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Thursday, March 27, 2014

On Food Righteousness and Generosity

I have to warn you. This post will not be written in list form. Nor will it contain any hyperbolic memes nor gifs of Benedict Cumberbatch sardonically tying his shoelaces. (although lets be honest, the latter probably makes any blog post better right?)

So if I've already lost your probably need to read more novels.

I would like to talk about food. I would like to talk about how talking about food, particularly on social media is STRESSING ME OUT. If I see one more article talking about how I'm poisoning my children unless I move to Canada and start letting woodland fairies bring me all I consume I will probably have a panic attack. Maybe I already have.

Its important what we put in our bodies. We are image bearers of our creator and our bodies are sacred places for his spirit, meant to be treated with care. Its important to understand how what we consume affects the economic welfare of farmers and the earth we call home. I'm thankful to live in a time where I have easy access to lots of research on how to take care of my body, and farmers and the earth and all its inhabitants. I'm glad to know who Monsanto is. I want myself and my loved ones (and the world at large really) to have the best quality of life possible and reduce health care costs and take care of the environment. I deeply care about all these things. And true talk? It has made me a little self righteous. It has made me turn my nose up at people in the McDonald's drive thru. It has made me speak with condesention to others when trying to share this elitist knowledge I posses about food. And its not ok.

For the whole first year of my daughter's life she was breast fed, ate no grains or sugars and was given a great variety of only organic fruits and vegetables. During her second year of life my husband had major back surgery that effected his ability to work and I got pregnant with our second daughter and our financial world sort of came crashing down. We could no longer afford to buy all the local organic foods we once did. In fact, we couldn't even buy enough fruits and vegetables to last thru the week if I didn't ration our portions or just choose not to eat any myself. The first few months I had a lot of anxiety over how our diet was forced to change. There was a lot of toast. And peanut butter. And peanut butter on toast and various combinations of the above. But you know what? Never once did we go hungry. Never once did I not have food to feed my family. We have eaten a lot of stuff we didn't necessarily want to, or that wasn't particularly healthy, but never in our lives have we experienced the pain of hunger. Much of that is due to the generosity of friends and family sharing meals with us. Were all those meals hormone and antibiotic free? Definitely not. Did some of them involve processed foods? Absolutely. But the Lord, very lovingly and very painfully rearranged my heart and taught me and my family gratitude and generosity. Even in a year of great hardship we have experienced so much generosity and had the opportunity to be generous. I hold onto what I have much more loosely. I don't feel the need to impress people with my culinary credentials.

I keep thinking about the apostle Paul and the culture clashing fires he had to keep putting out about food. And his were probably harder and more sensitive a topic because they involved food and religion interacting. He talks about it in I Corinthians 8.

1"Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know"

We think we're all experts on food. Paleo, Vegan, Westin Price, etc... And it puffs us up, and yet we don't know as we ought to know because the funny thing is we're lacking in the quality of omniscience. And in our quest to discover a "perfect" dietary dogma to adhere to we will continue to come up short because all is touched by the curse. Not even that 200 square mile patch in Canada where the fairies live is completely untainted. We all are gunna die regardless of whether we ate animals or not. Or saturated fats. Or chia seeds.

Back to the part about love building up... Certainly we can love people well by helping them live healthy lives. If you have a friend who eats Cheetos round the clock it would be totes loving to buy him a bag of apples. But sometimes our incomplete knowledge that we arrogantly forget is incomplete distracts us from serving/loving others well by opening our table to them without judgement. 

Are you passionate about food? Cook an awesome organic local fair trade meal and invite some poor college students to your house. Are you a poor college student who only has access to a microwave and a mini fridge? Grab an extra pack of Easy Mac and share it with somebody. Are you a Christian? Blessing people with a meal is one of the most significant ways you can share Christ's love. And just maybe, while we sit at a table together, a conversation will spring up organically (see what I did there?) about how if we all chipped in 5 dollars we can move in with the fairies in Canada.

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