Meat Nate, Spiritual Guru

On Tuesday I was reading a book about creation theology and thinking about our human interconnectedness with the rest of creation and began toying with the idea of going back to being a vegetarian, as Jodi and I were before we had kids. Actually it ended about a year before having kids. Jodi decided that if she could run a marathon she was ready for the rigors of motherhood. (In hindsight she should have done an Ironman. Barefoot. In something that chafes.) So she started training for Grandma’s marathon. And she started feeling protein deficient. Around this time Micah and I took off for a two week tour and when I walked in the kitchen upon return I said, €œDo I smell a pot roast?€

€œYep.€ Jodi replied.

€œSo we’re not vegetarians anymore?€


And we’ve been eating meat ever since. Even after she finished Grandma’s. In record time.

So it’s Tuesday and I’m reading this earthy book and thinking about my friend Justin who gave up meat for lent and my friends Mari and Jon who went vegan for lent, and Micah’s pastor who got a call (from God) to not eat meat and I’m saying to myself, €œNate it’s time to quit the meat.€

And then Wednesday morning I woke up on the brink of spring, looked out the window and what do you know, it was freaking snowing.

That’s when I received the call. From God. She said: €œGo to Von Hanson’s and buy two seasoned grill steaks and a half a dozen brats. It is for the sake of your mental health and for those around you that I command you to grill out this very night as a sign of your faith in a God of warmer climates.€

Oh our God, they were good. Amazing grace good. First kiss good. Get me out of this bridesmaid dress good. Yogurt commercial good. And those were just the grill steaks.

Tonight (Good Friday just got better) I made the brats. I kid you not, I took the first three bites with one hand lifted in the air towards heaven thanking God for the sweet gift of swine. And sauerkraut. And whole grain mustard.

  • a moment of silence for the sacredness of good food –

I used to give up things for lent and for the most part I was pretty good about it. I really admire most people that give up something for lent. (The people I don’t admire are the people that give up candy or chocolate. That’s just dumb.) But I realized after a few years that the practice didn’t do much for my spiritual life €“ in fact more and more it became about me and less and less about Christ. So I quit giving up stuff for lent and watched my spiritual life take flight. Like a penguin.

I’m hesitant to talk much about any spiritual disciplines I might approach but I’ll put one out there and then I’ll tell you why I’m putting it out there and then I’ll tell you even more.

For the last four years I’ve done a detox/fast of some sort, ideally starting with the Monday after Easter. I’m telling you this because the one year I didn’t do it my friend Jonathan blogged about his juice fasting and it got me back on track with my own plan. So I’m telling you all this so that just maybe you’d be inspired to give it a shot yourself.

Now I’ll tell you even more. Here’s the nuts and bolts of it, based loosely on a plan I got from a yoga book. Give yourself six or seven days at least. The first two days and the last two days cut out all processed food and stick to fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Eat as much as you want but not more than you need (this is easier as you go along.) For the middle two or three days cut down to just fresh fruit, juice and water. That’s it.

I read in Runner’s World that detoxing doesn’t do anything for you but my experience is that it has powerful physical, spiritual, and emotional implications.

Physically €“ After the first two days you’ll start sleeping great, (Especially if you cut caffeine too; which I don’t) you’ll have surprisingly more energy, and your skin will look better. You will feel better about your physical person.

Emotionally €“ You’ll feel more stable and in control of yourself. Maybe it comes from the self discipline. I’m not sure. But you’ll be an emotionally more satisfied person. Although if you’re giving up caffeine it may take a couple days to work out the crankies. No worries, coffee is a fruit juice.

Spiritually €“ This is why I like to tie it onto the resurrection. Instead of the penitent heart that makes me spiral into self pity, this becomes something I’m doing in response to what God has done. The act itself could easily become just as focused on self but framed in the light of the resurrection I’m able to focus the good I’m doing for myself towards what God has done for me. It seems like it shouldn’t make much of a difference but for whatever reason it makes all the difference and it keeps me focused on Christ’s work, not mine. 

So for all you who faithfully gave up such and such for lent, good job. And for those who want to try something new, let’s do it. And to all my dear friends and readers who don’t give a crap about any of this, consider making it to the end of this blog a spiritual discipline in and of itself. A bad blogging beats a good flogging any day.


Posted: March 22nd, 2008
Categories: health
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