Eating Animals…boo! (a.k.a Toying with becoming vegan)

I have found myself in a dietary quandary lately. I finished reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer about 3 weeks ago and since then have not been able to eat many meals with relative moral comfort (don’t get me wrong, I am still eating whatever I want but am just feeling bad about it afterwards). Not since reading Gandhi- which catapulted me into vegetarianism 2.5 years ago- have I been so convicted of the far reaching effects my eating choices have.

Normally a fiction writer ( Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close), this is Foer’s first stab at a non-fiction work. It is based on his own journey with dietary choices set off by the upcoming birth of his first child. Though definitely not a book that champions the vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, it is one that will cause you to think about how the choices you make at the grocery store or restaurant impact more than just your waistline or pocketbook.

At least it did for me. Can I eat sushi now that I know 140 other animals are killed in the process of catching enough of the right fish to make me one Spicy Tuna Roll? Can I eat that pound of shrimp now knowing the trawling it takes to collect them destroys miles of underwater ocean environment that takes years to replace? Can I buy eggs from Walmart or Kroger knowing that more than 250 million male chicks are slaughtered at birth each year simply because they were not blessed with the right parts to lay eggs while we mock with this waste the 250 million+ people around the world who go hungry each day? Should I, as a father, make bold dietary decisions now for my child so that a new generation grows up that is aware of these issues and takes action to make things better? Needless to say, every time I sit down to eat something other than a salad or potato, these questions constantly swarm through my head.

So, I have been toying with taking another step in my dietary evolution and becoming a vegan. The mockery we have made of the blessings we have been given, I can no longer ignore. We are dishonoring created life through our gluttonous drive to have more meat, eggs and dairy products sooner- regardless of the negative side effects it has on us, our children, and the animals used to produce these products. But there are several problems with me becoming a vegan:

    1. I don’t really know any vegans so I am a little unsure of how to truly become one
    2. It seems expensive. Can my budget handle it?
    3. I am not the only one in the house. Can my wife and kid make that commitment as well? If not, it would be nigh impossible to make it happen

Any helpful thoughts out there would be greatly appreciated. I did want to give a shout out to a new blog- Soundly Vegan – that I ran into over at E’s blog. I respect their decision to go vegan because, in their own words, “we’re now a part of a much bigger cause by honoring life”. That is something I can get behind.

I have plans to make the Guajillo Chili Bean Burgers here soon. If you are around Jtown next Tuesday let me know and you can sample them with us.


The Gospel According to Lost by Chris Seay

Lost by Chris Seay So, I was really excited when I found out this was one of the books I could review and as soon as it became available I signed up for it. Being a huge fan of the show Lost, I ripped into the package and began immediately to read what I was hoping would be a great book linking my favorite earthly obsession with my favorite heavenly one.

Here’s how my reading of this book went. Read Prologue….love it. Read chapters 1-3….still love it. Read chapters 4-9….is this really all it is going to be about? Chapter 10….maybe not, maybe it has more. Read chapters 10-13….nope, this is really all it is going to be about? Put book down for 2 weeks….remember I have to finish it to get a new one. Read chapters 14-16….maybe I am missing the point of the book; maybe it is a lot better than I thought. Read chapter 17….nope.

The premise of the entire book is to revel in a story without being concerned with the conclusion. Chris wants you to do this with the TV show Lostbut, more importantly, to do it with your own spiritual story. Just as most viewers of Lostreturn week after to week despite the constant confusion and seemingly irreconcilable plots; so too must we be enthralled with our own spiritual stories without always having to know where we are being led.

As far as bringing me to revel in the story of Lost , this book did an excellent job. It presented the best Judaic-Christian interpretation of LostI have ever heard of personally pondered (I mean, which one of us hasn’t considered it to be purgatory, heaven and hell, etc.). But, sadly, this is all it had to offer. Each chapter is filled page after page with character’s stories and how they might represent some Judaic-Christian principle or person. However, there was very little in any chapter (and none in some) that would connect me to my own spiritual story and rejoice in it.

If you are looking for an excellent Judaic-Christian interpretation of Lost, I give it 5 out of 5 muffins.
If you are looking for a book to connect deeper with God through a look at your own spiritual story, I give it 1 out of 5 muffins.

Jesus Holding the Inspired Word- the Constitution

Watch video below then my comments at the bottom.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

After watching this video, I sat dazed in front of my computer screen for several minutes pondering what I had just witnessed. Really!? Jesus holding the Constitution of the United States in his hands while past Presidents, patriots and current military heroes bow a knee as if they are witnesses to the truth that Jesus came to reveal? What ignorant arrogance. When Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life”, he didn’t follow that up with, “and, one day, I will bring forth on a new continent a great nation, conceived in liberty and founded on the proposition that all men are created equal.”

It is crap like this that makes me less and less proud to be an American. We take the tag line, “one nation under God”, to mean that we are the new Israel. That we are the new anointed ones of God. That we are the guardians and barriers of his standard of truth to the ends of the earth. What poppycock! The arrogance it takes to believe these things is outstanding to me. And on top of that, a Christian shared this with me because they believe in this message. And as long as it is this message that Christians are promoting, the true Message that was sent into the whole world will never be heard.

Done. I have to puke now.

Snuggies, Weezer and acoustic music

Though deeply saddened recently by Weezer’s profiteering sell-out to a Snuggie infocommercial simply to sell a new album (I mean this is one of the bands that drove me to be alternative, maybe naively so, back in the mid-90s), I do take some solace in several titles on the album:

    I’m Your Daddy
    The Girl Got Hot
    Let It All Hang out

But my favorite one so far (I have been replaying it nonstop from YouTube since I have yet to purchase the album [Thanks YouTube]) is this one. And since I really love when artists release acoustic versions of their songs, I have chosen to post the version of the song they do with Sara Bareilles. Great, great song.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The Liturgical Year by Joan Chittister

Prologue: I have begun reviewing books for Thomas Nelson Publishing so these book reviews will appear everyonce in awhile. If you would like free books in exchange for posting reviews on your blog check out the add on my sidebar.

Let’s be honest, spirituality can become sadly mundane. Sure, we can get pumped up for special events like Christmas, Easter, or a Friends-and-Family Day at church; but moving closer to God day by day is something that most Christians struggle with.

“The Liturgical Year” strives to bring floundering Christians hope by upholding the historical importance of the Liturgical calendar. The chapters alternate between a discussion of specific liturgical dates with the underlying traits that bring meaning to those days.

The joy in the Life born at Christmas looks forward to that sacrificial Life of Good Friday looks forward to the celebration of Life for all raised at Easter looks forward to the responsibility for believers to carry on that Life at Pentecost. For good measure, throw in the asceticism, suffering, fidelity and wisdom that we are called to during the Ordinary Times of our life, and a spirituality is developed, dedicated to the Life.

Raised in a conservative, evangelical church, the Liturgy has been unfamiliar to me until recent years (if you are wholly unfamiliar with it, this book is not for you). This book helped me move past a simple understanding of a calendar to a deeper appreciation for its true intentions. Though I longed for a deeper discussion of the theology behind the Liturgical calendar, this book did instill in me a greater desire to grow day by day with my Lord and Savior. Overall: 3 out of 5 muffins.

Awesome…just awesome

Even though at age 14 I though Muppet’s Treasure Island was the best thing ever created, I must say that this has far outdone even that. (Also, if ever proof was needed that Jim Henson smoked a lot of the good herb, here it is.)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Pee Sermon

So, I was a little premature in making my posting for today. This one beats the midget choir singing Blink182. Sorry I can’t embed the video- WordPress wants me to pay for that luxury or use Firefox for anything other than Youtube and Google Video.

Pee Sermon video