Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gluttony

Within arms reach, as I type this post on the Deadly Sin of Gluttony, is a large bag of cookies left on my desk by my mother-in-law. Well, more accurately, half of a large bag of cookies. I'm well known in these parts as a cookie connoisseur, and come October (pastor appreciation month), I'll probably have a whole bunch more cookies to critique. Spoiler alert... they will all pass my 'test' with flying colors.

But is a cookie monster like myself really a sinner in disguise? Does taking an extra taste or two (or twelve) really measure up to lust, greed, and the rest? The Bible doesn't say very much against over-eating. In fact, in the Old Testament extra weight was interpreted as a sign of God's blessing. And in the New Testament Jesus Himself was accused of being a glutton (after all, He went to a lot of parties and talked a lot about great banquets). If anything, the Bible simply tells us not to spend too much time thinking or worrying about food.

Then again, that's exactly what was meant by the sin of gluttony. Gluttony is defined as excessive eating or drinking. I would change that definition just a bit and say that the sin of Gluttony is any excessiveness connected with eating or drinking. For some, the excess might be the traditional over-indulgence in food. For others, though, Gluttony may take the form of obsessing over one's diet. In America, we sin the sin of gluttony in both ways every day.

One-third of all Americans are overweight, but it's also true that we spend more on dieting than the gross national product of Ireland. Most Americans are either excessive in their food intake or in their dietary details. To both groups Jesus asks, "is not life more important than food?" In truth, obesity, bulimia & anorexia may all be connected to the sin of gluttony.

We need to eat. And we also need to know when to stop. But mostly we need to stop being so obsessed with food in either of the above directions. You are not what you eat, or don't eat, except perhaps in the most important meal of communion.

1 comment:

Miss W said...

I agree. I'm tired of hearing about people's special diets. I have a food allergy and have to avoid certain foods, but I don't go around talking about it all the time. Please, people, eating the right food is good, but EVERYONE IS GOING TO GET SICK AND DIE EVENTUALLY.