Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sinfully Delicious

Lately, the connection between food and sin has been on my mind a lot.    It has always struck me as odd that, as a society, we have this tendency to consider anything that seems enjoyable a "bad" thing.  I can't count how many times I've heard people say something along the lines of, "This is so good, eating it must be a sin."  Maybe I'm too caught up in "selective" reading, but I don't know where in Scripture that idea is really supported.  Sure there have been all kinds of dietary laws.
But among those that chew the cud or have divided hoofs, you shall not eat the following: The pig, for even though it has divided hoofs and is cloven-footed, it does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you.  -Leviticus 11:4a,7
Fortunately for pork lovers like myself, Jesus said that "it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles." -Matthew 15:11.  I think what we have done is gone from a position where anything in excess is bad (e.g. greed, gluttony, etc.) and moved to our new position of enjoyable = bad.  Admittedly, I think that gluttony is a problem that we face.  This is easily recognizable in how excited I was when this commercial was brought to my attention.

While I can see the issues of gluttony and excess, I fear we've taken things to far.  The children's program we are doing as part of our Lenten series at St. Timothy's is "Know Chocolate".  The connection between "know" and "no" is intentional.  Chocolate is one of those things that so many people give up for Lent and think of as one of those "sinful" pleasures.  Interestingly enough, the scientific name for chocolate (Theobroma Cacao) means something along the lines of "food of the gods".  Instead of treating chocolate as though it is some sort of vice, we want to make sure these kids know that it is okay to enjoy chocolate and other simple pleasures in this life (as long as they are done in moderation).

I'm not suggesting that we should give in to every desire that we have.  Instead, I believe that we should be able to enjoy life a bit more and not have to feel guilty about it.

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