Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Kernel of Truth: Lend Me Your Ear or I'd Rather Be Restrictive Than Corny

For many years, it has continued to perplex me that people who don't know me well (and some who think they do) have charged me with being a radical restrictivist, party-pooper, kill-joy, picky, a worshipper of food (lol!) and other like unfavourable judgments based in ignorance.

Since we moved out west, this has subsided substantially as we have met many more open-minded people in the ten months we've been here than I can recall in my whole life combined. Granted my desire for such people may not have been manifest then as it is now. Anyhow, in spite of the overwhelming majority of people we meet being quite open to how others live, we still have encountered some resistance and imposition of judgment here too. Why, when we've been successively unfettering ourselves, seeking and attaining to greater planes of freedom and consciousness, are we still accused of radical restrictiveness?

*Lest any one person think this is a backlash on you personally, it isn't. As I wrote above, you would just be joining the masses of people who've concluded on the same thing about me for decades, so not to worry, you're well-supported. :)

The answer came to me for the first time this evening. I'm going to use that word that has become the unnecessary recipient of the assumption of perjorative when others hear me use it... mainstream. It is invariably mainstreamers and mainstream-wannabes who make these judgments of us and the reason is now clear to me. A mainstreamer, being predicated in his/her actions on conformity, sees others in terms of what they don't do. They lack any aspiration to take full and utterly conscious responsibility for their thoughts, actions, and life, and view someone who does as a threat to the comfortable system that affords them this sloth. I am just such a person and I threaten just that.

So what about me? What is my role in inviting such criticism? Well, as far as I can tell, I am party to my own accusations in that I haven't severed my ties entirely with people lacking consciousness in their living, so I'm an easy target. Aside from that though, I am not so accomplished in the complete shedding of mainstream's influence that I have been able to ward off such attacks on my life, character, abilities and efforts. When I've matured to that point, my presence will no longer be permeable to low criticism as I've seen that trend already in other areas of my life. In a way, my whole person, being whole, won't have any holes or spaces for intrusive or demeaning commentary, much like the soil in a healthy garden doesn't allow pests to take up residence; the presence of beneficial beings is purposed and recognised, but the absence of harmful ones is only incidental to the health of the garden.

My own perspective regarding others is the precise reason why I continue to be taken aback and surprised by the accusation of being legalistically or radically restrictive in my life. Unlike mainstreamers, I view others for what they DO, not what they don't do, because I am not concerned with conformity or the perpetuity of sloth-enabling life systems. 

So when I think of people I know, I am affected and influenced and impressed with what they DO. I don't give any thought whatsoever to what they don't do unless it is obviously and insidiously negligent or dangerous. I'd notice if my friend didn't ever speak to her children, for instance, or if another didn't... I can't even think of another example because that sort of thinking is so unnecessary and unhelpful to me.

When I first began to question the mainstream, I also had a long list of what-I-don'ts. This was a natural progression from recognition of what I had previously been doing and what I wouldn't do anymore. In that transformation, it became necessary for me to switch paradigms though, to examining what I do and not focussing on what I don't do, which wouldn't allow for me to authentically change my life. Lifelong alcoholism in spite of a cessation in actually imbibing alcohol should make focus on the don't-do's an obviously ineffective strategy for change.

So initially, my list was full of what I don't do anymore, but that was years ago and I no longer even have such a list because my life is full of what I do, not what I don't. When my days and weeks and months are full of things I value, there simply isn't need or desire to consider what I don't do. The fact that upon being asked, I can answer that 'yes, we don't do that' is not a confirmation of an obsession with what I don't do. It is almost exclusively within the context of answering the mainstreamer's questions about what we don't do that I can even think of such things. In my own life and from my own perspective, I wouldn't even think of formulating such a question as that.

I want to examine some of the charges though, because this is all talk and no action so far:

Will the accused please stand. You have been charged with the worship of food and health and radical restrictivism of such of life's pleasures as edible oil whipped topping and pop tarts.

In my defense, I would like to propose a comparison and contrast of my diet and approach to health to that of the mainstream.

I will begin by introducing the foods and principles upon which my family bases decisions about what we DO eat.

We eat mostly a traditional European diet. By traditional, I mean that we use home-rendered fats from chicken, duck, bison, etc... and we cook with the bones in and use those bones to later make gelatin-rich broths that we use for gravies and sauces and stews and in place of water for cooking other foods.

We eat whole vegetables and fruits and only indulge in tropical fruits and vegetables as treats occasionally. We eat fatty unpasteurised yogurt and milk (can't find raw just yet, but hope to by next summer even if that means by having our own dairy goat or cow). We eat loads of butter. We eat whole grain breads in a very small proportion to the rest of our diet. We eat olives and home lacto-fermented sauerkraut, broccoli stems, garlic and hot peppers. I make my own cheese and we also buy some that is cultured and unpasteurised. We eat raw veggies dipped in garlic/yogurt/mustard/apple cider vinegar mixture.

We drink litres of herbal and green tea every day and eat a pound of raw, microbe-rich honey every day too. We eat this fresh-from-the-field and personally delivered from down the road  honey on our homemade baked home-ground whole oats, eggs, and raisins squares with butter served warm.

We eat eggs every morning on toast or in our oat squares. We use 6 dozen eggs each week.

Everything is as local as possible and almost always organic because there is no point in eating something that is so full of chemicals that it will take more nutrients to detoxify it than it will provide to the body. In this way, we could eat all day long and still starve, gaining lots of weight if we eat too much because our bodies are trying to conserve what little nutrition we are receiving ,or losing weight because we don't eat enough to fulfill our nutrient requirements.

So, we eat naturally cultivated, free-growing foods in their whole state, which also goes for our meat. It is all pastured (truly, not industrially) on naturally growing grasses and insects and given no antibiotics or vaccinations. The animals live according to their nature- chickens in flocks, ducks in pairs, bison in herds, etc...

To achieve this, we have to talk to a lot of people, go a lot of different places and try a lot of different ways of preparing our foods when items are not available or when there is a variation of what we expected (unlike boxed, processed foods, the earth doesn't produce cubic vegetables with uniform innards and outards by its own initiative, so we go with what we're given).

Diversity is an encompassing principle in our food acquisition. Not purposed in all ways, but definitely incidental, at least. We have a diverse experience in our eating, preparation, meeting and speaking to new and becoming familiar people, excursions we wouldn't otherwise experience to farms and homesteads along the highways of our territory, and abundantly healthy children whose ailments are healed with this diet and herbs, homoeopathy and home remedies as needed.

Now in contrast, the mainstream diet, which is the non-restricted one, remember?

Based upon my highly unscientific observations, I am going to generously presume that the average mainstreamer eats about 1-2% of his/her diet in whole, locally grown, industrial organic and truly organic foods, all being vegetable and none being from the meat category of the food pyramid.

I will generously then presume a 98% diet of variably 'value-added' (read: processed) foods that include various fruits and vegetables, raw and in boxed dinner-type meals; boneless and skinless meats along with some breaded, some seasoned, some fast-food, some in pies and burritos and other freezer 'meals.' They eat boxed crackers, cookies, confections and treats of all kinds, baked and fried and slathered with edible oil frosting and fried, flavoured, and candied nuts and cereals; breakfast cereals, jars of jams and nut butters and margarine and 'not-butter'; flavoured and sliced processed cheeses, low fat milk and fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt and canned soups and beans and 'whole wheat' and 'french' bread; 'vegetable/canola oil' for cooking. They eat cream puffs and potatoes baked and in bags for baking and frying, and salads made with mayonnaise and macaroni and coleslaw too. A package of pudding cups for the kids and a jar of baby dills and carrots sticks with dip for lunches. Who can live without a bag of Doritos and a pop on the way out of the self-check-out at the grocery store?

The meat came from animals living in deplorable conditions such that anyone witnessing this would quickly lose his or her appetite for them, but onto my point: eating corn. Cows, pigs, chicken, and even fish, all eating corn for their breakfast, lunch and dinner.

They are cut up into pieces and the 'value-added' ones are severed from the only hope that had in being nutritious- the bones, and variously prepared with CORN-DERIVED monosodium glutamate, malto-dextrine, glucose/fructose and high fructose corn syrup, regular old corn syrup and corm meal, modified corn starch and plain old corn starch, corn oil, di- and tri-glycerides, lecithin, leavening, etc... and is then wrapped in shiny corn-derived packaging with corn-based dyes emblazoned on reading 'healthy choice!'.

The chickens lay their corn-fed eggs and sometimes make new corn-developed chicks that make more corn-eating chickens to be cut up and covered by and marinated and fried in more corn.

The milk and milk products from the corn-eating cows are also corn-produced, bearing its trademark genetic C4, in case anyone doubted the presence of corn in milk.

Their veggies and fruits have been sprayed with corn-derived pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and waxed with corn-come-wax and boxed in corn-waxed boxes treated with more corn-derived chemical compounds for 'freshness'.

A quotation from The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan (to whom all credit goes for the above list of corn-derived products, which is not exhaustive by any means): “There are some forty-five thousand items in the average American Supermarket and more than a quarter of them now contain corn. This goes for the non-food items as well-...” (page 19) And this does not account for the items which are produced via corn-dependence through spray fertilizers and 'cides' of all sorts. Almost everything edible in the grocery store is a product of the constituents of corn.

Now onto the experiential part. Mainstreamers are very open and diverse in their experiences of food, right? Well, once/week they jaunt to the grocery store staring mindlessly (who wouldn't? What's to ponder?) at the shelves upon shelves of flashy boxes and cans, knocking one of them every so often into the cart, cruising the produce section for bags of apples, lathed carrot sticks and some fruit and dip combination packages, the dairy section for eggs and milk and milk products, bread and bakery- grab and toss, meats in styrofoam with no bones and fat trimmed, and then the snack aisle on the way out (was going to skip that one... oh well, what's the harm?) and waiting in line for the self-check-out, putting groceries into bags (corn) and carting them to the trunk of the car, stopping for gas (more corn) on the way home, then to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions for the kids (and corn again), and then unloading at home only to do it again the following week.

But no matter, meal preparation is usually a snap, 20-30 minutes for dinner, tops, and lunches are packaged fruits and veggies and some cheese strings and a juice box. Breakfast, easy- cereal in low fat milk. WHY would anyone want to do more work than necessary to feed themselves and their family? So glad not to be a pioneer or in a tribe. Food preparation would take over life!

Please, PLEASE, share with me how my diet and outlook is restrictive when it consists of diversity in food, relationship, preparation, source, and health-giving qualities, when the mainstream diet consists mainly of CORN and requires pharmaceutical supplementation to allow the body to function, while no or nearly no attention is paid to the source of the food and no relationships or few are forged in the process- a complete lack of diversity- the very definition of restriction in this context?

We eat whole foods, meet the farmers who produce them, meet other conscientious eaters in little shops tucked away in the corners of the city and rural areas to obtain their wares, chat, make contacts and share common understandings, engage our children in understanding how their food comes to their plate and in the end, eat very rich, flavourful foods that few other than celebrities and the very rich enjoy nowadays as the old ways of preparing tasty food have been lost and forgotten in favour of spending more time at soccer games and eating micro-waved meals trays.

HOW, when my experience surrounding this aspect of life is so rich and diverse and open to new experiences on-going-ly, am I restrictive??? 

If refusing to be a giant walking manifestation of corn and cold-stranger-procured formed and flavoured food-like products called edible is being restrictive, then I guess I am.

I am also restrictive in my refusal to treat my children like ninny-heads who need adults to 'teach' them how to 'act' like children, and my rejection of chemical band-aids for ill-health, and general ignorance. 

I guess I am highly restrictive, but from my perspective, MY whole world is WIDE OPEN, free and full of possibilities and potential, unlimited and unhindered by fear and it's cousin: 'this is how it's done.' 

In my mind, the world (cosmically) is a gigantic sea of wondrous potential and loving possibilities and fulfillments and the mainstream exists as the tiniest speck outlying the boundary of that sea. 

If in refusing the limitations of that speck, I seem restrictive, having instead chosen the whole sea, then so be it, but I don't see myself that way. I never will. I cannot; I know too much and I'd have to kill myself if I did.

I am free, and conscious of that reality. If the manifestation of that reality in my life seems restrictive of options that fetter me with ideologies that would stand in my way to fulfilling who I am here to be, then I'll restrict with wild abandon!!!


Tag-photos said...

"They lack any aspiration to take full and utterly conscious responsibility for their thoughts, actions, and life, and view someone who does as a threat to the comfortable system that affords them this sloth."

So simply because I agree with the mainstream trains of thought I am not conscious of the responsibility for my thoughts, actions or my life.

Comments like yours quoted above seem that of someone decidedly NOT open minded. Perhaps if you were less insulting to the majority of people you in turn would be the recipient of less unfavourable judgments.

And for the record, yes being told I do not take responsibilty for my actions, thoughts and life is insulting. Demeaning at the very least.

"people lacking consciousness in their living"

Are you claiming that people that do believe the majority of mainstream ideals lack consciusness of their living.
Perhaps this attitude is a major reason for these criticisms.

"Unlike mainstreamers, I view others for what they DO, not what they don't do, because I am not concerned with conformity or the perpetuity of sloth-enabling life systems"

I am definately a mainstreamer as you would put it. But I do judge people on what they do, much moreso than on what they do not do. Even if what they do is deciding not to do something.
Again though I see a disdain for people that believe in many mainstream ideals. Basically a disdain for people that think differently than you.

I think perhaps you have a diversion to corn....

I would wager that the average person does indeed eat amny things with traces of corn in it, but to say that the majority of a persons diet IS corn is somewhat ludicrous.
Personally I love the way your diet sounds. unfortunately it would kill my wife. Those refined sugars and starches often present themselves as carbohydrates and my wife needs those in easily measured amounts simply to survive.

As for prepared meals. Be grateful we live in Canada. The situation is far worse in the states. I spent two weeks in Missouri and we found it hard to buy anythign even resembling fresh foods. Just about everything came prepackaged and all you had to do is heat it up.

you are restrictive because you restrict what you are willing to eat. Most mainstreamers, or myself at least, would at leat be willing to eat your foods.

Tag-photos said...

"adults to 'teach' them how to 'act' like children,"

How does one teach a child to act like a child? Mine do that very well on their own.

"chemical band-aids for ill-health"

Most of those home remedies are chemical bandaids/aids to cure their ailments.

As for general ignorance, it is true for all of us, unless you have recently earned a medical degree. Mainstreamers, like myself, are just willing to admit that we do nto know everything. That a well trained doctor knows more than I do.
of course doctors are human and theri are good ones and bad ones. And medicine is such a large and varied
field that generally a good genereal practitioner is one willng to admit he doesn't know. That is where i am lucky. i have such a family doctor that willing and openly admits he doesn't know things. he is also willing to refer us to specialists as needed.

"I guess I am highly restrictive, but from my perspective, MY whole world is OPEN, free and full of possibilities and potential"

I agree you are restrictive, much more than this mainstreamer. i also agree that from your perspective the world is wide open.
Of course that is like a a fish saying his world is wide open. In his perspective it is. He simply does not know about the ground, or skies, or space.
Of course you seem more like the turtle that. You live in the water and you knw of the ground and the air, but you choose to live in the water and refuse to see beyond those borders.

Of course your perspective is that your world is wide open, but you do so by believing that the majority of the world is a tiny speck.

"If in refusing the limitations of that speck, I seem restrictive, having instead chosen the whole sea, then so be it, but I don't see myself that way"

Problem is that an open minded person, that happens to believe or at least accept mainstream, I am open to the entire sea of yours. Not just limit myself to whatever I believe is not mainstream.

Anonymous said...

I agree that you are free. Free of the chemicals that we don't even know is in the food marked "New and Improved". Or anything else that is "value-added".
I love the discription of what you and your family eats and wish we were that dedicated to eating foods as raw and as natural.
The trends are changing to be more in line with how your family eats and less like the "TV dinner" family.
I don't know if you will ever find yourself in the "mainstream"(not because you have changed but because our society is changing)but it would be nice if you did. Our society would be better for it.
We should all be as conciencious in our food choices.

Sarah said...


There is no step-skipping in life. As many times and in as many different situations as is necessary will an elevation of consciousness or awareness to a person be brought about, and no fewer than that.

I have no disdain for mainstreamers; you assume this because I am apt to point out the lack I see in awareness and purpose in the life of people who subscribe to mainstream ideologies.

One of the many things you fail to notice or realise is that pointing out a lack has no correlation with disdain or hatred or intolerance or any such thing. If there was a black widow spider in your shoe, and I saw it there, I would point it out and be glad you heeded my warning; I wouldn't disdain or hate or find you intolerable because you didn't see what you didn't see.

There are many people whose life's purpose is to share with others what they lack so that hopefully, that information will prompt a filling in of the holes. This is the job description of a teacher, for instance. I do not label myself as such, but I doubt, given your assumption that only medical school could yield a store of useful knowledge about the human physical health, you would accuse a doctor of such things, even if you were previously unaware and were treated somewhat frankly.

It is impossible to live an aware and conscious life as a conformist in western culture, unless you live in an absolute/universal/utterly objectively/subjectively omniscient subcultural society and state of being, which you and nobody here on earth does, as far as I am aware (lol).

You are trolling again; your comments to my posts have been historically and presently aligned with continuing to accuse me of bigotry based on your obvious misunderstanding and misinterpretation and building of a straw-woman.

Your misunderstanding doesn't define my actual thoughts and beliefs, as much as that might burn you to have to acknowledge, but of course, I have no reason to anticipate that you would since you have yet to do so.

I think this will be my last response to you, unless you are able to make some headway in your own personal growth toward awareness and openness because I simply do not have the time to dissect your assumed points against what I've written and I am also not able to bring you to a higher level of awareness such that what I've written is comprehensible to you. I'm sorry if that seems harsh.

A long time ago, I suggested that you undertake some self-observation and introspection as a beginning to understanding what you don't presently. You did not do that, and until you do (the research), we really don't have enough of a common ground to communicate in a beneficial way.

I am interested in and for the first time in my own life am selective about and protective of who and what I allow into my life. Arguments about your ignorant judgments of my character and willful refusal to recognise that I offer and contribute value in what I pursue (in this case honest and conscious discussion), are not worthy of further effort and expenditure of my time.

Tag-photos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tag-photos said...

Sorry did have a comment but obviously not appropriate to disagree here. So....

Congrats Sarah. Love the conviction and effort you have put into providing the best possible life for you and your children.
Keep up the good work and continue doing what is best despite the mainstreamers trying to poison you and yours, both body and spirit.

Hop all is well and god bless.

sarah said...

Joan!!! It's so nice to see you here, and out of lurkdom. ;)

I am so glad to be living in a place where there are others who do care about what they eat and also who provide soundly produced foods (like you! Your eggs are the best we've ever had- so rich and the texture is just incomparable to 'pharmed' eggs).

So if this is an intense treatment of how I think of our foods, then imagine that it carries through into every aspect of our life! Lol.

We went to the grocery store today and discovered that breads are being labeled whole grain now when their ingredients contain, "white whole wheat flour, wheat germ,..." as if putting the rancid, stale germ in the white bread makes it a 'whole grain' food. Ugh...

I guess that's right up there with 'organic malto-dextrin,' and 'organic artificial vanilla flavouring.'

By these connotative terms, raw petroleum is no less a 'food.' It's organictoo! Sigh...

I reeeeaaaallly want a farm!!!

Welcome, Joan! xo

Anonymous said...

I would not be one to accuse you of "radical restrictiveness" as you cheerfully watched me introduce your boys to Freezies (I realized the error of my ways, afterwards, but I was so impressed by your graciousness. I wasn't flogged or even reprimanded. You were so happy that we came and we enjoyed our little visit so much.)
I, too, applaud you in the choices that I now wish I knew were mine when our children were younger.
You are blazing a trail for your family and for their families to come.
I can honestly say that I do not understand the term "mainstream".
I'm not even sure there really is a "mainstream" anymore. I find people so diverse and most people I know are so accepting of diversity. People who aren't accepting of diversity don't seem to hang around our faith community for very long. (Of course, there are always other reasons why people don't hang around, but I have noticed that those who we would refer to as "legalistic" aren't even content within themselves, let alone within a diverse community of believers where "tolerance" is seen as "liberalism".
Ah ... terminology; how we get hung up in it.
I don't believe that any of us, this side of heaven's gates, are able to ward off attacks on our lives, our character, our abilities, and our efforts.
Fifty years says so.
Not that I am old and wise and draw people who seek my sage advice ... maybe in another twenty years or so.
You can come and visit me as I sit rocking and contemplating ... (you may even need to help me find my dentures. Joan, you can help, too).
Do you seriously think you present a threat to some people? Am I that naive (perhaps I am) that I don't see it?
I look at you and see such a delightful, thoughtful, creative person ... a treasure in an earthen vessel. I know you aren't digging for such observations. But these are a far cry from being a "threat" ...
Interesting thought about being "affected and influenced and impressed" by what others "DO".
I am becoming less and less "affected and influenced and impressed" by what others do unless I see it lineup with character and, beyond that, that what they do is characterized by love.
I think you are referring to character as it is fleshed out.
I used to scratch things of my life's list of "what I know longer do", but then I decided it was more important to replace things with healthier choices. Still a struggle at times when choices do not seem as obvious.
"Not doing" something anymore doesn't really count for much unless it is replaced by doing something that is healthier.
I'm rambling ...

Anonymous said...

Forgive me for the freezies. I say this partly in jest, but partly from a heart of realization now that I understand more and more what you value. What is friendship if we do not honour what we value? I will bring organic fruit next time and enjoy it with you.
I have come to realize (this ties in here) that there is no relationship or forgiveness and reconciliation with true understanding of another.
I make bold statements at time and cannot discuss them over a blog (because time limits me), so I realize they are not all leakproof.
I know the things that have radically shaped who I am.
You know the saying, "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger." Well, I am beginning to believe it.
Because you have had to take a stand for what you believe: you've researched it and walked it out and found what you believe to be tried and true and now you are standing on it ...
Because you have been accused, you have become a much-stronger person, I believe.
I have no doubt that you eat healthy, plus, plus.
I know I can learn many things just from reading your menu.
I eat oatmeal every morning. I buy organic apples. I don't drink milk. I eat breads that have substance to them.
I take Omega 3.
As much as I try, this body still seems to fight me.
I've been warned not to eat fat, yet I hear that eating fat is healthy.
Half of the problem with the so-called mainstream is that things are always changing ... "Do this, don't do that ... can't you read the sign?"
Do all of these "Do's and don'ts really add up to a hill of beans in the end?"
But then ... a hill of beans would be good because beans are healthy ... I eat those, too. I love black beans.
I am still not entirely sure what you mean by people who treat your children like "ninny-heads". I don't know exactly what that looks like. I can honestly say that most people in my children's lives have added to the richness of their lives. If they spoke to them as children and didn't speak to them exactly as they should have, I think our children soon figured out who really cared about them and who didn't ... and it taught them how to forgive small things in light of the relationship with someone who cared about them.
There were some, of course, as in any child's life, who did not treat them with respect or with kindness. But our children are intelligent and see through facades of "kindness".
They are intelligent, capable, loving and caring ... and have learned to accept the diversity in people, to dismiss those who are toxic in their life and to embrace those who need a helping hand in life.
I do not think that we can shield our children from life and all that it teaches them ... or that we should ...

Anonymous said...

(continued ... sorry, it wouldn't post as one comment)
I'm not saying you are doing this.
You are embracing your values and passing them along to your children. I would love to talk to them as adults. As much as I love my parents and value the good qualities each of them had, I did not have what you and Chris offer to your children.
Someone asked me recently what difference my childhood was than growing up in an orphanage.
But, I have traded in the cup that I held out for my parents to fill ... for a new one that my Father fills. And the new one is beautiful.
When people say "highly restrictive", are they meaning "protective"?
I love what you say about the world being a gigantic sea of wondrous potential and loving possibilities and fulfillments. I believe that as well. But, if you consider me "mainstream" (not sure if you do), then do you believe that I am among those who exist as "the tiniest speck outlying the boundary of that sea"?
I say that without any personal offence, but out of genuine interest.
I choose to listen and learn what I believe is of value from others and let the rest go. I learn best from those whom I trust.
So, I would encourage you not to paint the whole of "mainstream" (whoever that is) with the same brush -- not to whitewash them as being incapable or blind to the world as you see it.
Do you realize that you are referring to others who see things differently as a "speck"? LOL
This reminds me of "Horton Hears a Who".
Sometimes I think our perceptions colour what really is.
I do not lump people together as a "speck".
You know I'm glad to chat about this anytime.
I thoroughly enjoy our conversations, but because they are infused with grace and passion and a common bond ... because, as a friend once said, in the not-so-distant past, we are all just "slaves of Christ".
No other class distinction.
That was a deeply encouraging statement for me. Affirming and challenging.
On to read the responses now.
Blessings, and I look forward to a "live" visit, soon.

Anonymous said...

That third line in on my second post should read "without", not "with true understanding of another."