At The Alter

As I have traveled internationally again this summer something came back to my mind as I re-entered the U.S. ... "wow we are BIG". Chile, USVI, Holland, South Africa, Germany, Mexico ... of all the places I have been we here in the United States "take the cake" (pun intended) when it comes to national obesity (though we are obviously not the only ones on the planet with this issue, though it might be argued that we were one of the first). I was watching a movie again last night, Despicable Me 2 (a great movie if you ask me), and there is a scene were Groo comments to a little girl about why he is overweight, something to the effect of; "I eat to much candy instead of dealing with my problems". I immediately chuckled at the quick witted humor, designed for the older audience that would be watching, but then I thought to myself, why was that funny? Well, simply, because many times it's true. Obviously there are many of us that struggle with turning to food, and American 'comfort foods in particular, as a coping mechanism for dealing with life. "Emotional eating", I believe it is called. We as humans tend to turn to many other things to help us cope other than God; sex, drugs, alcohol, nicotine, gaming, and general social seclusion and withdrawal just to name a few. Yet in my travels, I have not seen this as prevalent in other cultures (now to be sure every culture has it's own sets of 'national sins'), I wonder why this is? I'm sure there are many answers to this question; we have an over abundance of resources, we have processed and mechanized food production to an unhealthy degree, we have lots of space which forces us to travel by machines rather than some other self propelled means, gluttony preys on our laziness, etc., etc. And it's a part of our culture. We can't do anything social without food. Any type of get together, party, or meeting ... will always have food. And usually not the green leafy kind, but more towards the lil' Debbie variety. We are a culture infatuated, and bloated, at the alter of food. And yet this is something that we rarely talk about or address with any level of seriousness or diligence. We don't do this with many other sins, so why do we approach this one as such? Perhaps it is that it is one of our 'national sins', one that is culturally acceptable, and therefore somewhat off limits, because it tends to affect so many people? What else could we tend to do this with? What else do we have to walk on egg shells about, or sweep under the proverbial "rug"? Now of course Jesus himself was called a glutton and a drunkard because he came eating and drinking, and was the friend of 'sinners' (Mat 11:19), but I take this to mean that he was counter cultural to his religious environment by not giving himself over to hollow, heartless, religious ceremony (c.f. Mat 6:16-18,15:8), not that he was actually given over to gluttony or lack of self control ... nor was he likely to be incredibly over-weight. My plea, is that we would address this sin, not as special or off limits, or greater than any other, but that we would see it as God does, a lack of walking in the Spirit of self-control, which He has given us (2 Tim 1:7). Let's continue to strive to walk in the freedom that Jesus has died to give us! (Jn 10:10, 8:31-36) To read more about how this affects our spiritual lives, and in particular how this hinders us from truly being able to enjoy, see here.

#culture #travel