Grace At The Grocery Store

IMG_5855 “Spiritual struggle” isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when I think about buying my food. But lately, I’ve noticed a lot of judgement as I work through the aisles – from other people to me and from me to other people.

Kids are a big source of this. When I see someone else’s kids screaming their heads off, I tend to feel smug that mine aren’t grabbing the candy or taking off in the produce section or hiding behind temporary displays. Mine are sitting nicely in the cart watching the bad kids. That is just pride! I feel as though I am in a position to condemn this woman’s parenting because God is graciously enabling my kids to obey. What this other mother needs are not judgmental looks, but encouragement, and maybe the gospel. Continue reading

The Gift of Fasting

Kitchenware_Melamine_Bati_Rezowan “Fasting” isn’t usually a word that conjours up ideas of blessing. In western cultures, it’s more associated with hair shirts, self-flagellation, and shaved heads. In the Protestant church, we look at it more as a tool to refocus. But it’s a whole lot more than that.

While “fasting” from facebook, a cell phone, etc., might be useful to an extent, it’s the voluntary abstention from food (either totally, or in usual quantities) that Scripture presents as the norm. That denial of a visceral need that must be fulfilled for life does something that other abstentions don’t. Even if you do seem addicted to your phone, you would not be dead by Christmas if someone took it away. It is fasting from food for a limited, particular time (24 hours, skip-a-meal, etc.) that reveals what a gift it is to our health as Christians. Fasting isn’t a hunger strike that makes God do what we’re asking; it’s a gift from our Creator that helps us increasingly recognize our true spiritual condition, enables us to pray for others, and aids in spiritual growth and development. Continue reading

All Kinds of Gluttons

drink These days, even the White House is worried about how big Americans are getting. In the west, we weigh significantly more per person than any other generation anywhere in the history of the world.  Healthcare professionals, educators and parents are all concerned. There are heaps of initiatives to address the problem before “we are all physically touching each other all the time,” as Jerry Seinfeld quipped.

Thing is, almost nobody is seeing the fat issue as an expression of a heart issue: an idolatry of food. That’s what gluttony is, whether or not our BMI is over 30. Because gluttony is a heart issue, it’s not just overweight people who are sinning here. There are all sorts of ways to be gluttonous while maintaining a socially acceptable figure. Here are a few: Continue reading

Food at Christmas

I love food. I love planning menus, grocery shopping, cooking—and eating. Especially during the holidays. Really, the only thing I don’t like about food is the dishes that I have to wash after the meal is done.

I’m a pretty typical North American in my love for eating. Our culture pushes food in unbelievable ways. We have food blogs, foodies, celebrity chefs, food documentaries, an entire tv channel devoted to food, and well over 500,000 restaurants in the U.S. alone. Our grocery stores are so large that the American government assigns people to help refugees navigate the aisles and tell them not to eat anything from the pet section.

In other words, we’re over the top. Continue reading

How’s Your Food?

It was food, not wealth, sex, or blatant idolatry, that Satan used to tempt Eve. In reading a couple books lately (Reay Tannahill’s Food in History and Kate Colquhoun’s Taste: the Story of Britain Through its Cooking), I’m struck by how prone we are to sin in our use of God’s gift of food, and how closely connected food and belief are. Both books reveal that three sins repeatedly come to the surface in man’s use of food: hypocrisy, violence, and extravagance/gluttony. These example’s from Tannahill’s monograph are representative of trends throughout history:

Continue reading