i’ve been thinking about food.
our pastor mentioned once, that while he was in a third world country, a place full of ancestor worship and superstition, that a local came up to him and accused americans of being the ones who were idol worshipers. when asked what he meant, the man referred to all the flashing restaurant signs and food billboards that litter our country. i guess he thought we had an issue. do we?
we already know you can pretty come up with any food gospel you want. if you can think of it, it probably exists somewhere. i recently saw a blog for a food counselor, whose whole purpose was to help you escape all the food lies so you could eat the stuff without a complex. it’s food, you eat it. you know, you pay her $100 an hour and she’ll set you straight. so what is straight? it should seem obvious that satan is having a hay day with the subject and that we should get our savvy on. i think that calls for a few more food documentaries and a “commitment to a healthier lifestyle.” oh wait, we tried that.
maybe we could just check what the bible says. and then, you know, do what it says. i think people are missing the boat because they are not fighting fire with fire. they are granting food some kind of theological neutrality and then fighting it’s phobias and resultant bondage with their worldly squirt guns. no, go for the big guns. always go for the big guns. and the biggest gun, when it comes to food, is gratitude. rejoice. and see where it takes you. “then he said unto them, go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the lord is your strength.”
but i’ll get back to that. right now i just want to drop in on the second bad boy in the arsenal. let’s apply some 1 corinthians 8:8. “food will not commend us to god. we are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do.” read it and weep. there is no morality in food, and if there is no morality, there is no guilt. the bible practically bends over backwards trying to tell people not to mix food with the gospel.
“now the spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that god created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. for everything created by god is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of god and prayer.”
it’s plain bad juju. because what happens when you do try to eat your way to heaven? well, for one thing, you start eating cookies with no sugar, no gluten, and no dairy. and that’s just wrong. the things people will or will not eat, and what they will pay for them, because of guilt are quite remarkable. besides, when you get rid of all the “bad” foods, the only truly healthful options you have left are a handful of sprouted grains with your organic apple and raw carrot. try saying thanks over that. because it’s all bad for you. refined flour, sugar, dairy, stimulants, mushrooms (a.k.a. vegetable parasites), yeast, alcohol, your pet dead animals, oil heated above room temperature, gluten, anything fermented or pickled, and, let’s face it, anything cooked. i said you only got a sprouted lentil and i meant it. and after that, guess what? you’re still going to die. oh…or did we forget the curse? remember, it was god who shortened our years. and he did that for our good. he was even nice about it and did it through cheese and not random lightning storms that took out anyone above 75. be glad.
i’m sure you’re still looking for an excuse to keep eating cardboard, but the point i really want to make is that god is for us, not against us. we always make our stand, exactly where he makes his, and step out in faith. we don’t sit there and make “what if’s” about whether it’s healthy enough. does your god raise the dead or not? then have some dignity and take your butter like a man. besides, fear is not so near as effective of a weapon as exaltation. because, really, what would happen if you did? you know, if you waxed ecstatic over eating? what would that look like? and how would it look compared to everyone else and their incessant whining? food is a glorious thing. it’s a gift. god made us like him, with an urge to create, and then placed us in the garden full of groceries. do we sit there in the produce aisle, paralyzed by fear and nibbling on a turnip, or do we start frying mushrooms in butter? pursue food. go all out. god has set before us a land flowing with milk and honey. shout “hallelujah!” and jump in. god wants to bless us. he wants us to enjoy life and he wants us to enjoy it to the fullest. and even if you think you can squeeze an extra five years out of your life by becoming vegan, drinking only alkalized water, and eating dry crusts of bread, i doubt it’s the quality of life he had in mind.
the table occupies a high place in scripture. it’s the place where god meets with his people. it’s where we share fellowship with others. it’s where we sit down and enjoy the salvation that has already been accomplished on our behalf. the world eats at wendy’s. the world thinks a slimfast shake counts as a meal. but only a christian can really enjoy food. in god’s right hand are pleasures forevermore, but the wicked?
“i denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
i refused my heart no pleasure.
my heart took delight in all my labor,
and this was the reward for all my toil.
yet when i surveyed all that my hands had done
and what i had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.”
their food turns to ash. but when we sit down at the table, when we enjoy the food god has given us, we are proclaiming to the world that we know from where our salvation comes. so do a good job of it. gourmet up. set your table. eat good food. and by that, i mean food that tastes good. and when you chill out a little, when you start enjoying and pursuing food, you will lose your taste for crack food. also known as, “satan bait for idiots.” the best antidote for which, is simply the goodwife. the woman who is seeking to pour out on her family the goodness that god has for them, at her table. because god is good. that woman is like antiaircraft for high fructose corn syrup, untold numbers of diet ads, hungry man dinners, and eating disorders. and do you know what’s even better? the woman who does all of that with a smile. someone once mentioned that the main reason we like to go to restaurants is because we sure don’t get that kind of service at home. no one can make fry sauce like those nice girls at hooters. and i can tell you now, there would be no divorce rate if you could make fry sauce like the girls at hooters. you should go sometime. we all could use a little refresh.
so whatever you do, don’t eat to live, live to eat. don’t make an eleventh commandment called, “thou shalt be healthy” (because there isn’t one). try doing what god said in the first place and find out that it’s even better. love food. love feeding people. thank god for what you eat. if you are pursuing the gift he gave us with thanks, not moralizing over it like he told us not to, we will be eating relatively more healthy food after all. because it’s better food. it’s still going to kill us, because frankly, it’s supposed to. but our god is a god who brings life from death. along the same lines, someone who is excited about food won’t be feeding kraft to their kids every day because, “hey, what difference does it make?” no, we’re after glory. they also won’t be slaves to every fear driven gimmick that comes along with the word “organic” written on it. and i doubt they will be lining up to buy monsanto corn and hormone ready chicken either. not because it’s “unhealthy” but because it’s not fitting. it’s not suitable to our table. we only go for the good stuff.
“so i commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life god has given him under the sun.”
p.s. and for the record, when god made all foods clean, he meant all foods. that even includes the healthy ones. so by all means, be healthy. i’m not telling you not to. but like this article mentioned, if you feel like a “rabbi eating a b.l.t.” when you have a doughnut, know that satan has his claws in you like some pissed off kardashian. cuz god loves doughnuts. just not as much as he loves homemade lemon meringue pie.