interpretations of gluttony (there are some 166 verses about that), which, at least in modern times, is not the same as obesity. Heredity, habits, stress and foods themselves all contribute today to this phenomenon.

While being thin is often referred to as a blessing, is being fat considered some kind of curse? Maybe not officially, Biblically speaking, but it sure feels that way to a lot of people unable to shed their unwanted girth.

It is a challenge for many. In the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control, all 50 states have more than 20% obesity. Some states hover at about 25%, and in the 12 most obese states, about 30% of their people are suffering with the problem of obesity — and all the other health challenges that go along with it, including diabetes, high blood pressure, increased risk of heart attack, diminished sleep, etc.

The Bible belt and obesity

These states that have a third of their people larger than they might like to be include some of the most religious Christians among as a nation. The Bible belt has added a few notches to its original design. Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia are those suffering the most.

With a problem of that scale, one that impacts so many important areas of people’s lives, it is only logical that while God may not be to blame, God is certainly part of the solution for many.

religious foodGod, support groups and diet books

Rick Warren, author of the bestselling book, The Purpose Driven Life, has a lot to say about dieting too. His Daniel Plan is quite the rage.

New books abound, such as God’s Diet: A Short and Simple Way to Eat Naturally, Lose Weight, and Live a Healthier Life by Dr. Dorothy Gault-McNemee and What the Bible Says About Healthy Living: 3 Principles that Will Change Your Diet and Improve Your Health by Dr. Rex Russell. There are twenty or so others as well, if one is the kind of dieter who can read a book and implement the solution privately.

In prayer circles, there is a whole new emerging approach to overcoming the temptation of food and prioritizing fitness and overall wellness by replacing thoughts of food with thoughts of God.

Churches are often offering walking groups, Yoga classes (perhaps under another name so they don’t encourage Hinduism), and encouraging weight loss goals. There is plenty of faithful support for those who give weight loss a try and plenty of acceptance and forgiveness for those who fail.

Selling out in Christian bookstores is Gwen Shamblin’s The Weigh-Down Diet, already more than one million books are in the hands of those who need them. The Hallelujah Diet has been rumored to have been adopted by a hospital, claiming simplicity is the key to weight loss.

Weight loss might be simple, but it usually isn’t much fun.  In this day and age of extreme convenience and instant results, we just aren’t used to doing things that are hard and that have way-out-in-the-distance delayed gratification.

An all-time favorite book of mine was Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. It’s not particularly a Christian or a God-focused book, but it does expose some of the challenges we Americans face with our food itself — in these days of mass food production and food technology. Who knew that eating meat and dairy products from animals given growth hormones actually causes humans to grow perpetually larger? That’s right. The food itself is certainly part of the problem we face.  Short of eating all organic food, there is really no way to avoid getting some growth hormones into one’s body.

Food for many is all mixed up with emotions and thoughts. Meals are often the fun, relaxing parts of one’s day, often the few moments of connecting with the ones we love. We are taught to give thanks and praise to God for food. We are not so thankful for the problems that result from food, however.

No way. There are those among the religious who may feel things are the way they are for a reason. There are others who choose to take their weight, nutrition and fitness into their worldly hands, and there are plenty who don’t have a clue about what to do.

With so many diets on the market, each one promoting something great, such as ease, affordability, painlessness, fast results, lasting results or endless other promises, it is easy to get confused.  Failing at one diet does harm on two levels.  First, it causes the person to feel like a failure, which is a very detrimental event.  Second, it slows the metabolism each time we reduce our food intake, which can be an even bigger problem when one abandons hope for improvement and goes back to old eating habits.

In other words, it is tricky to get it right. If it were easy to fix, we wouldn’t have this problem.

If one does well in small group settings and needs a lot of support, that can be found at church. If prayer and solitude works better for others, that can be done too.

Just beware that in the effort to lose weight, many get drawn into subscription programs that charge a monthly fortune. If religious- or Christian-specific diet books might do the trick, that is possibly the cheapest way to approach dieting.

Sadly, the problem of obesity won’t go away by itself. It appears to be getting worse, not better. For the faithful, it can help to remember that God, in a variety of forms, can be a support.

You are Pregnant

baby jesusThe words, “You’re pregnant,” can bring colorful responses. “Yes,” as a fist is pumped. Or, “It’s about time.” Or, “Yikes!”

Although medical science can give us a pretty good idea of what is going on in our bodies, we can also visit spiritual Science to get the big picture. Spiritual knowledge helps us make the looming decisions that come with pregnancies. Jesus’ mother, Mary, heard an angel message from God say, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)  Pregnancy can be a spiritually invigorating experience.

Generally, we think only women can get pregnant. But, men too can be pregnant or “expecting” happiness and responsibility. The birth of ideas comes from God, Mind. Isaiah felt God say, “Ask me of things to come…I made the earth and created man on it, it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.” (Isa. 45: 11 & 12)

A pregnancy can be a time for happy thanksgiving. We read in Psalms 100: “Make a joyful noise to the LORD…It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people…For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”

If it makes more sense not to keep the baby, the divine Parent, Love, can guide you through the appropriate steps that are best for the baby and you. We read in Jeremiah words that can be felt by everyone, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.” (Jer. 29:11-12)

You may hear horror stories about other people’s past pregnancies however we find assurance in the knowledge of God’s care. “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” (Isa. 40:11) Our Father-Mother God is nearer to us than the horror stories.

Being pregnant is an opportunity to express Life, wisdom and progress. We can experience better eating and exercise if needed. We can experience a release from harmful habits. We can be pregnant with prudence and spiritual courage.

The entertainment of wondering what sort of characteristics the baby will take on can be grounded on God’s promise rather than DNA. Love is our destiny, not DNA. “I will watch over them to build and to plant, declares the Lord. In those days they shall no longer say: ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’” The child’s real heritage is Life, Truth, and Love.

“Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (Eph. 4:15-16)

Although it looks like a pregnancy is going through stages, time is relative even nonexistent to the eternal God. Isaiah reiterates, “Listen to me…who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age, I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made and I will bear, I will carry and will save [deliver].” (Isa. 46:3-4)

From Genesis: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them…and God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Gen. 1:26 & 31)

From 21st Century Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “Everything good or worthy, God made.”

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