Cultivate and Care

Apollo 11 Earth_croppedGod created everything that is. The universe; the Milky Way and all other galaxies; the Sun and all other stars; the Solar System and all other solar systems; the Moon and all other moons; the Earth and all other planets, etc. He created all life and all the ecosystems to sustain that life then He created Humankind to take care of all he created on planet Earth. With stewardship of His creation in place he declared all His creation on planet Earth as good. 

Genesis 2:15 is His mandate for humankind, His crowning creation. Here humankind is entrusted with the cultivation and care of the world He created as our home.

The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it

My struggle to take this mandate seriously has been aided by a few key insights that I want to briefly share with you.  I now believe that the purpose for which humankind was created was to be caretakers of God’s creation.

  • Creation

Our call to be responsible stewards of the environment is rooted in the biblical account of creation in which the earth was entrusted to our care. Humankind is created to cultivate and care for God’s creation.

  • Solidarity

The challenge of protecting the environment requires that the Church look beyond national, cultural, and other human boundaries to work for the common good of all. Citizens of the kingdom of God standing in solidarity can overcome any nation, any culture and any other boundaries which keep us from obeying our mandate.

  • Stewardship

Care for creation is fundamentally an act of stewardship. As faithful stewards we should receive the gift of creation gratefully, nurture it responsibly, share it justly and charitably, and return it to God abundantly.  As faithful stewards  we should love all of God’s vast creation, recognize God, the Creator, as He reveals Himself through His creation and nurture our environment to the glory of God..

  • Respect

The way we treat the environment is often mirrored in the way we treat one another. In other words the respect we show to God’s creation is reflected in the respect we have for one another. Disrespect (abuse) of the environment disproportionally impacts the poor, but impacts all of us as we are all dependent on the earth for our physical existence just as we are all dependent on God for our spiritual existence. Showing respect for this planet God has entrusted to us is just another way for us to respect one another since care for our environment is one way to see that all have their basic needs met.

Questions to ponder

  1. If we have a mandate to cultivate and care for God’s creation and we instead abuse it carelessly what does that say about our respect for God?
  2. If God made us stewards of His creation when he returns will he call us good and faithful stewards?
  3. If the Church united in solidarity against any political boundary or corporate power allowing hunger, disease and pain to flourish when its remedy already exists in God’s creation what impact would that have on how the world views the Church?
  4. Do we truly love God if we hate one another and His creation itself?
  5. Do we truly respect God if we disrespect one another and His creation itself? 

Science Shows Gluten-Free Food Isn’t Actually Any Healthier for Most of Us

Gluten or not to Gluten? That is the question.
Gluten or not to Gluten? That is the question.

   I found this article by Tom McKay in Mic very interesting.   Any comments?

Bread-eaters, beer drinkers and eating enthusiasts alike now have something to rub in the noses of their gluten-free comrades:

There’s yet more scientific evidence that a gluten-free diet may do little for one’s health.

A recent George Institute for Global Health scientists study has found no evidence that the nutritional value of gluten-free food differs significantly from baseline food products, except they offer less dietary protein.

While those with celiac disease are certainly in their own category, the study found those otherwise eating gluten-free food for their “health benefits” may be grasping at straws.

The science: The research team, whose findings were published in the British Journal of Nutrition, compared over 3,200 foods in a variety of categories, including both staples of a healthy diet and junk food like potato chips. The results revealed gluten-free foods contained less protein, but were otherwise mostly identical in levels of sodium, sugar and other nutrients.

“Gluten-free foods are essential for patients who suffer from celiac disease,” Jason Wu, the study‘s lead author, told Mic via email. But, as almost anything labeled “gluten-free” becomes increasingly popular on grocery store shelves, Wu said these products are becoming more of a staple for people who do not necessarily need them but simply associate “products that are gluten-free as being healthier.”

However, when these products are actually examined through a careful scientific lens, any such claims of elevated health properties mostly go out the window.

“We found that many products are now labelled as gluten-free, even amongst junk foods that are typically high in sugar, salt and saturated fat,” Wu told Mic. “Our results indicate that there is in fact little difference in the overall nutrition profile between gluten-free and non-gluten-free products across both core foods (e.g. bread and pasta), or junk foods (e.g. processed meats and cakes).”

Debunking gluten-free food: Claims gluten-free food is healthier have doubtless fueled skyrocketing sales of gluten-free food, which research group Mintel says rose 63% from 2012 to 2014 to $8.8 billion.

Avoiding gluten is very important for the relatively small but growing proportion of the population with celiac disease, which causes gluten to damage the intestines.

However, some gluten-free advocates go further, claiming gluten is responsible for inflammation in the dietary tract in gluten “intolerant” individuals who do not have celiac disease, as well as say gluten-free diet has beneficial impacts on gut flora. Some doctors believe increased consumption of synthetic and processed foods has led to increased gluten sensitivity.

But David S. Seres, director of medical nutrition and associate professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center’s Institute of Human Nutrition, said these claims lack scientific validity.

“Just like a vitamin making non-claims such as ‘supports heart health,’ people have it in their heads that gluten-free food will improve gut health,” Seres told Mic via email. “I think the food industry is simply riding the tide of hype and frenzy.”

Research from Peter Gibson at Monash University in Melbourne has suggested a specific group of dietary sugars known as FODMAPS typically found in higher quantities in gluten-containing foods is the most likely culprit of many supposed cases of gluten intolerance.

The bottom line: Simply put, there is “no evidence that a gluten-free diet is best for the general health-conscious public,” Seres told Mic, except for those individuals who have been diagnosed with celiac disease by a doctor or who otherwise have a “strong reason” to suspect their symptoms are directly tied to gluten consumption.

“There are numerous people with non-specific GI symptoms who claim to feel better on the diet. For these, there are possibly people with celiac disease but with negative tests,” he said. “But for most others, it is as likely to be a placebo effect as not.”

So if you really think gluten is behind your digestive woes, get a formal medical diagnosis. Otherwise, if the food itself isn’t even any healthier, then it probably isn’t worth shelling out extra for it.