Who doesn’t know the desire for a good meal, dished up with love and shared with good company? An acquaintance of mine recently did an informal poll on social media, asking if people minded eating alone. While a few conveyed enthusiasm, most said they preferred eating with friends or family. In my growing years, our dinner table was a sacred place where individual pursuits were put aside in favor of community bonding—thanking the Lord for our blessings, listening and talking, sharing ideas, debating, laughing, and enjoying each other—while savoring our meal. For many Americans, my present self included, life’s rapid pace means that eating is often mindless and solitary. It’s easy to forget that sharing physical nourishment with others has a way of nourishing the spirit as well as the body.
I’ve recently had a small, but persistent, digestive health issue that has made me change my diet and rethink my eating habits. I realized that I, a single lady with a busy housemate, was eating most of my meals alone. I didn’t take time from work to eat with my co-workers, since I don’t get a paid lunch period and didn’t want to make up the lost time. I sometimes go out to a late dinner with my tango group, or occasionally eat out with friends, but I realized that most of the time, eating had become a perfunctory action for me. Yes, I cooked nutritious food, but I ate it in a mindless way, usually as I prepared to run out the door to an evening activity. So I started making efforts to eat lunch with my coworkers. I organized a community potluck in the park. I sometimes call a family member while cooking or eating. Now, in addition to making more effort to connect with others over meals, I am more mindful about giving thanks, chewing well, breathing deeply, enjoying the flavor, and not overeating.
Continue reading Food for Thought
This year, I’ve been meditating on how peace is often found in the tension between two extremes. In March I wrote about finding peace in the tension of perspective, between the truths that every moment matters and it’s all about the big picture. This tension is one I felt particularly keenly in my role as a parent.
This month, I’m writing about another two simultaneously true extremes, and my search to find peace in the tension between the two: God’s sovereignty vs our free will.
For me, the tension of these two extremes is felt most keenly in the reality of suffering.
Continue reading Peace in Tension: Suffering
About a year ago, it was my senior year of high school. I had been accepted to Bryn Athyn College and had created an image of what it would be like. I decided that college was a bunch of young adults sitting around talking about politics. Pretty silly, I know. The funny thing is that based on the data of my first year at college, that image is more or less right. College is obviously much more than that but I had to laugh quietly anytime I found myself in that exact situation this past year because it happened surprisingly often. I thought to myself: so this is what college is like.
Looking at myself and who I was a year ago is a very strange experience. I know it sounds super corny but my first year of college has changed me and how I think. I have learned quite a lot in just one year which makes it feel like it has been a much longer chunk of time. But it also makes sense. I have done a lot of growing and have hit a lot of firsts: My first job that wasn’t cleaning or babysitting, my first time doing my taxes, my first time driving a road trip, my first car accident, the first time I’ve made a friend from scratch since elementary school, my first date, my first boyfriend, my first college show, the list just goes on and on. I feel much more capable and responsible after all that and yet college has also opened my eyes to everything else that there is to be capable of and responsible for. Continue reading My First Year
The Carmel New Church is located in Kitchener Ontario, Canada. For this spotlight, we interviewed both the Head Pastor, Brad Heinrichs and the assistant Pastor, Nathan Cole.
How long have you been in Kitchener?
Rev. Heinrichs: I have been at the Carmel New Church since 1999. From 1999-2002 I was the Assistant to the Pastor (Michael Cowley). For the last 15 years from 2002-2017 I have been the Pastor. I have had Matt Genzlinger, Ethan McCardell, Fred Chapin, and Nathan Cole as Assistants.
Rev. Cole: I started July 2008, and was ordained into the 2nd degree here in 2010. I will be starting my 9th year this July.
What’s the history of the congregation?
Our New Church School was established in 1888. The school institution predates the church congregation which started in 1891 with the official split from Convention and began operating as part of the General Church in 1892. The current location in Caryndale was set up in 1962 when the congregation moved from a downtown location out to the suburbs, starting a new church community in the neighborhood. The church has gone through major renovations in 2002 which expanded the school, and then in 2007 when another addition was added for the new high school program. Continue reading Spotlight: Carmel New Church, Canada