29 May 2008

Hosea 4 :1-3; Romans 8:19

The LORD has brought these charges against those who live in the land:

• There is no faith, no love, and no knowledge of God in the land.

• There is cursing, lying, murdering, stealing, and adultery.
People break {my laws}, and there is one murder after another.

• That is why the land is drying up,
and everyone who lives in it is passing away.
Wild animals, birds, and fish are dying.

. . . All creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal who his children are . . .

24 May 2008

What's Fat Got to Do With It?

Here's an excerpt from an article from www.mercola.com, written by Dr. Mercola. I share his desire to encourage people to take control of their health. For me, personally--not that health is a measure of faith--but, I want to "toughen my body with punches and make it my slave so that I will not be disqualified after I have spread the Good News to others (1 Corinthians 9:27)." I don't want God to say, "Jason, you sure could have done a lot more good if you hadn't been so out-of-shape, out-of-energy, and out-to-lunch." Instead of focusing on looking or feeling better, though, I think it is about letting God work on us. I suppose this is an unpopular dream these days, to connect faith with matter . . . alas, here it is:

What’s Fat Got to Do With It?

Contrary to the popular belief that fat cells should be banished, they are an active and intelligent part of your body, producing hormones that impact your brain, liver, immune system and even your ability to reproduce.

What’s more, the hormones your fat cells produce impact how much you eat and how much fat you burn.

One of these hormones is leptin, which sends signals that reduce hunger, increase fat burning and reduce fat storage.

That is, if your cells are communicating properly and can “hear” this message.

If you eat a diet that is high in sugar and grains, the sugar gets metabolized to fat (and is stored as fat in your fat cells), which in turn releases surges in leptin. Over time, if your body is exposed to too much leptin, it will become resistant to it (just as your body can become resistant to insulin).

And when you become leptin-resistant, your body can no longer hear the messages telling it to stop eating and burn fat -- so it remains hungry and stores more fat.

Leptin-resistance also causes an increase in visceral fat, sending you on a vicious cycle of hunger, fat storage and an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and more.

As Sadaf Shadan states in Nature, there are two contributing factors to an increase in fat mass: the number of fat cells, and how much fat each of them stores (their volume).

So essentially, you can have fewer fat cells and still be overweight because each cell is “maxed out,” if you will, or alternatively, you can have more fat cells overall and be at an ideal weight simply because your fat cells are functioning properly and not storing excess fat.

Either way, you’re in control here.

What do you think?

17 May 2008

The Foot, Her Father's Music Gig, and Friends

Here is our daughter's foot--how flexible is that!

And this is how she likes to stick her foot in her mouth, but believe me--she doesn't get it from me!

Wailin' with Daddy . . . at Starbucks thanks to Rusty and his boss, Priscilla . . .

We had some out-of-control guests . . .

. . . but, they were soothed by the music, I guess . . .

These are my number-one fans--I couldn't have better supporters! We made $38 in "Whaley Homemade" CD sales.

Several weeks after Daddy's gig, we had some Aussie visitors . . . Their daughter went through high school with Nicole. John and Sandy have been driving across America, especially trying to stay on Route 66, which is easier said than done.

10 May 2008

The Pattern of Salvation

What will help you see the faith-feelings that the Spirit produces?

What I mean by faith-feelings are things like:

love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Really, though, these are not only feelings, but activities. Galatians 5:22 says these are the character traits that the holy spirit produces. So how can we grow a garden of these feelings? Raise a harvest of those activities?

I would say,
1. Open your eyes. Every resource in the universe is at God's fingertips and He's generous beyond measure. The earth produces more than enough food for all its inhabitants. The problem of starvation and extinction is a symptom of our broken relationship with God (Hosea 4:1-3). If you can't see God's ability and willingness to pour out more than enough love for the taking, chances are you are squinting untrustingly at the world around you. Open your eyes to God's matchless gift-giving. (Matthew 5:45; 6:22)

2. Suffer. Perhaps your brothers sold you to slave traders. Perhaps your coworkers belittle you in front of clients. Perhaps you've been emotionally abused by your closest friend. Be willing to be persecuted for crimes you did not commit and of course for ones that you did commit. Perhaps you would be willing to die for a good person. Be willing to die for people who are not good. Pray for their forgiveness and your own while they mock you. (Romans 5:1-11)

3. Endure. Suffering usually lasts longer than it's ever lasted before. Just like high school is harder than elementary school. You don't have to do 12th grade all in your first year of school. You just have to last about 12 years. In my first half-marathon race, I had never run more than nine or ten miles on one day before, but that day I ran past the tenth mile marker and kept going--even sped up until the end of the race at 13.1 miles. Run the race marked out for you with perseverance. (Hebrews 12:1-4)

4. Become the character God created you to be. You don't choose your overall character. You receive little prompts along the way--usually from off stage. When you've forgotten your lines, remember, you can use the Bible. It has lots of examples of improvisation guided by Christ's love and spiritual conviction. Like gravity bringing rain to the earth and the sun calling the garden upward, you receive God's character patiently, yet with vibrance. Our part in God's story cannot be proof-texted, only life-tested. (Luke 4:1-13)

5. Confidently hope. You know that after Jesus died, he was raised. He suffered and endured to the point of death. He became the Character God intended for all of us to become. He is our second chance to become that character or at least to become of that Character. After he had learned obedience through outwardly dying and wasting away, God resurrected him outwardly just like he had been doing inwardly day by day. We don't dwell on dying and this "cruel, cruel world" that seems to hate us. We eventually get to the point that we trust God to bring new eternal life from something destroyed by death--even a new city from the ashes of the one we destroyed! (2 Corinthians 4:16-18; Revelation 21)

I think this is sort of an order of salvation. I pray our thoughts, feelings, and bodies will be renewed by this kind of pattern. :-)

04 May 2008

Ben Seriously Folds Five

I went to Memphis in May Friday night with good friends, Justin Lewis, Jacob and Lisa Parnell. We were most looking forward to seeing Ben Folds perform, but it rained on and on so they had to keep Ben's piano under plastic tarps (as well as the rest of the stage). It was disappointing not to see Ben. We did catch the last song performance of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts playing the Sly & Family Stone classic, "I Am Everyday People". It was really good. I was impressed with how youthful and energetic Joan was, and of course her lead guitarist who seemed to be in his twenties. After standing in the rain and mud puddles waiting for Ben to play between 9 and 10:30, they packed his piano up in a big box and we headed over to another stage for Sheryl Crow's performance. We caught Johnny Lang's last song there. He was playing guitar like crazy, but you could hardly hear it over the--BASS! I just almost hate whoever was responsible for the sound. Good grief! I realize God created that person, but who on earth are they trying to appeal to? The people who drive around in the bass-mobiles? All you can hear is low vibrations pounding into your chest. As far as I know, most people don't have those kinds of stereos. I have no intention of marginalizing those people from society, but . . . Okay, enough of a rant . . .

The same sound person was in charge of the music playing between the artists' live performance unfortunately. But, suddenly, the rain stopped/slowed long enough for Sheryl Crow and her band to come out and perform. We noticed her friends/family getting back/side stage to enjoy the show from beneath the shelter of plastic tarp. There just wasn't enough tarp to go around, but I'm not complaining about that, just the ridiculously loud level of the bass. Anyway, Sheryl did great. She started with "Shine Over Babylon", which I really like. All the other songs were great, too, but I don't particularly care for the song, "The First Cut is the Deepest," by Cat Stevens, which she covered. Anyway, I felt like I had to watch a couple of Ben Folds performances to make up for missing him Friday night. So I embedded youtubes of Ben playing probably my favorite one of his that I've heard, "Underground". As a side note, an acapella choir from York University performed a version of this song.

Here's another video of the song "Philosophy":

01 May 2008

Time: What the World Eats

Click on the title of this blog for a compelling photo gallery of "What the world Eats". See how much processed food some families have compared to others? Consider cost difference between those who buy unprocessed and boxes packages.

I've been saying it for about a year now. We need to convert our food industry paradigm to one that recognizes the inherent ability of the earth to produce food. Of course it would be a challenging and long-term shift, but presently, multi-national biotech companies are determined to genetically modify and patent every seed so that we get more (supposedly) of less variety (certainly), taking millions of food varieties that the earth produces naturally and abundantly. They are winnowing the myriad of plant varieties down to a single line of corn, a single line of soybean, etc., patenting them.

This leads grocery buyers to eating less variety. We it processed corn products. We sweeten our other foods with corn syrup. We feed the meat and eggs we eat with corn. But, can humans live well solely based on between one and four actual foods?

People like me have a choice with regard to food. We can seek knowledge and mostly reliable information. But what about people from lower and middle classes in america and other western countries? They're mostly eating out of plastic bags and packages. Everything they eat seems cheap because it has so little actual food leftover from the processing. And can it even be considered cheap when so many health problems are unavoidable?

Can anything be done, though?

1. Eat a wide variety of fresh foods. Enjoy the earth's abundant biodiversity in your body, mind, and soul. Be nourished!

2. Avoid processed foods. They will only make you hungry, sleepy, and depressed.

3. Plant as many unadulterated seeds as you can. Grow gardens amazingly!

Look at my friend, Corey's, okra from last summer!

Corey planted this okra in--believe me--not the best soil. There were bicycle parts in it, pieces of rubber, etc. He basically took about a wheelbarrow-full of dirt out so it wasn't so packed in. The soil swell out to fill the rest of the space on its own. Then, he broadcast seed over it--no rows. Then, he scattered a bag of organic top soil over the top of the seeds. He planted marigolds on each corner around the okra and other crops--insect predators are marigold-averse. Corey never fertilized. He merely watered and picked off a few bugs in the evenings. And I've never seen more productive and strong okra plants. It got even taller than what you see--he had to stand on a chair and reach way above his head to pick it. GENETICALLY MODIFY THAT!

But, you're wondering, "How can we do this bio-intensive farming on a grand scale? For those who don't want to grow their own?" If agricultural companies own the seed, they can afford to transport food from the money they make on seed sales and sprays and fertilizers. They can maintain low prices, right?

My answer: I don't know how to make the shift from industrialized food monocultures to all human beings having local access to exuberant varieties. But there are those who have been thinking about this and researching and experimenting for many years.

4. Search "biointensive", "John Jeavons", "Ecology Action", "Southside Community Land Trust". Also, here is a good article on What a fossil-fuel free agriculture might look like: http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2007/12/5/184641/855. And definitely read about the Land Institute: http://www.landinstitute.org/. Finally, give some money to Healing Hands International, http://www.hhi.org/.