Long before Bittman, the classic, quietly bestselling cookbook about health, faith, and justice

There were no shortage of nutty Christian diet books in and around the churches and homes I frequented as a child and teenager.Most notable among these, for me, was Gwen Shamblin's Weigh Down Diet. For whatever help it may have offered to some people, for me, its directives -- only eat when famished, take tiny bites, eat slowly, fill up your stomach with calorie free liquids, etc. -- supplemented my already-regimented, calorie-counting ways.I'm thankful that The Weigh Down Diet, and … [Read more...]

No, vaccinating your children (or not) is not a “personal decision”

Actually, it's the exact opposite of that.Religion is sometimes said to make people abandon reason in order to maintain allegiance to their faith.But I'd say that American politics are threatening to do the very same thing.The President says "you should get your kids vaccinated" -- mind you, he doesn't mandate a thing -- and vaccination instantly becomes a question of partisanship?Rand Paul and Chris Christie both stepped up quickly to bang the 'freedom' drum, as if President … [Read more...]

Roald Dahl, Whose Daughter Died of Measles: “It is really almost a crime to let your children go unimmunized.”

I'll just make it clear from the outset where I stand: I believe that every Christian, especially the social justice minded, has a duty to vaccinate themselves and their children.For most of today I have been sitting on the couch with my nearly 7 year old son, who has been vomiting and taking tiny sips of water at regular intervals since 6:15 this morning. I am not particularly worried. He is already improving. I am sure it is some nasty little bug or another that will soon run its course. … [Read more...]

Your right to forgo vaccines ends in our shared airspace

This piece from The Onion, "I don't vaccinate my child because it's my right to decide what eliminated diseases come roaring back" is, next to Eula Biss' sterling book, On Immunity, the most appropriate response to  the vaccine "controversy" that I have ever seen: As a mother, I put my parenting decisions above all else. Nobody knows my son better than me, and the choices I make about how to care for him are no one’s business but my own. So, when other people tell me how they think I should be r … [Read more...]

Why you should still bring canned goods to food drives

Food Drive. Photo courtesy vastateparksstaff via Flickr Creative Commons.

We live in a time in which most of us are so savvy that we're in danger of being cynical; so wise to the way the world "actually" works and exploring the hidden side of everything that we are apt to do nothing.Foreign aid? Creates dependency, is imperialism disguised as benevolence, more harm than good.Altruism? Just another way of asserting one's superiority, ensuring the survival of one's seed; an ego stroke."Gift" catalogs where little kids can "buy goats" for families in … [Read more...]

On taking communion: why it’s okay to make crunching noises

Bread and Wine #1. Photo courtesy KHRawlings via Flickr Creative Commons.

It may not seem like it, but this is a question of serious theological import: it is definitely okay -- no, more than merely 'okay,'  it is meet and right and your bounden duty to audibly chew your communion bread in church.When I was a very small girl -- no older than five or six -- a young woman in our church, who I liked and admired a great deal, made an offhand comment, in reference to taking communion, that I have never forgotten:"I always feel weird, crunching in church. I sort of … [Read more...]

Talking with children about death and God and Christmas (and much more)

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One of my sons talks a lot about death, and it comes up in the strangest conversational contexts.Such as:"I like to talk baby-talk." "Why? Do you want to not grow up and always be my baby?" "No, I want to not grow up so I don't have to die."Yeah. Heavy thoughts going on inside that mind of his.He will then sometimes go on to enumerate his fears about people we know who are elderly, or who are ill; people, that is, who seem to be a bit closer to death than we.This same … [Read more...]

A Very Foodie Giveaway

giveaway prizes final(1)

Let me be clear: I do *not* think that right now is "the most wonderful time of the year."It's dark. It's cold. It's rainy.And all the news is bad.You know it's rough when you start to feel jealous of the cat. My cat spends his time with his head pressed against the heating grate, sleeping, or else eating.Eating.That is the great thing about this time of year. It's good napping weather, sure, but it is even better eating weather. All the baking you didn't do in the summer … [Read more...]

Tis the season for really sad songs in church

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It is really no wonder that Western European Christians began celebrating Advent in the days and weeks leading up to the winter solstice, the time when the light starts creeping in, ever so slowly.But what's weirdly incongruous is how American culture -- and many churches right along with it -- "celebrates Christmas"  beginning sometime in October or November with all the holly jollying and ebullient, sometimes false, cheer.I have heard that many Americans find themselves feeling … [Read more...]

Five minutes that’ll make your day — and your life — better.

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"Being more mindful""Being more present""Meditating more""Spending more time in prayer""Nurturing the spirit more"Please tell me that I am not the only one who feels guilty at the mention of "yoga," "meditation," "mindfulness" and "prayer," with my first thoughts being something along the lines of I should do that MORE.And please tell me that I am not the only one who often feels as if there truly isn't room for anything MORE in my life -- that my responsibilities, w … [Read more...]


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