For devout Christians the Easter season is a special time of celebration, as we remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. For us, it is a matter of believing in our hearts – that spiritual center of our beings. Although customs between churches vary significantly, our church celebrates Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday (a Christian name for Easter, a term which derives itself from a pagan goddess).
As a minister of the Gospel, I could write endlessly about the life, teachings, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. I have authored one book titled, “The Midrash Key,” and write a monthly editorial for our church newsletter. For the opinion page of the Tribune, however, my goals are somewhat more secular. I seek to interpret life and events, albeit from a Judeo-Christian perspective.
So that leads me to the downside of Easter. Two years ago, on Easter Sunday, my brother-in-law died suddenly at home of a massive heart attack. Easter reminds me to take care of not only my spiritual heart, but also my physical one. I do not know if a better diet and more exercise would have made a difference in his case, but I know it does in many cases.
More people today are serious about healthy diets, yet others have gone into the opposite direction. In addition to old foes: high fat, high cholesterol foods, an aversion to green vegetables, eating at fast food restaurants, spiking healthy food with bacon, etc., we have to fight some new hidden dangers. One of them is “pink slime.”
While the supermarkets advertise that their beef is “Angus beef” (as though I really care), stuff is coming into institutional hamburger that ought not to be there. According to Dr. Cynthia Paulis of Antonnews.com of Long Island, N.Y.:
“Have you ever wondered what’s in that hamburger patty they are serving up in your child’s school? You may be surprised to learn that it might not be pure beef, but meat with filler known as ‘pink slime.’ Consumer food activists and high-profile chefs have been campaigning against the use of this product often found in fast food, and McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Burger King have now all discontinued using pink slime.
“However, this year the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has plans to purchase millions of pounds of the ‘Lean Finely Textured Beef’ (aka pink slime) for the National School Lunch Program.”
The article explains, “In the past, when a cow was slaughtered, the prime parts were sold off and the waste products were either discarded or used for dog food. Then, in 2000, a company called Beef Products, Inc. decided to take the discarded parts of the cow which were usually high in contamination, put them through a centrifuge, compress them and spray them with ammonia gas, flash freeze them (which is supposed to kill deadly pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella), to produce a filler for meat.”
I remember back in the 1970s (at least in the Chicago area), the supermarkets would offer a variety of ground beef mixed with ground soy protein. If we want to cut costs, mixing good meat with a good non-meat protein (like soybeans or lentils) is a much better way to go. Ammonia is great to clean windows, but not so good to ingest.
As a Christian, I am not afraid of what awaits me on the other side. I bear the resurrection hope, “Because I [Jesus] live, you also will live” (John 14:19b). I am ready for eternal life, but I am in no hurry! I want to take care of both hearts.
• Ed Vasicek is pastor of Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.