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Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Push Towards Meditation and What It Means for Christians

Everywhere, ok not exactly "EVERYWHERE", but in a Big way,the modern push towards meditation and "mindfulness" has quickened.

As a christian this change in society has been both inspiring and alarming, comforting and disturbing.

When I go to a local gym, there are "Yoga" classes teaching meditation.
Even in the public school system, some of the teachers are taking the time to teach the class room of vulnerable minds, how to meditate and practice their own version of "mindfulness".

What Encourage me is the following:

1/ I am encouraged that society has become self aware of the need for stress reduction strategies in the classroom and the work place. We can't control stress, but we certainly can learn how to deal more constructively with it in our daily lives. We CAN control how we react to stress.
2/ There is a spiritual quality to meditation which has been touted by such business leaders such as
Ariana Huffington and others. Ariana Huffington gives credit to the Biblical applications of meditation as described in the Bible, for the promotion of interaction with God and listening for His impressions.
3/ It is always a healthy sign when leaders in society allow and even encourage their workers to
take "meditation" breaks during the work day. This practice allows a christian to spend time with God in the practice of prayer, scripture study, and meditation in the scriptures and prayer.
4/ Meditation and rest are cousins. Those who promote meditation promote rest and usually are peace loving folks. Who doesn't like a peaceful person?

What Concerns me about meditation and mindfulness training:

1/ I don't want my children to be taught spiritual principles outside of the teachings of the Bible. Although
I want my children to learn how to "self calm" via deep breathing and focusing on God and His word, I am concerned that some of the modern bents of meditation training does not respect a traditional understanding of christianity or the Bible, but has assimilated a few concepts from many of the major religious groups of the world and mixed them into some kind of strange new unscriptural religion.

2/ Some meditation techniques involve "emptying" the mind, which is not what the Bible teaches. The bible teaches us to renew our minds by filling it with God's Word, as revealed to humanity in the Holy Bible.

3/ What precisely is "mindfulness"? Is is being aware of what we are thinking constantly? Is it obsessing over
ourselves and making us into even yet more self centered humans?
Not to be too simple minded....but what should our "minds" be full of???
According to some gurus, our minds should be blank slates? But who are we clearing our minds for?
For God to write on? Yes, that would be great. But what if we are being encouraged to empty and clear our minds in order for some false religion to start to fill our minds with their priorities?

I don't know about you, but the only "being" or "person" who is permitted to write His thoughts onto my mind, is God, Jesus and His Holy Spirit. I know that narrows down my options, but that is a choice I have made in calling myself a Christian. Christian IS a narrow road, and does not embrace any and all religions. To pretend that Christianity embraces any and all religious teachings is simply wrong and inaccurate.

So how about you, my friend in Cyberspace? Does modern meditation comfort you? Or does it set off warning bells in your heart?
Looking forward to reading your comments,


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Don't Throw Out that Pumpkin! Make Old Fashioned Fried Pumpkin Seeds!

Some of my neighbors make displays around this time of year with whole bright orange pumpkins....They don't even carve them up, they simply arrange them..... perhaps with some other decorations to make their front porch look "harvesty" and abundant.

Well, as a professional scavenger, I refuse to let these beautiful pumpkins go to waste.
I was also given some great big pumpkins via my local Fruitshare organization that also has the same
"Waste not, want not" mentality.

So, our family set about to fry up some good ole fashioned pumpkin seeds and I'd like to share the simple and low cost process with you. Since we fried them in vegetable shortening and only seasoned them with salt, they are actually a vegan item. Yay :)

So hear goes......
 First you get a fresh whole pumpkin and cut a hole in it big enough to reach your hand in to collect the raw seeds. It's best to use a pumpkin that no one has tampered with first....no holes, bruises or carvings at all.
If you pumpkin is whole and complete, then the seeds inside will be perfectly fresh and ready to fry. Pumpkins stay fresh longest when they remain unopened and uncarved. Storing whole pumpkins is best done in a cool place such as outside or in a cool basement or garage.
Then you place all the collected seeds into a container complete with all the gushy orange odd pieces that come from the inner pumpkin.

Then you wash the seeds in a collander or some kind of sifter until the seeds are clean and free of all debri. If you don't own a real sieve, then you can also use the upper pot of a double boiler and they work well too....as the holes in the upper pot of a double boiler are small enough to wash down and away the extra orangey stuff while not allowing the seeds to go escape down the drain.
Then you melt at least three large heaping tablespoons of vegetable shortening in your favorite frying pan or sauce pan. Add some salt to the seeds as well. Just use your individual taste to make sure you have just the right amount of salt.
Voila, it will probably take you about 10-15 minutes to fry up one pan of pumpkin seeds.
Take care to let them cool down a bit before you nibble.

Tasty and fresh and a great source of fiber as well.