Friday, October 29, 2010

The Glory of King Solomon

I would love to enter a time travel machine and observe Israel at the time of Solomon’s reign. His father’s military efforts had paid off making the nation secure and peaceable. It had wide borders and the people were happy and well fed.

King Solomon was a fascinating figure. He was king of Israel at the height of its glory. The whole world sought audience with Solomon to listen his great wisdom. He was a writer with three books to his credit in the canon of Scripture. He had an intimate knowledge of the natural world. He was extremely wealthy and perhaps one of the few men in all of history to have every material desire fulfilled.

It is interesting that Solomon was a child of the union between David and Bathsheba—the relationship that represented the great sin of David’s life. David committed both adultery and murder to make Bathsheba his wife. But God granted his plea for forgiveness. And a son of this union becomes king and reigns at the time of the greatest glory of ancient Israel. God gave David a fresh start through Solomon. It is a beautiful example of God’s mercy, grace and propensity to offer second chances.

Yet Solomon drifted away from worshiping Yahweh who gave him everything on a golden platter. It is a marvel that some people, who have all the world has to offer can completely blow it. Solomon was able to avoid disaster but he set in motion the downward spiral of the nation of Israel into ruin. First he followed after the way of the kings at that time and focused on the exclusive goals of wealth, power and an excessively large harem. Then he allowed his foreign wives to lead him astray and worship other gods. How did they manage to have so much influence on him anyway? I thought women were powerless in the ancient world. Yet they managed to corrupt the wisest man alive. The nation of God’s chosen people, for whom He cared so much, starts to unravel following the death of Solomon.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

“Nature is Cruel but We Don’t Have to Be”

I loved the movie Temple Grandin. Not only was it a well done film but it was a most interesting story based on a real person’s life. It helped me understand autism better and it reveals how people with ‘disabilities’ can make amazing contributions to society and our way of living.

It stars Claire Danes who does an amazing job of portraying Temple Grandin, a woman with autism who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s when there was little understanding of the condition. While a physician recommended that little Temple be institutionalized, her mother fought the system and worked hard to teach Temple how to talk and behave, enabling her to complete her education and go onto college. Temple continued with her education to complete both a masters and a doctorate degree in animal science. Her career in livestock management has transformed the means of transporting cattle to the slaughter house so that they enter it calmly, dying without pain and in dignity. Temple has a love, compassion and respect for the animals that give us life and health. Almost half of the slaughter plants and livestock farms in the US use her designs.

That is encouraging because I believe that meat is a healthy source of nutrition for me. I know that diet is a very individual thing but my health problems with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have made me sensitive to what makes me feel healthy and nourished.

I now wish to explore finding, purchasing and preparing grass-fed meat. I would prefer to eat meat from animals that are raised on pastureland rather than crowded livestock farms. I have learned that it is healthier for human consumption and I assume that it provides a better life for the animals. Maybe someday farmers will rip up some of the vast fields of corn (the source of the poisonous high fructose corn syrup) and wheat (the source of mammoth amounts of highly refined foods and gluten) and use the land for pasture.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Recovering the Joy

A chronic illness does not have to take all the joy out of life. My passion for hiking is an example. I have always loved the great outdoors; nature, wild life, gorgeous views, and the invigoration that comes with exercise. I formerly held visions of spending the rest of my life conquering the ‘fourteeners’ of Colorado. But then Chronic Fatigue Syndrome invaded my life and I had to abandon those dreams. It was very painful. But I have come to the realization that I can continue to hike and enjoy the outdoors. It simply has to be done in smaller pieces.

Acadia National Park is a wonderful place to hike with trails for people of varying abilities. For those who love to hike but are restricted by a health problem, there are many short sweet trails winding through some of the most stunning beauty. It is a treat and I’m relishing every bit of it!

I do lose the opportunity to boast. Saying, “I climbed the 173 foot summit of Bar Island!” is not nearly as impressive as “I climbed 14,115 foot Pikes Peak!” But maybe there are more important things than my pride.