Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Gluttony: Sinning Like a Christian

Gluttony is a hard sin to grasp. Even though it’s hard to define it can be more than we think. The church has forced this link between food and sin. It may come from Genesis and the whole eating of the fruit thing. Regardless we should take it serious because Jesus took it seriously. If you recall the first temptation of Christ was after he had fasted for forty days in the wilderness was the temptation of food. The first charges against Jesus by the church leaders were not his theological principles, his teaching, or his preaching. The first charges brought against him were surrounding the eating habits of his disciples. The religious leader asked Jesus why does John the Baptist disciples fast and your disciples eat and drink? Jesus answer was vague but we cannot deny that Jesus talks a lot about parties, feasts, and eating in his parables. When Jesus ended his ministry, not his life but his public ministry, he did it with a meal: Bread and a cup. He said that the food and drink stood for everything he was and is.
So what is gluttony and why is gluttony a sin? Jesus' concern is not what gluttony does to your body but what it does to your soul. There are times when the gut becomes more important than the soul. Most of us believe that we are created in the image of God. When we indulge of excess of food we exchange the image of God in us of that of a slug and a pig. We become purely eating machines. Just like every other animal. We lose self-control. We lose the only thing that singles us out from other animals. Here me clearly. This has nothing to do with weight, body image or body size. It’s about self-control or the ability or inability to stop when we feel satisfied.
Gluttony is sinful to the degree that some of us consume too much in a world where others don’t have enough of the bare necessities of life. I heard somewhere by someone a lot wiser than I say “in the world we don’t have a hunger problem only a compassion and distribution problem.” But sin of gluttony is not limited to food. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Netflix, can be just as harmful or more harmful as over eating. Addictions are the umbrella of gluttony. We have food network channels, people take pictures of their food and share it with their friends, there is even a term called Food Porn and Foodies. But gluttony is not about overeating. People who obsess over food, people who count calories, people who try to tell you everything that is bad in the food that you are eating. Obsessing over food in either way is gluttony. So when does our concern for food become too much concern? That is what concerns Jesus C.S. Lewis describes gluttony as “getting what you want regardless however troublesome it is to others.” So where’s the sin? We all have to eat to survive. We can’t quit cold turkey or we will die. It is not the sin we despise as much as it’s the results of the sin. It’s not that we eat too much or obsess over food too much but the fact that the result is an overweight or unhealthy body that makes this sin unpleasant.  It’s the guilt, shame, and sadness that accompanies gluttony that makes it similar to other sins. How many of us would be the first to admit to the fact that if we could eat whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted, as much as we wanted and never gain a pound or still have a healthy functioning body? I am all in. If we could indulge and not feel the after affects we would never see it as a sin. The problem is when we look in the mirror and sin looks a lot like us.


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