Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Themes: 3rd Sun After Shunoyo, Ettu Nomb Spl - St. Mary's Suffering
Volume 8 No. 497 August 31, 2018

IV. General Weekly Features

Health Tip: Is it Healthier to Remove Your Shoes at Home?

By Ezequiel Minaya

It's considered polite in some households, but are there more practical reasons for going shoeless inside?

Removing one's shoes when entering a home isn't as commonplace in the U.S. as in some other countries. While going shoeless is considered polite for guests in Japan or Finland, hosts in the States risk catching visitors by surprise with the request.

But it turns out taking your shoes off indoors isn't just good manners. It's good hygiene, too.

Shoes are a menagerie of microorganisms, sometimes carrying dangerous bacteria, says Kevin W. Garey, chairman of the department of pharmacy practice and translational research at the University of Houston. Bacteria can be very hardy—hanging around in some cases for years—but so are most people.

People run little risk of falling ill because of germs clinging to their shoes unless they already suffer from an underlying condition that makes them vulnerable. The elderly and the young are also more susceptible.

But avoiding pathogenic bacteria that can cause illnesses from diarrhea to meningitis is easy, Dr. Garey says. Just take your shoes off. "It's amazing how far humans travel during the day, and all that walking drags in germs and bugs," he says.

Dr. Garey was among a group of researchers who published a study this year focusing on the prevalence of a specific bacterium, Clostridium difficile, also known as C. diff. It was responsible for nearly a half-million infections in the U.S. that resulted in some 29,000 deaths in 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Over two years, Dr. Garey's study tested for C. diff in more than 2,500 samples collected around Houston.

Among samples collected in homes, 26.4% of shoe soles tested positive for C. Diff, about three times the number found on the surfaces of bathrooms and kitchens.

And that's just one bacterium. In an earlier investigation, Dr. Garey examined past studies to learn if "shoe soles are a vector for infectious pathogens." The answer was a resounding yes.

Among the studies: Austrian researchers found at least 40% of shoes carried Listeria monocytogenes in 2015. And a 2014 German study found that over a quarter of boots used on farms carried E.coli.

"Essentially, when you wear your shoes in a house, you are bringing in everything you stepped in during the day," says Jonathan Sexton, a laboratory manager at the Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona.

Wiping your feet, however vigorously, on a welcome mat, provides only limited help, he says. "It will remove some of the dirt, but you have to think of the person who wiped their feet before. You might be picking stuff they left behind."

Some homeowners may worry that guests in socks or bare feet might also represent a health risk. That's possible, Dr. Sexton says, but the inside of a shoe has far less bacteria than the outside.

Both researchers agree that the risk is muted. "Shoes in the house are not something to freak out about," Dr. Sexton says.

Still, given the alternative, there's little argument against removing them, Dr. Garey says. "Taking your shoes off isn't an extreme measure, so, why not?"

Source: Wall Street Journal

Recipe: Irish Stew


2 pounds lamb or beef stew meat
1½ pounds potatoes
5 medium onions
Chopped parsley and thyme to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1½ cups water


Trim the meat and cut into fairly large pieces. Peel and slice the potatoes and onions. Put layers of potatoes, meat, onion and herbs and seasoning into a pot, finishing with a layer of potatoes.

Pour the water over the meat and vegetables, and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for about 2 hours or bake in a slow oven at 300°F. Check during cooking, adding more liquid if necessary. Makes 4 servings.

Tips: Lamb is traditionally used in Irish stew, but beef stew meat is a tasty option. Carrots and pearl barley can be added for extra color and interest. A good Irish stew should be thick and creamy, not swimming in juice.

Recipe courtesy of

Contentment Designed by God

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Have you ever played the comparison game? The rules are simple: Look at what other people have or do, and then desire those things for yourself.

This so-called "game" brings discontentment and envy. The Bible teaches that we are to be content with the life God has given us (Philippians 4:11-12). This does not mean that we settle for less or stop trying to reach our goals.

Contentment is something God has designed for us. Whether we are single or married, we can achieve contentment and peace within our hearts. In order to do this, we must first discover who we are in Christ and realize what He has done for us. He has saved us from an eternal death and chosen us as His beloved children.

Do you ever compare yourself to someone you think is more spiritual? Do you think less of your prayer life when you compare it to that of a prayer warrior you admire? Do you feel inadequate to share your testimony after hearing someone else share his? God does not measure your life against the life of another.

Seek God and learn to be content with what He has provided. He is your greatest source of contentment and satisfaction.


Lord, thank You for all You have provided to me. Help me to be a good steward of my time, talent and resources. Forgive me for coveting what another has rather than thanking You for what You have given me. I pray I will find my contentment and satisfaction in You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him" (1 Corinthians 7:20).

© 2013 Leading The Way 

Family Special: God is So Much More (Than a Husband)

by Debbie Holloway, Family Editor

For your Maker is your husband--the LORD Almighty is his name--the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth
(Isaiah 54:5).

It is natural and good for us to turn to God for comfort when we are overwhelmed by life. Scripture, prayer, and meditation can help us through anxiety, loneliness, divorce, the death of a loved one, and depression. Divorce rates continue to skyrocket, and many women (including single mothers) struggle to fill the hole in their lives with promises of God's faithfulness. Many women use Scripture to remind themselves that, like Hosea married Gomer, the LORD said:

"I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy" (Hosea 2:19).

As I have been pondering this notion of God acting as husband to a neglected wife, grieving widow, or lonely divorcee, something interesting came to mind. Something that maybe changes the way we think about God as a husband figure.

Marriage today is not what it was for biblical authors. Today, in the Western world at least, marriage is a union based on commitment, love, and common interest. We marry someone who shares our worldview, so we can journey through life together. We marry someone to whom we are physically attracted, so that we can enjoy them to the fullest. We marry for romance; we marry for personal fulfillment. Mostly, we marry because we want to - not because we have to. Women who remain single are fully capable of earning a living, doing good works for the Kingdom, and enjoying life.

Women, in the ancient near east had a much more complex understanding of marriage. Yes, in Genesis 2, the Song of Solomon, and other places, we see that God's plan was for marriage to create emotional and physical fulfillment and pleasure. But marriage for ancient Israelite women was more than emotional and physical partnership. It was - literally - a lifesaver. A woman who married gained the chance to have her own home. A woman who married gained the chance to have sons (essentially the life-goal of any ancient near-eastern woman). A woman who married would be provided for, fed, and cared for. If anyone hurt her, she had a legal protector and a place to find safety in much greater measure than if she still lived in her father's household (or, God forbid, had no father or family).

Kind of makes looking to God as "husband" to fulfill emotional needs seem…pretty shallow, doesn't it? Check out this passage in Isaiah that really elaborates on the significance of the metaphor:

"Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband," says the LORD. "Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. "Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. For your Maker is your husband-- the LORD Almighty is his name-- the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth"
(Isaiah 54:1-5).

To ancient Israel, saying "God is your husband" meant that God was their redeemer, God was their savior from captivity, their savior from barrenness.

An important realization comes with this fuller understanding of the God-as-husband metaphor. We can realize that, while God is protector and ultimate satisfaction, he is not a cure-all for our momentary pain. God never promises that his relationship with us can -or should- eliminate every negative emotion that we feel. We must have grace for ourselves, and grace for each other, to mourn and work through pain, without guilt or shame for doing so.

Intersecting Faith and Life:

Have you been trying to dismiss your own heartache (or the heartache of a friend) by saying, "The Lord is your husband!"? Take a moment to consider the full extent of what that means, and what it does not mean.

Further Reading

Jeremiah 31

Source: Crosswalk the Devotional

Christian Life: The Role of Beauty

by Stuart McAllister

"Day after day pours forth speech," says the psalmist of nature's glory. "Night after night reveals his greatness."

As a Scot, I grew up with a love of the countryside. My parents would take us on drives to Loch Lomond, to places like the Trossacks (a beautiful hill and moor area) and many more. These early encounters evoked something that I did not (as a non-believer then) understand. It was the power of beauty itself to speak, not in an audible voice of course, but in some very real sense.

Recently, I drove from Florida to Georgia as the verdant green and array of colors were exploding. I'd be captivated by trees blooming in all their glory, wisps of white, pink, and other shades all mingling in a medley of splendor, and then surprised by bursts of red (which I learned were Azaleas). It was all quite wonderful! Now lest you think I am some strange, European romantic, I have to say that this "noticing" is a result of the patient, constant, and enthusiastic education granted me by my wife.

She has always loved flowers. In my early days of "serious" ministry and dedication to God, I often wondered how one could be sidetracked by such trivia, such commonalities. Yes, flowers and things pointed out were nice when a passing glance was permitted, but they were not important in my mind. They were not the real thing, the serious thing, the main show!

Perhaps it was age, or more likely a divine breakthrough, but one day I began to notice. These things were splendid; they were so unique. They had such detail, so much grandeur, and they evoked delight and joy. C.S. Lewis describes a childhood encounter with a miniature garden that his brother had made in a tin box. He describes the sense of longing, the experience of what he called joy, though fleeting, which was profound and real. Though he didn't know what to call it then, Lewis was gradually awakened to the power and role of beauty, an influence he would employ to great effect in his writings.

Similarly, John Calvin reminded the world that God has given his creatures two books: the book of nature and the word of God. For the Christian, they are not equal in authority or revelatory power, and yet it is a serious neglect to focus on one at the exclusion of the other.

In today's world, many are sincerely inspired by nature. They love long walks, visits to the country, and absorbing the beauties of the world around. They often make nature an end in itself. They celebrate its magnificence, but are left to see it all as a random outcome of chance and necessity. Some Christians, through neglect, do much the same thing. A number of years ago, some monks in an Austrian monastery had gotten used to overlooking a particular painting that hung in their hallways. One day a visitor looked in astonishment and realized it was a Reubens, the prolific seventeenth-century Flemish Baroque painter. A connection was suddenly made between a work of art and its renowned artist. It caused a sensation, an awakening, not the least of which to its value, which was now known.

The psalmist, the Celts, and many others across the centuries learned to see God's hand in nature and to celebrate God's goodness and provision from it. Take a few moments today to look at the birds, contemplate the trees, enjoy a walk, and smell the flowers. Perhaps you may just experience a glimmer of God's glory, too.

About The Author:

Stuart McAllister is vice president of training and special projects at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

Source: A Slice of Infinity
Copyright © 2012 Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, All rights reserved.

All Change Involves This Promise

By Seth Godin

All change involves an if/then promise.

"If you want a delicious dinner, then try this new restaurant."

"If you want to be seen as a hunk, drive this Ferrari."

"If you want to avoid being dead, have this surgery."

If people aren't taking you up on your offer, there are two possible reasons:

  1. Not enough if. Maybe the person doesn't want the thing you're promising as much as you need them to. Maybe they don't care enough, won't pay enough, just don't want that sort of change.
  2. Not enough then. More common is that we want the if, but we don't believe your then. It's easy to claim you're going to deliver the then, but that doesn't mean you have credibility.

When in doubt, add more if.

And definitely more then.

Source: Seth Godin'sBlog


Malankara World Journal is published by
Copyright © 2011-2019 Malankara World. All Rights Reserved.