Yes, I'm a pastor's wife, but I suspect not all of my readers are Christian. I won't hold back on my beliefs, but I also won't shove religion at you. I try not to accept things just because they're told to me but read and research in order to make up my own mind. You'll find a random mix of stuff here, depending on what interests me at the moment. I like to read others' opinions, whether they agree with me or not, which means I love comments on my posts!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What's the Most Taboo Subject in Church?

Many people would say sex is the most taboo subject in church. It's rarely preached about, and most people blush or turn away at the thought of mentioning it in the house of God. But I think there's a subject even more taboo...gluttony.

Gluttony: Excessive eating or drinking; greedy or excessive indulgence (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

Maybe I have never been to the right church at the right time, but I have never heard a pastor preach to a congregation about gluttony. Why not? Probably because we don't want to hear it. Maybe the pastor is afraid too many church members will get mad and not come back. Or maybe the pastor gives in to gluttony so much himself, that he doesn't feel right preaching about it. Or maybe we all have gotten so caught up in it, we no longer see it as wrong.

Wrong? Really? But I LOVE to eat! Really, I do...I'm not being sarcastic here. I grew up not realizing gluttony was wrong. A couple of years ago, I finally started reading the Bible on my own rather than waiting for it to be spoon-fed to me on Sundays. Here's what I found:

Romans 13:14 Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provisions for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Phillipians 3:18-19 ...they are the enemies of the cross: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.

Provers 23:20-21 Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty...

Proverbs 25:16 Have you found honey? Eat as much as is sufficient for you, lest you be filled with it, and vomit.

No, gluttony isn't exactly in the 10 commandments (unless you count having no other gods before Him), but the Bible does speak against it. Food is meant to nourish and sustain us, but overeating beyond what's needed is giving in to the flesh. Phillipians 3:18-19 (above) says it best. Also, drunkeness is often preached against, but we fail to see that gluttons are often lumped with drunkards in Scripture.

An interesting correlation between obesity and religion in the US was found by author Tim Covell. He looked at the CalorieLab2010 report and a 2008 Gallup poll of adult Americans on how important religion was to them. He noticed that 9 out of 10 of the most overweight states are also some of the most religious. Covell admits he reports this "tongue-in-cheek" because the studies don't show why there's a correlation, if there is one at all. Maybe people in poor health come to the church for support, or maybe the obesity can be blamed on poverty rather than religion. Who knows?

Before I offend too many people, I do want to express one of my beliefs: Gluttony does not always lead to obesity, and obesity is not always caused by gluttony. Now let's move on...

If people come to the church for support or obesity is blamed on poverty, the same question comes to my mind: Where is the church's help??? We're keeping our mouths shut and offering no support. Instead, we're happily getting together to feast on roast beef, chocolate cakes, macaroni pie, etc. during Homecomings, showers, birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, fundraisers, and any other excuse we can think of to eat. Please understand I am not saying it's wrong to get together to celebrate. We need fellowship, and around the dinner table is a great way to spend time together. I just don't believe we have to stuff ourselves each time. Too often I see people lean back after a meal, rub their stomachs, and say "wow I can't believe I ate so much" or "I can't move after all of that food." When I say I see people who do this too often, I really mean I see myself rubbing my stomach and saying those things. Guilty as charged.

I see 3 big problems with gluttony:
1) We indulge in greed and excessiveness, putting our physical desires first, which goes against Romans 13:14 and similar scriptures.
2) It's unhealthy to overeat because it puts a strain on our digestive system and adds excess fat for us to carry around.
3) We can't do all that God has planned for us when we're uncomfortably stuffed or unhealthy from too much food.

There are many more cartoons by Randy Glasbergen.


Susan Skitt said...

Hi, thanks for visiting my blog site at Adventurous Living. This was an interesting article. As a pastor's daughter (grown with my own kids now), I have thought of this myself and voiced my thoughts to my dad (he was a former athlete who is now in his advanced years (late 60's) is slightly overweight (not by much) but has developed type 2 diabetes (mostly from eating out more - we never did that growing up because we just didn't have money for it). It is definitely a subject that people like to avoid. Even "skinny" people can at times be "gluttons" if they are eating too much or too much of the wrong foods that are not healthy for our bodies. I think most of us can be guilty at times (like I grabbed two chocolate chip cookies this morning before I ate breakfast since I was up very early with a sick child - no excuse - just telling it like it is).

I did Weight Watchers after the birth of my two sons, now 20 and 10 and began it again last January & dropped 24 lbs. and have been maintaining it since.

Healthy eating and living is a battle that I think many of us don't connect to being a spiritual battle. Since our bodies are the Temple of the LORD, I believe each of us needs to think and take action to keep our Temples in the best shape possible so we can ultimately serve the LORD better.

On a side note about those church dinners, I usually try to bring a good food, like a green salad or fruit, (not that I don't enjoy chocolate cake now and again - just not a huge slice of it). Moderation is the key with sweets and making sure we get a good balance of whole grain foods, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables.

Well, enough said for now on the topic. I look forward to visiting again and seeing your other blog. I have a few other blogs too - one I started back in January when I started WW called Weighing In With Sue to track my progress and another blog called Anna's Place after the widow Anna in the Bible for those who have experienced loss and grief.

Take care!


Nikki said...

Lots of great comments Susan - thanks for posting! I think my favorite part was "no excuse - just telling it like it is." I'm working to stop giving excuses and take responsibility for what I do or don't do.