Aug
19
2013
by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/healthy-eating-challenge-state-fair-edition">Healthy Eating Challenge: State Fair Edition</a></h1>

I LOVE fair food. In my younger days, during the two weeks of the state fair my blood was known to slow to a maple syrup-like drizzle, choked in a river of elephant ear dust and butter. Those days are over. A growing teenage boy can often get away with eating food that would make a hyena blush and while I enjoyed that time of my life, it no longer works for me. Making healthy choices is the name of the game now, for many reasons. Can one visit the state fair without suffering toxic shock from fair food? Happily, the answer is YES. 

Case Study: The Indiana State Fair (perhaps the best of all state fairs)

I had dinner last week with Cindy Hoye, executive director of the Indiana State Fairgrounds. We were participating in a fundraiser with Twenty4Change, a local organization that connects nonprofits with new friends. This meal featured an upscale version of traditional fair food and it was amazing (thanks Cerulean)! You can see photos and the menu here. My favorite may have been the caramel apple-inspired salad. 

During our conversation, I mentioned to Cindy that one of our most popular blog posts in recent years was about the food at state fairs. Entitled 'Fair Food-itis', it lamented the recent trend of items like doughnut burgers and deep fried butter. Cindy pointed out that the state fair was taking steps to highlight healthy food options at the state fair. Sure enough, she pulled out her phone, fired up the Indiana State Fair app, hit up the Frequently Asked Questions, and there it was: a list of healthy food options under 350 calories and where you can find them. Bravo! 


My personal recommendations: 

  • Indiana Ribeye Steak = 266 calories
  • Corn on the Cob, no butter = 155 calories
  • Italian Ice = 200 calories

The weather this year was absolutely perfect throughout the entire run of the fair, generating a near-record attendance of approximately 950,000 visitors. Thanks to the efforts of Cindy and her team, many of those visitors were able to make healthier choices. 

Of course, most people will indulge at least a little (and probably a lot). How do you handle the temptation of unhealthy food at public events? Would you seek out the Dr. Vegetable stand or does finding healthy food seem like too much work? 

I know in the future, I'll have the State Fair app bookmarked and ready to help me plan my day of eating at the fair. However, elephant ears are still an endangered species while I'm there. You can't give up everything!

Aug
16
2013
by Matthew Ellis   |   comments

Each week, we highlight stories from our newsfeed on Prismatic. No account is required to see what we think is worth reading, so visit our profile often! We update it daily so there is usually something new to check out. Here is a sample of what we liked this week:

Mark Stevenson named Episcopal Church Domestic Poverty Missioner via Episcopal News Service
In this position, Stevenson will be responsible for work related to Anglican Mark of Mission 4, The transformation of unjust structures of society, which the 77th General Convention designated as a budget priority and structured with a focus on the alleviation of poverty in the United States.

Lutherans elect Elizabeth Eaton as first female presiding bishop via Episcopal News Service
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton was elected Aug. 14 as presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). She was elected on the fifth ballot at the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly meeting Aug. 12-17 in Pittsburgh.

See: Werner Herzog's Harrowing Anti-Texting-While-Driving Documentary via ARTery
Werner Herzog, the director of the 2005 film “Grizzly Man,” has arrived with another stunning documentary, “From One Second to the Next,” a harrowing recounting of accidents caused by drivers dangerously distracted by texting.

Guns In Church, The Debate Over Armed Preachers Heats Up via Huffington Post
At the heart of the debate is a difference in theological opinion; those for and against both say they've got God on their side. For some, guns and faith are at odds. They believe in praying for safety and in turning the other cheek. But others cite increasing violence on church properties and say that faith alone is not always enough. [See our blog post here on this.]

Young Doctors Pave Way for End-of-Life Conversations via ABC News
Doctors at Kent Hospital in Warwick, R.I., are breaking new ground — but it’s not the old guard — it’s the residents, those doctors fresh out of medical school and in the throes of training, who are demanding to be taught how to interact with their patients preparing for end-of-life care.

Let us know which articles you liked (or didn't) in the comments!


                    

Aug
13
2013
by Matthew Ellis   |   comments

Werner Herzog is a legendary director (and one of my personal favorites). He recently produced a short film about the dangers of texting and driving. This is an important 35 minutes to spend with the drivers in your family. You might also consider a screening and discussion for your parish.

Visit http://www.itcanwait.com to take the pledge, and learn more about the dangers of texting while driving.

tags Texting
Aug
12
2013
by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/guns-in-churches">Guns in Churches?</a></h1>

The Huffingon Post recently featured an article entitled "Guns In Church, The Debate Over Armed Preachers Heats Up":


At the heart of the debate is a difference in theological opinion; those for and against both say they've got God on their side. For some, guns and faith are at odds. They believe in praying for safety and in turning the other cheek. But others cite increasing violence on church properties and say that faith alone is not always enough.


I empathize with those who are fearful. I am blessed to live in an area that is perceived as safe. However, this may be a false perception, as many of these shootings in churches and schools take place in areas not unlike mine. After all, it only takes one person overwhelmed by his or her circumstances with easy access to guns to change that view. 

What does the Episcopal Church say about guns? 

We recently put together this document compiling Episcopal Church resolutions and statements from Executive Council regarding guns. Of particular note is the following:


Resolution 2012-D003 requests every parish and every diocesan place of work to declare their establishments as Gun Free Zones.


This seems like a good and reasonable request to me. Even a casual review of the news will demonstrate routine accidents caused by guns that were thought to be secured. However, my concern is not about whether or not the guns will be used appropriately. My objection is based instead on the mere presence of a gun during worship. 

Guns change the equation. For some, they provide a vivid reminder of an accident or untimely death of a loved one. It is impossible for me to see a handgun without thinking of my college friend who committed suicide. While I know that for others guns generate a positive feeling, doesn't the fact that their presence will cause pain for some in our churches argue for their removal? 

Church should be a safe place. It should be safe in as many ways for as many people as possible. Precautions should be taken to make our churches safe physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. If anyone perceives our church as unsafe in any of these ways, we should examine that issue with the serious intention to address it in the best way possible for those affected, in a way consistent with our beliefs and values. 

The Episcopal Church has heard the concerns of those who are fearful. We have deliberated seriously and given careful thought to how we should respond as Christians. We have decided that guns have no place in our churches. 


Image via The Episcopal Church

tags Guns
Aug
09
2013
by Matthew Ellis   |   comments

Each week, we highlight stories from our newsfeed on Prismatic. No account is required to see what we think is worth reading, so visit our profile often! We update it daily so there is usually something new to check out. Here is a sample of what we liked this week:

Is Your Timepiece 'Keeping' You? A Mindfulness Practice for Transcending Time via Huffington Post
Being an avid student of mindfulness, which is the practice of being fully present in the moment, the subject of time has always fascinated me because it -- or, perhaps more accurately stated, our perception of it -- affects our lives in ways we seldom consider.

What Strengthens and Weakens Our Integrity - Part I: Why Small Choices Count via The Art of Manliness
What’s at the root of our decision to sometimes compromise our principles? What kinds of things lead us to be less honest and what kinds of things help us to be more upright? What are some practical ways we can check our temptations to be immoral or unethical? How can we strengthen not only our own integrity, but the integrity of society as well?

Falling Obesity Rates Among Preschoolers Mark Healthful Trend via NPR
"We're beginning to see a tipping point," CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden says. "We're beginning to see the scales tip in a more favorable, healthy direction."

When Christian Outreach Hits The Streets via Episcopal Cafe
For thousands of years, worshippers have made offerings and supported charities and evangelism efforts. But as Christians try to reconcile Chicago's shootings, poverty and homelessness with their religious duties, more churches are sending their faithful out to minister on an individual level.

New Jersey Church Offers 'Flash-Mob' Style Worship Without Walls via Episcopal Digital Network
From the weekends of Memorial Day through Labor Day, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Montclair is holding 5:00 p.m. Sunday Eucharists in public, outdoor spaces.  Similar to “flash mobs,” participants are alerted to the location each week via text message. Passersby are encouraged to join.

Why Cutting Alcohol From Your Life May Be The Best Decision You Ever Make via Lifehack
Here are some of the most compelling reasons for nixing alcohol from your diet and lifestyle.

100 Must-Reads for Kids 9-14 via NPR
The final 100 has a little bit of everything: tales of trying to fit in, escaping to magical lands, facing prejudice, coming of age and fighting to survive. There are animal stories, pioneer sagas, science-fiction adventures and, of course, beloved classics.

Becoming Grace via Episcopal Church Foundation
As the vestry negotiated the practical aspects related to the wall falling in, the congregation continued to listen for what God was calling them to do. As Advent 2008 approached, a parishioner affiliated with a local farm center invited the children to the farm to make Advent wreaths to deliver to people who were homebound. As the children worked on their wreaths, one of them observed “Wouldn’t it be great if we had a garden to feed hungry people?”

Let us know which articles you liked (or didn't) in the comments!