Why Christians should care about Genetically Modified Organisms (not the reason you probably think)

I took a pretty long hiatus from my blog and I want to return with a really brief bit about the relative importance for Christians to be aware of incorporating food that is genetically modified into our diets.

I know you’re thinking that I’m going to start telling you about the increasing amount of emerging research and studies that show the questionable effects of GMOs on people, but I actually have no intention of doing that. I know that with the amount of food consumed by the US today, we cannot survive on organic farming alone – though the argument could be made that we need to become more efficient in what we do with food so as not to consume as much.

Nor do I have any intention of preaching to you about the effects that GMOs have on the environment though they are negative. If you’d like to read a book by a christian farmer who has a great deal to say about all of this, you can check out “Folks This Ain’t Normal” by Joel Salatin who I heard speak last year at Catalyst. Joel does a great job explaining the importance of caring about entire process of farming and food prep.

No the reason this is important is far more dire and even more scary. There is a small but significant movement within the scientific community that believes in something called “trans-humanism.” This is a philosophy that to reach the next stage in our evolution humanity will have to willingly undergo modifications – some genetic, others may involve cybernetics. This sounds like science fiction, but it is very real. I’m not going to list off any ramifications of this belief system because you’ll think I’m crazy, but suffice as to say that humanity could loose it’s humanity if everyone were to subscribe to this same thought process. If you want to get scared out of your mind read any futurist’s latest book about the way technology and genetics are going. I’m not making this stuff up.

What does this have to do with GMOs? Well that’s the good news. The movement toward all-natural foods as well as more homeopathic medicines and natural remedies is built on the idea that nature is balanced in such a way that it works in harmony with itself and the more we mess with it, the less harmony there is. As Christians we can agree that God did create the world and designed it with us in mind. He did tell us to subdue the earth and be its masters. Breeding plants and animals for specific purposes is one thing, but messing with the genes of an organism has the potential to disrupt the balance God has created for us in nature. If we’re willing to do it to plants and animals, then how long before we’re willing to do it to our children? At what point does it stop?

I say this not to alarm you, but rather to alert you to the ramifications of accepting GMOs as normal. Even if they were harmless today, they could be used as the reasoning for stranger things tomorrow. The movement for natural, God-breathed food is good for the church. We should join the movement. We should be willing to voice our concern for the laws have passed recently to protect cooperations from being prosecuted for their use of GMOs, should they be discovered to be harmful. We should be pushing a more healthy view of food and it’s role in our lives and we should be wary of putting anything in our bodies – the temples of Christ – that is not fitting for the King of kings.

Restaurant Review: Sa Za

I was recently invited to dine with some friends in “The Alley” at Sa Za – a pizza place that bills itself as serving “Serious Italian”

The Atmosphere & Location: This is perhaps what Sa Za has going for it. They Alley is definitely the coolest location downtown, perhaps in all of Montgomery. Like most of the recently redone area in the Alley, it has a ‘big city’ feel. The restaurant itself definitely has the cool factor associated with any older building that’s been revamped – brick walls, unfinished floors and high ceilings give it a certain aura that most guppies (that’s yuppies from Montgomery) would appreciate. You do have to park a few blocks away, but this only adds to the chic of the locale in my opinion. The only major downside is that the room has nothing to absorb sound, so it is very, very loud.

The Food: I’m not at all a culinary expert, so I’m not claiming anything other my opinion here. I wasn’t blown away by the food. The garlic bread was made with real garlic cloves – it was really good at first, but it got old pretty quick. I don’t know if it was covered in butter or olive oil, but it was a little thicker than necessary. I didn’t try the pizza, but some other folks at my table did. They don’t have options for smaller pizza sizes which is a little frustrating. I had spaghetti and meatballs; It was good, but a little heavy on the basil, I thought. All in all it was ok, not fantastic. Their website has a very long (too long) description of their chef, Joe DiMaggio Jr – no mention of whether he’s related to the baseball player. It’s clear that Mr. DiMaggio has a high opinion of himself and his restaurant, though on his site very little mention of his culinary skill is made – it seems he’s more of a food businessman than a chef.

The Service: Wasn’t great (but that’s no excuse for not tipping decently, especially after hearing a sermon on mercy/generosity this past sunday) The timing was good; the food came out quickly, but the server wasn’t great about keeping our drinks filled and oddly acted like I was asking for something really strange when I requested a decaf coffee after my meal. She did the same when someone else  asked for a to-go box. She was very friendly though and I felt like she was trying.

The Cost: The cost was the biggest downside. Basically you’re going to end up paying around $20 for a meal that is, in my opinion, only ‘ok.’ The coffee I got cost about $2 – it wasn’t bad, but it was just decaf coffee . Being primarily a pizza place, I didn’t try their signature item, so perhaps my review is incomplete. I will say that some other folks at my table did and it looked about the same quality as I’d expect at mellow mushroom for a few bucks less. But, what you’re really paying for is the location and that aura I talked about earlier.

In summary: It wasn’t a bad experience; the food was ok and the atmosphere was great while not having the ‘hipster’ stigma I felt wafting out of the Alley bar as I walked by. At the same time, it wasn’t terrific; the service was only so-so and the cost was more than I expected.

Rating: I give it a solid “Meh”

I’d go back if someone invited me, but I won’t be craving Sa Za anytime soon.