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Archive for Monday, October 27, 2008

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Saying grace deepens mealtime experience

October 27, 2008

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The Wade family, from left, Susan, Angelica, 13, John and, Andrea, 11, gather around the table for prayer in their Lawrence home. The family has been singing "Thank You Father" as their grace since the girls were very young.

The Wade family, from left, Susan, Angelica, 13, John and, Andrea, 11, gather around the table for prayer in their Lawrence home. The family has been singing "Thank You Father" as their grace since the girls were very young.

Andrea Wade, 11, prefers to sing the Johnny Appleseed grace when it's her turn to pick a prayer to sing at Girl Scout camp.

She sings the words: "O the Lord is good to me, and so I thank the Lord for giving me the things I need. The sun and the rain and the apple seed: The Lord is good to me."

Wade prefers singing grace because that's what she does at home with her father, John, a Kansas University psychologist; her mother, Susan, director of the Career Development Center, Baker University, and sister Angelica, 13.

It's a way to take a moment out of their busy days for God.

"It's important for us to eat and pray together every night in spite of the girls' many after-school activities," Susan Wade says. "We sing grace before we begin the meal. It's not unusual for us to add a prayer for a sick friend or extra thanksgiving for blessings, like vacation, extended family or the last day of school."

The Wades, like other Christians, typically use the word "grace" to denote this pre-meal ritual. People of other faiths and beliefs may prefer the word "blessing." American Indians, Muslims, Buddhists and Wiccans are among those who often perform some form of blessing ritual before eating.

Susan Elkins, past president of Lawrence Jewish Community Center, says Jews traditionally invoke blessings about everything from rising in the morning to bedtime and everything in between.

"The idea is that throughout our day, we recognize the blessings around us," she says.

The Stuever family, physician Kevin, nurse practitioner Susan, Stefanie, 17, Sarah, 16, and C.J., 13, are Christian and, like the Wades, cherish eating together as a family in spite of hectic and varied schedules.

"Before we eat, we ask everyone, including our visitors, to hold hands," Susan says.

"We invite everyone to say something they're grateful for, or pray for the less fortunate - like hurricane victims or children suffering with AIDS in Ethiopia."

Is holding hands with visitors embarrassing?

"No," she replies. "The teenagers might giggle, but we're fine with that. With today's culture of ever-growing impersonal communication, like e-mailing and texting, we forget the need for touch. Holding hands and praying before eating together is one way to make those important deeper interpersonal connections."

Comments

Andrew Stahmer 5 years, 5 months ago

Poor SouthSide, so misinformed.All your 'knowledge' has made you a fool.

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beatrice 5 years, 5 months ago

Germs are spread through touch. Holding hands around a table before breaking bread isn't a very practical idea, although I have no problem with folks wanting to give thanks for a meal. I simply don't participate myself. I don't bow my head or close my eyes, but I will remain quiet out of respect for others' beliefs. If that isn't good enough, then don't have me over to your home for a meal. Also, don't ever attempt to say grace when I've invited you to my home. I will say no thanks, and dig right in.

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woodenfleaeater 5 years, 5 months ago

Lord,please keep these people from trying to brainwash me with their christian views.amen

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americandreamrealty 5 years, 5 months ago

i hope you'll see the light someday too, cheeseburger... you also seem nice.

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cheeseburger 5 years, 5 months ago

Oh, Jonas, you seem like a nice enough guy. I truly hope one day you will 'see the light'! Take care!

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jonas_opines 5 years, 5 months ago

As long as I don't have to say a grace, or say "grace," then I'm fine. I'm hoping my family doesn't ever give the responsibility at our dinners, not sure how I'll reword a standard grace to leave the gods out of it.

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craigers 5 years, 5 months ago

It's a great thing when people take a moment out of their day and thank God.

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POTATOCHImPPS 5 years, 5 months ago

We want to take over the world with our perspective and our accounts are all that matter. Brother AmenWe want to rise above the oppression that those pale devils hold above us and undermine their existence; hinder their spirits any way we can.Brother AmenWe need to have our presence known and lead each other into the victory that we must demand we have.Brother AmenWe must have our presence known in each and every household and have them our hostage if we don't have our way with them outside in the community.Brother AmenWe must do everything we can to undermine their ways and hold them hostage to our convictions and make them bow down before us and do what we can. ( by the way, I look mighty fine on this here podium here don't I, while this heathen among us sits here waiting to be freed which we are never going to do and LeRon and Earl hide and sneak around with Marcus telling everyone how to arrange themselves out of our congregation to hurt little kids and try to run them over with cars)Brother Amen(Monkey see, Monkey Do)

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tangential_reasoners_anonymous 5 years, 5 months ago

I always say "Grace" at mealtime... and she replies..."Qu'est-ce que c'est?"

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absolutelyridiculous 5 years, 5 months ago

Oh Southside. It's Monday. Save your religion-bashing for another day when we someone actually cares about what you have to say. Good day. Do something positive today...PLEASE!!!!

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SouthSide 5 years, 5 months ago

"Grace" ... a still common superstition. It is based on a prescientific understanding of the causes of disease. The ancient Bronze Age and Iron Age worldview found in the Bible and in most religions -- a view that dominated society up to the Enlightenment (1500-1700s) and the rise of the scientific method -- was that all diseases originating in foods were spontaneously generated by evil spirits. Since the true cause of disease (microorganisms that reproduce) was unknown, people performed various irrational rituals (shaking rattles, shouting out-loud at the food, saying "grace" prayers, sacrificing little animals, etc.) in a vain hope of preventing the potential demons in the food from hurting them. The development of the scientifically based germ theory (still denied by some fundamentalist religionists) and simple modern inventions like refrigeration have made ancient superstitions like food rituals, such as "grace", both silly, backward, and certainly unnecessary.

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