Meat oh Meat, Why Must I Love Thee?

I recently watched Cowspiracy, a documentary by Kip Andersen whose most recent cut is directed by Leonardo DiCaprio. It blew me away. The case against animal protein has been around for a while. While I’d acknowledge the merits to what they were saying, I’d rationalize and find other justifications to keep eating meat. I know the benefits of eating vegetables over meat…and I don’t consider myself a heavy meat eater anyways. I try to keep to serving sizes as recommended by Health Canada even though I know the recommendations by WHO is actually lower. I also acknowledge there are some awfully inhumane animal processing practices out there, because how else are you going to produce so much meat so cheaply and quickly? So I try to by organic or free range or grass fed where possible (read: convenient). I generally don’t have moral issues with eating animal products. I feel that domestic animals are for human use and consumption, so long as we treat the animal with respect and not take it for granted. Kind of like in Avatar where they thank the animal for giving its life for their food. Plus I’m Cantonese and we take pride in our diversity of food and flavors and ability to use the whole animal whether it is from above ground, on the ground, below ground or in the sea. There is very little wasted. 

But this documentary…wow. Scientists predict fishless oceans by 2048…that’s in my lifetime. I do not want that kind of world for us or Nessness. The numbers behind how much agribusiness negatively and devastatingly impacts our planet just astounds me. It’s not as though you could fudge the numbers and round up and sway the argument in its favor. And it IS very curious that none of our local champions of environment care organizations mentions how eating animal products have a direct impact on our environment. Could it really be that the massive and enormously wealthy animal lobbyist groups have bought everyone out? 

Each day, a person who eats a vegan diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 sq ft of forested land, 20 lbs CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life. – Cowspiracy

If enough of us change from our meat-centered life-styles, these are some real numbers that can actually help the health of the planet more than recycling or conserving water and electricity in your home. But going from meat lover to vegan? Or to vegetarian? Or even in just cutting red meat? I’m struggling. Why didn’t I watch this AFTER I made some ox-tail stew or osso buco or rack of lamb or prime rib roast??? 

I’m working it out…struggling. I might not even be “that bad” in meat consumption (much less than 9oz a day which is the American daily average.) But one thing is certain, I have to change. Question is how? Follow our journey as we try to figure this out.

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Dumb quote of the day

"Recognize that you are the truth."

“Recognize that you are the truth.”

This quote was on my tea bag and I had to respond. We, whose hearts are full of deceit and lies and agendas and hidden intentions, are far from being the truth.

Believing we are the truth?

This is the problem with the world.

It doesn’t recognize what Truth is anymore. It has changed the definition of the Truth to something much less than it is. Truth is pure and undiscerning of people’s feelings or political correctness or circumstance. Truth is unchanging. We are not. We are tossed by waves and whims and feelings and tides and storms and opinions. We are not the truth.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

How to Heal From That??

Last week I attended the screening of “We Were Children” and also had the privilege of hearing the stories from those whose parents had gone through residential school. The film follows the story of two Aboriginal children, Lyna and Glen, as they endured residential school in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, respectively. These schools aimed to “kill the Indian in the child”. The effects of physical, emotional and sexual trauma they survived through persist into all aspects of their adult lives. It was such a heavy film to take in…I’m still processing…but here are some thoughts:

The First Nations “problem” we perceive to have today is just the symptom of  the incredible brokenness the residential school survivors carried. Many of these children were separated, sometimes forcefully, from their parents from the age of 4 to 18. The schools forbade touching, provided no affection, taught no social or life skills and the rich family-oriented culture they were taken from was effectively erased. In addition, attacks and abuses were heaped on physically, mentally and spiritually. No one believed you even if you told them you were abused because “why would the priests do that”? So you carry the shame, the hurt, the guilt, the anger, the injustice, the rage, the helplessness and hopelessness in silence. Upon “graduating” you were tossed back out into the world but now have no idea how to cope with the new freedoms. No ideas how to be in relationship with others. No idea how to be a husband or a wife or a mother or father. Many turned to alcohol to numb the memories. Many took their own lives. Many left their own wounded children in their wake. And the children of residential school survivors are the First Nations elders we have today. They’ve faced abuse of all sorts simply because their parents (the survivors) didn’t know anything else and many have passed that brokenness on…so the generational curse really does reach into the third and forth generations.

One lady from the Haida tribe shared about her memories from before she was taken into residential school. Their one tribal law was to respect and honor each other. And so they did…everyone’s conduct hinged on this law. Families were tight and loving. Homes were clean and decorated with flowers and seashells. Everyone took care of each others needs. It was a happy time.

Apparently, the atrocities seen in this film is still considered to be a mild version of what some have experienced. I can’t imagine. Also, I was horrified to learn that Hilter’s concentration camps were inspired by the Canadian residential schools. And even more sickened by how these schools were run by various “Christian” churches. What terrible terrible representation of God and His love!! But I am reminded that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12) The end of the Story has been written and Christ will conquer. All who trust in Him will not be victims but victors.

Back to our First Nations…how does healing begin?? How does healing reach those wounds from generations back? For those of us bearing Christ’s name, how might we be agents of reconciliation today? The end of the Story might already be written but right now we get to be part of the action. Hearing the stories from Christian First Nations that night bore witness to the incredible power of healing from God. How do we fit into this picture, this journey of healing? That’s what I want to know…and be part of.

Half Full or Empty, it’s still only half

(Image not mine)

Our days may come to seventy years,
or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
If only we knew the power of your anger!
Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:10-12 NIV

I was having a philosophical conversation with Skywalker on the expectations we have for our lives. Some imagine life turning out a certain way and are dragged down when they can’t seem to get a break. Some believe life/fate/higher powers that be just have it out for them, destined to forever be held down. I believe life is meant to be enjoyed but there will always be times of trial and sorrow and struggle.

From the passage above, the best of our years are but trouble and sorrow. Basically, the majority of our life isn’t going to be so dreamy….over 50% of it.  And that sets my expectations for how life will turn out. Life in this fallen and broken world will never be totally full. Whether we see the glass half full or half empty, we only get half a glass. So for me, whatever set back or tragedy or wrench thrown in will be attributed to the empty half of my glass….and I pray it will not prevent me from recognizing and enjoying or making the most of every drop of the full half of my glass. Our days are numbered…yes Lord help me live it wisely and fully.

Endearing nicknames I grew up with

Have I told you my nicknames as I grew up?
These are the best I can do in terms of literal translations:

Big Cry Baby – My Dad reminds me, more and more now, of how they didn’t go out to eat for 2-3 years because I cried so much. I was colic for the first little while. And I had a big set of lungs apparently.

Bread Head – I have corners on my head making my head a little squarish. And with my chubby baby cheeks, I looked like a square loaf of bread. So…the name stuck. Thankfully, the squarish-ness has decreased over the years.

Big Head Yan – Yan is my Chinese name. It means “Happy”…which is a little ironic considering how I was also the Big Cry Baby. Anyways. My head was big. Think of a bobble head. That was me. As my Dad would comment, I had a big head with big eyes, a big nose, big mouth, big face and big protruding ears. So endearing.

Big Lazy Yan – This nickname was given in Junior High I think. Because I was lazy. I am. Well…sometimes I’m just trying to be efficient…but I’ll totally admit to being lazy.

Big Fat Piggy – I’ve never actually been “fat”. My heaviest looking days were around age 13/14, first year university with the whole Freshman Fifteen thing and then a couple years into taking an office job where I just sit all day every day…with regular access to Tim Hortons. When I travel to hot/humid climates, I also tend to retain water…so whenever my Dad sees pictures from such vacations, he’ll comment. But, meh. I know when I’m not looking as healthy as I could be. And I mean this in the realistic sense of “healthy”…with no comparisons to what I “could” be looking if I had a personal trainer, personal chef and cosmetic procedures done.

And there you go. Yes, all nicknames were coined by my Dad. Yes it means you develop some thicker skin growing up. =) But it’s totally endearing to hear my Dad call me by these nicknames still.