Food is such an integral part of life, and thus, we should do more than just consume food but eat with thought and intention. Because we are more than animals, we should eat sensibly and spiritually. I quickly admit that I am a novice on the subject of food and eating, but I want to know more and I want to become a much more responsible consumer of food. Here are the issues for me …
- I am what I eat. What I eat, how I eat, when I eat, and with whom I eat are life-defining issues. Eating is more than a necessary bodily function; eating determines who I am. I pull up to food and eat at least three times a day – it cannot help but define who I am.
- I am to be an active eater. This does not mean that I eat fast or am a voracious eater. It means that I am not to be passive as I approach food. I am to know where my food comes from and who prepares it. It also means that I am actively thinking of why I eat what I do. An active eater asks: Why am I eating this? Do I really need this? What nutritional value is in this food?
- I am to be a social eater. While eating is certainly for health and nutrition, it is also meant to be enjoyed and taken with others. Rather than being a solo act, eating should connect me to friends, family, strangers, and enemies. Eating is to take place around a table with other people. Conversation is the spice of food and the sweetness of a meal.
- I am to be a conscious eater. Eating must be more than getting what I want, when I want it, and at the cheapest price. Serious thought needs to be given to where food comes from, how much oil has been expended to get it to my mouth, whether pesticides and antibiotics have been used in its production, have those who produced it gotten a fair wage for their product, is it from a corporate farm or locally grown, was it ripe when harvested, has it been genetically modified, has all the nutritional value been processed out of it, etc.
- I am to eat spiritually. On the question of what is permissible to eat, Paul challenges the believers at Corinth that whether they eat or drink this or that, or whatever they do, they are to do it all for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). I can say with certainty that if I waste food when others are starving, I am not glorifying God. If I consume more food than my body needs and thus do damage to my heart and develop diabetes, then I am not glorifying God with my body. If I am obese and gluttonous, I give witness to the fact that my appetite is out of control and my desires are unchecked and undisciplined. Eating is a spiritual matter.
I am a reformed and reforming ‘mindless-overeater’. I admit that when it comes to sensible and spiritual eating, I am a neophyte. But I am actively being tutored by the women in my family and others. I invite you visit the blog of my mentor in all things food – What Would Jesus Eat? Lucas seeks to identify issues related to food and eating and develop a thoughtful and active theology of food. But be careful … he is a convincing radical who just may change the way you buy, consume – and eat!