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I was thinking today about gluttony.
You see, there are many people in the world who don't have what most of us have in the way of food.
Here in the US we often get together to eat, not because we need to eat when we gather but, because it's enjoyable to eat when we're together.
I understand that food and taste are gifts from God. He could have made food without taste and we could still live off of it. He obviously gave it to us to enjoy as well as to sustain us.
When, though, do we become gluttonous?
For example, I've changed one of the churches I pastor. (That makes the commute between churches easier. It also has lowered my stress levels.) These folks like to get together simply to eat ice cream. They all talk about how everyone brings a different flavor of BlueBell, and everyone eats and leaves hurting.
I know it's well that we enjoy our food. When does joy become idolatry and pleasure in eating become gluttony?
We often deal with drunkenness as a sin, but how often do we think about gluttony?
I think gluttony is actually the cause of corporate farming.
Once there were over 200 dairies in Tangipahoa Parish, LA where I am pastor. Now there are only about that number in the whole state.
Government regulation, greed, and gluttony are killing the US and harming the church in the US.
My husband would have loved to have been a farmer, he would have been good at it ,but it takes huge money to get into farming and be able to survive. You almost have to inherit an operating farm. We've seen many small farmers quit. Dairy farms which were huge around here are few now. The point being is gluttony is far reaching
I applaud what you are doing, Holly. We don't have the acreage to do something like what you do ourselves, but we do go to a canning place on a regular basis and can our own freshly made organic stuff that is all grown locally. It is kinda a co-op setup. I grew up one generation away from share-croppers that grew/hunted/picked all they own food (my grandmother raised 9 kids on $66/mo social security). So I learned to fish and hunt and had small gardens as a kid. So I get that. But I was reminded of that Doomsday Preppers show when I saw this topic. So it's just an open question for all of us (not directed at Holly) and is as much brought to mind by the time and energy required to grow/prepare our own stuff as it is a very high-maintenance vegetarian that recently spent a weekend with us.
At what point do we substitute an over-prioritization of unhealthy food with an equally unwise unhealthy prioritization of time/energy/money in food prep and food storage? Can the vegan health-food nut that is as skinny as a rail and super healthy (we're pretending here) be equally guilty of an over-emphasis on food? We no longer live in a civilization where most of us are required to spend a huge percentage of our time on hunting food, growing food, picking food, stockpiling food, cooking food, preserving food, and/or eating food. We don't live in that agrarian type society like I've seen in Africa where everyone is basically left to what they can grow/hunt themselves. It is a choice. There ARE benefits to some of these choices, but we can spend our time/money/effort elsewhere should we choose. But I think ANY of these choices can become an extreme and perhaps our time and energy that CAN now be spent elsewhere might be of more benefit. I don't see a lot of difference between the guy that lives to eat well and the guy that lives to eat healthier. It's still a wrong focus if it is a choice we make. Whether the "glutton" is spending too much time and money on fancy food or the vegetarian is having to go to the same level of effort to support their desire for specific foods, what's the difference? At the end of the day, one might live longer to do more of it, but but that doesn't mean that it's still a wise focus of our energies. Healthy food costs more. And canning my own soup is a lot more expensive than what I can buy in Kroger. Is that the best place to spend my time and money? Is my locally grown healthy fixation a better one than the "glutton's" exotic fixation? I don't know. Just a thought...
I like your "overconsumption to the point of wastefulness" definition. I was just asking/wondering if we don't sometimes also become "wasteful" in our time and energies as well. It's the whole idea that gluttony isn't just about how much we consume that was the point of my first post. I think that is too restrictive of a definition. I just don't see a difference between spending a weeks worth of wages on a spoonful of fish eggs, eating a week's worth of food in one sitting, and spending a weeks worth of time so that I can consume some specially grown and specially fertilized and specially prepared home-grown home-made wheat bread. What we eat reflects our priorities. And just because something may be healthier or local or tastes more to our liking doesn't mean that it's more Biblical if it becomes an idol that distracts us from Kingdom business.
That might be true regarding stewardship of time and resources but a fixation still, in my view, doesn't cancel out gluttony. It's not that hard to combat gluttony.
I think overeating occasionally has little to do with gluttony and yes I think you can be thin and gluttonous on salad,sushi,and caviar. To me , not as though I define the word, but my understanding of gluttony is overconsumption to the point of wastefulness and gross exaggeration of need and or enjoyment. I know during the Roman empire's hay day they would feast for days, throwing up so as to eat more.
In the OT gluttons and drunkards are mentioned together. I guess living to excess with either food or drink will lead to poverty. In Proverbs, drowsiness is added. So its not good to eat too much, drink too much or sleep too much. Seems we continue to see evidence of such behavior in our world today and see the same outcomes we were warned of.
So are you saying that eating at Sloppy Joe's Home Cooking Buffet is a way to combat gluttony and that eating at Chik-fil-A is gluttonous? I just don't get your analogy. Seems like you are conflating the ideas of "health/local food versus mass-produced food" with a sin. I just don't understand the idea that if you love imported caviar you are a glutton but if you love local carrots you are not. Just how is paying more for less a good stewardship thing?
I had a response typed out and poof! Gone. >:(
Trying AGAIN, this time in numbered points, as I have now lost patience with Theo:
1. Any new habit requires an initial investment of time and effort. As it takes hold, it is absorbed into the routine of daily life. Human beings are also good at innovation; they typically find ways to efficiently incorporate new habits into their lives so that less "conscious" thought has to be taken to achieve goals. This is true of eating differently, exercising, etc.
2. Anything may become an obsession and may be expressed accordingly. That doesn't make the thing itself bad. People may fixate on their bodies/what they eat and this shows up in over-eating, under-eating, binge/purge eating, etc. Whether this is always or ever gluttony is open to discussion.
3. We're not Doomsday Preppers, btw. We have specific goals in mind and everything we have done to advance toward them has been a deal of hard work (attended by challenges). My post reflected on the need to keep what we're doing God-directed, but by no means do I consider nourishing, wholesome food raised by our own hand to be a waste of time or resources. On the contrary, I consider the tending of the earth to be a gift that echoes through the millenia from Eden into the present age. I'm happy to see people waking up to the reality that they don't have to allow others to do their thinking for them when it comes to what they eat or feed their children.
4. I agree that corporate farming practices are driving family farms to the brink of extinction. No one alive needs to stuff an entire steer down their throat every week, but as long as people consider it essential to do so, animals will be crowded into filthy pens, fed a diet that makes them sick (so they gain weight quickly), then given antibiotics, hormones and steroids, so demand can be met (in stores and restaurants) and profit generated. The philosophy behind buying locally is that you may pay a bit more for it and eat less of it, but small farms usually pasture their cattle (no grain, no feedlots, etc.). They use rotational grazing methods so the land benefits. You ARE stewarding the animals, the land when you support these farmers - even if you aren't doing so directly.
5. We (personally) aren't doing what we are doing to "save the planet." I believe the planet is firmly under the ultimate control and authority of the One who created it. However, I know my place. I am a tenant. My life, and how I live it, should demonstrate that I understand that NONE OF THIS belongs to me. The earth is the Lords, and the fullness thereof, so...while He has given its resources into our hands to use, we should do so thoughtfully and not in a way that allows us to lapse into sinful arrogance, abusiveness or wanton destructiveness. Imperfectly though we may, we should at least strive to understand Biblical stewardship.
I think that was all.
I didn't mean to suggest that you were a prepper, Holly. LOL I find some of their ideas to actually be prudent and good stewardship. Some of their ideas for becoming self-sustaining are really great. But, for many of them, it becomes an obsession. They go to extreme lengths because of their belief of some coming disaster. Makes me wonder what would happen if they were equally convinced of a coming rapture. Whether we over-concentrate on getting the most food possible or the "best" food possible - no matter how we define "best" - it can still become a distraction from proper priorities. As much as I can afford it, I try to go with healthier foods and/or locally grown foods. But that is, to be honest with myself, a preference. If I choose to eat a Big Mac or a Dominoes Pizza, it isn't going to kill me. And the money I might save over buying home canned veggies could be used to help the poor or support a missionary or something. So I have to be honest with myself and realize that when I choose to pay more for less and get burger from the farm next door instead of the meat market at Kroger, I'm basically making that a priority over having more money that could be used to support something else. Don't get me wrong. My freezer has a bunch of meat in it that we just got locally. And I didn't even compare the price at Kroger. I did it because I wanted to. And when it is gone, I'll probably do it again. :) So I'm preaching at myself as much as anyone else. I have to wonder if, as a steward of the time and resources that God has given me, if I am not putting my preferences above how HE would want those things spent. I just don't see preferences that get me closer to my food sources as being more Biblical than perhaps spending that time/money on something that get me closer to HIS goals for me. I have to admit that it is what I want, not what I need. And I just don't see the difference between the foodie that buys a 6oz filet mignon for the same price as he could get 100oz of ground beef and the person that buys 6 ears of specially grown corn for the same price as a bushel of the stuff that was mass produced elsewhere. And, to be honest, that convicts me a bit. Regardless of what I weigh, am I being just as much of a glutton and foodie as the other guy, just in a different way?
Do you think the mods are randomly zapping posts?