February 13, 2010

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Do You Know What You're Eating? What if I told you that the food you're eating comes from four main companies? That the meat is from animals from only thirteen slaughter-houses that house hundreds of thousands of animals in stifling conditions, surrounded by their own manure, with labor provided by illegal immigrants these companies exploit and abuse? What if I told you this is causing ridiculous outbreaks of new strains of E. coli in beef and spinach and an alarming rate of Type 2 diabetes in children and adults? That the food producers' solution is to bathe their meat-- the ones you buy in grocery stores and restaurants-- with ammonia instead of simply letting cows be grass-fed instead of corn-fed? What if I told you that about 70% or more of what you buy from the supermarket is genetical modified, technologically-engineered "food products" that our body has difficulty naturally absorbing in such large quantities (high-fructose corn syrup is in everything!)? And what if I told you that the government actually subsidizes corn production so that the big "food" companies can buy corn at a cheaper price and use it to make artificial "food products", resulting in bad calories and artificial food products (from chips to soda to candy to fast food) being cheaper than real food? (A fast food burger is cheaper than a head of broccoli!) What if I told you that the FDA and USDA close an eye to all this because many of the positions are held by former execs of those multi-national food conglomerates? Troubling, isn't it? And that's just the beginning. This isn't a "green" or "liberal" agenda. This is a stewardship issue: of the earth, of animals, and of our bodies. For some fascinating research from brave journalist, read Michael Pollan. For some interesting thoughts from a Christian farmer who...
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Why I'm Observing Lent This Year I was only eight years old the last time I remember my parents going home from church on a Wednesday night with ash on their foreheads. The sights and smells and sounds from St. Paul's Anglican Church in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, left an early impression on me. But I ought not overplay my hand. The bulk of my childhood memories of faith come from "non-denominational", charismatic churches. There was the "full gospel" church in Malaysia that I attended from ages 8-10, and again at ages 13-17. The three years in between can be accounted for by my family's move from Malaysia to Portland, Oregon, where my parents attended a Bible college that was connected to another "non-denominational" church with Pentecostal leanings. When I was 17, I left Malaysia to return to the States to attend a university that was by all counts "charismatic". Thankfully I had theology professors who represented various streams of the Body of Christ, from Anglican to Catholic to Reformed to Pentecostal. Finally, for the last 10 years I've served on staff at a large "evangelical", "non-denominational" church that believes in the activity and gifts of the Holy Spirit. THE GLORY OF THE HISTORIC CHURCH CALENDAR Needless to say, the notion of observing the historic Church Calendar was remote at best. It seemed like something "traditional" churches did, while the allegedly cutting edge churches followed the "leading of the Holy Spirit." But I'm beginning to wonder if every church-- even the ones that claim to order their year by the Spirit's leading-- has a calendar, an annual rhythm of sorts. In most of the non-denominational churches I've been in, there is the Small Group Kickoff in the Fall, a Festival for children involving candy and costumes that mysteriously lands on October 31st each year, there is a...

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

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