The Ultimate GMO

*Image is from Rodale’s Organic Life

Genetics. We can’t get away from them. Pretty much everything we eat, unless you are a strict geophagist, has a genetic component. And what constitutes a genetically modified organism? People have been modifying the genomes of plants and animals for millennia. Just look at all of the varieties of apples we have, or man’s best friend.

It seems that the term, GMO, is reserved for creatures whose genome has been altered by means that are beyond natural cross-breeding; alterations that would never happen in nature, by any stretch of the imagination.

And what about our genomes? We are finding that things people once thought were simple choices, like alcoholism, lesbianism, being socially insensitive most of the time (now known as autism) have very strong genetic components.

I, of course, struggle with autism, and I am certain I could very easily become an alcoholic, which is why I am very careful about how much and when I drink.

So why does God tell me through the Bible,

“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18)?

God does not say I shouldn’t drink alcohol at all, but I shouldn’t let it take me over, instead, I should let Him take me over. But for someone who is a candidate for alcoholism, I can understand how that would be a very tough statement for someone who actually does struggle with alcoholism.

And why, when God knows it is extremely difficult for me to think of the perspective of others (actually it is impossible, on my own, without a lot of coaching, first), does he say this in Philippians 2:1-4:

(1) Therefore if you have any encouragement in Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, (2) then make my joy complete by being of one mind, having the same love, being united in spirit and purpose.

(3) Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves. (4) Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

As I was talking with a friend about this the other day, suddenly the following flowed out of our conversation. Now, keep in mind that I have a biology minor, so I am somewhat well-versed in the scientific perspective of biology in general, and genetics in particular. But as we were talking, God seemed to pour this through us:

Yes, we are all genetically predisposed to various things, be it singing, stealing, dancing, dealing, cooking, cheating, making things, murder, smiling, smoldering, you get the picture. It is impossible for us, on our own power, to follow what the Bible says, to even want to follow what the Bible says, without this:

(5Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. (6Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. (7)So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ (8The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you it is with people born of the Spirit.” (John 3: 5-8)

So, Jesus is saying that to be part of His kingdom, I need to be genetically modified. I need to be unnaturally changed by the supernatural to even be interested in living life to the fullest.

Does God actually change our physical genome, or does he just give us the supernatural power to overcome our genome, I don’t know.  I just know that I want that!

Jesus, later in that chapter tells us how we can experience being born again:

(16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16 -17)

Believe in Jesus, and God will genetically modify you by giving you his Holy Spirit to help you do the impossible.

Wow! I want to be the ultimate GMO! How about you?

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Squirrelly

Two weekends ago our family was able to spend a little time along the North Shore. For non-Minnesotans, that is the north shore of Lake Superior. When looking at a map, it really seems to be more the west shore of Lake Superior, but for some reason, unknown to me, we call it the North Shore. Can any of you Duluthians tell me why it is called the North Shore?

We visited Tettegouche State Park, getting there just before lunch. After hiking about 15 minutes we found a beautiful overlook at the start of Shovel Point. Another couple was just finishing up eating as we arrived. As they moved on, we settled into our usual picnic lunch of summer sausage, chips, baby carrots, apple wedges and juice boxes.

We had been munching about 3 minutes when my husband noticed we had a visitor. It never ceases to amaze me that the squirrels in protected wildlife areas are so much more tame than the squirrels in my own back yard. I guess it makes sense, as there are not numerous people sitting in my yard eating food everyday, leaving behind crumbs and purposely throwing out snacks. But I still find it to be an oxymoron to find tame wildlife in the wild, and wild wildlife in my suburban neighborhood.

I know that Funyuns and potato chips are not healthy food for red squirrels. They really aren’t very healthy for people, either. But he was so cute, we just couldn’t help but leave him some. When he came across a tiny piece of chip, he quickly ate it. But the apple wedge was grabbed up and whisked off down the boardwalk.

A minute or so later, he was back looking for more. This time, he found the Funyun. He took a nibble, then decided that should be whisked off, too. We were done with our lunch so took off after him, trying to see where his cache was. We saw him zip up into an evergreen, then jump back down and disappear deeper into the woods.

Upon close inspection of the evergreen,
this is what we found about five feet up!

Hopefully he remembers where he put it before someone else comes along to enjoy it! The next day, while driving home in a soft rain, I wondered about the Funyun, hoping it had been enjoyed before the rain melted it away.

This made me think of Matthew 6:19-20:  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

Something is not Quite Right

(You Want to Test My Kid for What? Devotional #1)

Isaiah 61: 1-2 (1) “ …the Lord has anointed me … to comfort all who mourn.”

When my son was six-months old, I started to notice how he would play with just one thing for weeks at a time. As an infant he became obsessed with spinning ball cage attached to his exercise saucer. When he was a year old he would hoist himself up by the stereo system and play the music that he wanted to listen to, for hours on end – literally all day, except for when I pulled him away to eat and sleep. This lasted for two weeks. He then switched to a new obsession. One thing that remained constant was his desire to spin things. He would try to spin a sheet of paper, a square block, his sister’s dolls, anything.

He also seemed somewhat behind in his speaking skills. He had started to say words at 15 months, but stopped when his sister was born a month later. It is not unusual for children to regress when a new sibling arrives. However, when he was two, he started to speak a little, but by three years old he still said very little.

I was convinced that he was not normal when I took him to Musikgarten class. He spent the first few classes curled in the fetal position with his face buried in my lap. When he finally did try to participate in class, he had fun, but was not at all in the same world as all of the other kids. I cried the whole way home. What was life going to be like for him? What was I to do?

What are some of the things that your child does that seem odd to you?

I found the following list of behaviors from the Autism Society of America to be helpful when trying to decide whether or not I needed to look into help for my child:

  • Lack of or delay in spoken language
  • Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)
  • Little or no eye contact
  • Lack of interest in peer relationships
  • Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play
  • Persistent fixation on parts of objects