Chia, Chai, New old things…

I love to cook.

I did not always love to cook, when my kids were at home I usually disliked it, mainly the mess I think.

The church community I was once part of was very fond of big holiday meals and I ended up developing some recipes that were expected at those celebrations, so I really began to experiment and found out how much I really did enjoy cooking.

I love it when someone else enjoys something I have created that I also enjoy.

Recently my journey into food has been more of a healing and health focus, eating to maintain the right weight, eating to replenish the nutrients that are destroyed by our current cultural diet, but as always it needs to be enjoyable or I won’t keep it up for long.

Two things I recently discovered that I really like, chia seeds and chai tea (read slow the two are different words)

Not together, just as experiences.

Of course both of these are ancient products that have been in use in other cultures for centuries, but due to my mid-western/southern upbringing I had never tried either of them.

Chia seeds were used by the Aztecs as a portable super-food, quick energy, easy to carry, it has been reported that a runner can sustain full energy for 24 hours with nothing but a hand full of chia seeds to empower him.

Chai tea if mixed with the spices of origin and traditional ingredients is actually quite healthy for you.

When I was researching the chia seed I discovered that unlike flax seed the chia seed does not need to be crushed to release its nutrients, it has a much less resistive outer shell and mixes well with any solution…it also carries a higher concentration of the Omega-3 fat ALA, which is a natural fat that helps your body, this is the fat your body needs and creates a hunger for, unfortunately the food industry has learned how to exploit this need and has created substitutes that are very bad for you but “feel” good.

Chia grows naturally in South America, mainly Mexico and a few other places…it is a friend of the desert and belongs to the “Salvia” genus of herbs, meaning “saving”…

So here’s what I’m thinking…a good portion of the desert is meant to re-tool us into ancient and oft forgotten supplemental companions for our journey, companions that do not require a lot of stress to be solubale in our life, companions that can provide nutrients that our past culture has been robbing us of.

I never really ate a lot of junk food, my weight has not been a huge issue, when I turned 50 and got the typical belly roll of most men I decided I would change things and get rid of it and I did, I managed to drop two pant sizes and 30 pounds…but I found that in order to maintain this I needed to change my eating habits.

So I began to ask “whats going into my body?” “Is it really good for me or just convenient?”

“Am I eating out of routine or intention?”

I think one of the major issues in the body of Christ here in the West is a total lack of intention by the average believer…what are you intentional about? What is the intention of what you are ingesting in teaching, worship, community?

This lack of intention makes us obese. Fat with the wrong kind of weight. We are naked and say we are rich but the truth is our relationships are shallow, nutrient starved and freakishly HUGE in terms of the resources they require to maintain.

I can remember the emotional and life energy required to do the average worship service, it required planning, trying to get quiet and hear a “list”, getting down to the church for some practices with the other team members, carefully avoiding offence as I tried to direct us to a joy experience, fighting the sound board in mortal hand to hand combat every week, then getting up early the day of soaking in His Presence for others, (my own time with Him not-with-standing was much more enjoyable and preferred), being cognitive of other leaders egos and where they felt like things needed to go, bringing every thing to a reconcilable close after serving up the worship “meal”…sheesh I get tired just thinking about it.

I’m not complaining…there is an experience of community and anointing that goes with the corporate worship event that is unique and invigorating…but the weekly expression and energy really starts to feel like a lot of the “trans-fats” that are man-made and incredibly bad for you.

There is nothing natural about the average worship service in a western church, the closest you can get perhaps is something that was earned and that would be the spontaneous songs that were prophetic in nature…and that was always something I strove for and hit a lot because its exactly the way I cook…I just make it up mixing ingredients I have encountered during the week in an unusual combination of grace.

Now I am finding small connections that are giving me lots of nutrition, helping reduce the trans-fattiness of my spiritual life and they give it up with out some heavy crushing process…they are the spiritual equivalent of chia seeds.

People like Paul Leader, Martin Scott, Jane Almond, Cindy Hansen, Coleen Bucks, Mindy and Kirk, Andrew and Angela, Bob and Laurie Kimball, Kerri and Shawn, Mark Neale, Paul Woods…some I have known for 20 years some I have just discovered and the connections all seem small and common but they are powerful when you are running across a wilderness landscape with nothing on your back but your shirt…chia is small and portable and easy to carry…but make no mistake, real pure chia is expensive…and oddly enough…during this season relationships that fed me for years are painfully absent, completely cut out of my diet and yet I still long for them.

These small, ignoble and easy to pass over connections are bringing nutrients into my life that are helping eliminate the fat…the fat of empire, the fat of a church culture, the fat of not living intentionally.

If we really told the truth…most of our relationships are not providing the kind of life that is visible and vibrant…we are trading in a lot of superficial one-offs that require eating high trans-fat spiritual energy (burns out quickly no lasting value), complete with tons of emotional white processed sugars (unable to be transparent,  sticky sweet communication devoid of true feelings).

Eating healthy requires raw food that is not invented by man, God said “See I have given you every herb that yields seed, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be your food” , but like the food industry we have created a culture where we take some of the stuff God gives us and reprocess it until it is no longer healthy, let alone safe and we wonder why we are obese and can’t lose weight, we assume its because we don’t exercise enough and that’s what the church will tell you…feeling blaw? Invest more energy into the machine…

I saw a note that said “My greatest fear is in succeeding in something that does not matter”…you can actually eat a ton, be obese and nutritionally starving to death…just look around in our culture.

Obesity is more related to what you eat than how much.

I am learning to love the wilderness and on occasion I still miss the dysfunctional energy of the corporate junk food diet…but it is highly addictive and frankly making the church look obese and meaningless.

Time to get “mean and lean” in the desert…thanks to the chia…

Stay healthy friends, and thank you so much for offering up the nutrients of your experience without requiring some huge trade-off on my part, it does not go unnoticed, it has tremendous value in my world.

I’ll save the chai for another time, but it has relevance as well…but will make this observation about my own weight and how I managed to stay within some target weight all my life…it is related to an ancient practice known as fasting.


3 thoughts on “Chia, Chai, New old things…

  1. Chia seeds… I embrace that metaphor! 🙂 No need for a required trade-off when the connection is a natural flow of give-and-take, Mark. God has provided crucial insight for certain areas of my life through you, and I’m grateful for our friendship. There will continue to be divine sustenance for the journey until you reach the other side!

  2. Mark I so appreciate you. Love your comments, reading your journey, feeling connectivity even over such a distance, but more than all that I appreciate you as a person. Cannot wait to finally get to meet up when you get the chance to visit the U.K. A welcome awaits here in my heart and life. Bless you loads, Paul.

    • So much in common, so much to share, so grateful for a Father that gives us brothers where the enemy has robbed us…the feeling is completely mutual and yes I am looking forward to it as well…soon, sooner than we know. And likewise a trip abroad for you and your clan is not something the Father cannot afford…

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