Tag Archives: God and food

A paradox on the farm

Glenanore Farms raises meat goats.

When talking with the owners about farming goats, we couldn’t help but take pause when we came face to face with a paradox.

Most animal farmers, certainly here in upstate New York, put their heart and soul into raising their livestock. If a mother refuses a baby, the farmer will nurse it to life by bottle feeding. When an animal becomes weak, extra measures are taken to restore its health. The farmers always give their four-legged charges the best care, food, and water.

“Then we kill and process the animals for meat,” said the owner.

Mike Noonan with Glenanore Farms Boer Goats 2 cropped


Surprise birthday cake

“Oh wow, a surprise birthday party. I can’t believe it.”

“Chocolate cake too?”

“I wasn’t expecting chocolate cake or a party.”

Let’s stop here for a second, and look at this mentally.

Does the cake need to be eaten?

Is eating the cake expected?

Is eating the cake a requirement?

Probably not. Probably. And, no.

Now, exchange cake for pain.

When pain surprises us, do we react with disbelief or nonchalance?

Do we eat up what is served to us, whether it’s in the form of arthritis or plantar fascia?

Basically, self-control and wisdom are impersonal. They apply to cake and pain.

As our expression of self-control and wisdom becomes more secure as we turn down cake, and pain, we don’t need or want.

From Eccl. 11

“Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. Remove vexation from your heart, and put away pain from your body, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.”

From 21st Century Science and Health, “If thinking doesn’t shift out of the vicious cycle of believing in a temporal life, life is very disheartening and we feel cursed. Error hides behind a lie and excuses guilt, but can’t be concealed forever. Even the attitude that tries to justify or hide guilt is punished. People who avoid justice and deny truth tend to perpetuate sin, bring on crime, jeopardize self-control, and mock divine mercy.”

Gal. 5

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.


God’s Diet: Turning to God to Battle Obesity

Guest post by Eliza Wood, from Progress Planet.

Is being overweight a sin?

Perhaps life’s demands during Biblical times were such that the problem of obesity was rather small. And perhaps being overweight may have even been a luxury position, implying a person had ample food and others to perform the necessary physical labor. It must have happened to some, but didn’t warrant a specific law, chapter or verse aside from some interpretations of gluttony (there are some 166 verses about that), which, at least in modern times, is not the same as obesity. Heredity, habits, stress and foods themselves all contribute today to this phenomenon.

While being thin is often referred to as a blessing, is being fat considered some kind of curse? Maybe not officially, Biblically speaking, but it sure feels that way to a lot of people unable to shed their unwanted girth.

It is a challenge for many. In the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control, all 50 states have more than 20% obesity. Some states hover at about 25%, and in the 12 most obese states, about 30% of their people are suffering with the problem of obesity — and all the other health challenges that go along with it, including diabetes, high blood pressure, increased risk of heart attack, diminished sleep, etc.

The Bible belt and obesity

These states that have a third of their people larger than they might like to be include some of the most religious Christians among as a nation. The Bible belt has added a few notches to its original design. Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia are those suffering the most.

With a problem of that scale, one that impacts so many important areas of people’s lives, it is only logical that while God may not be to blame, God is certainly part of the solution for many.

God, support groups and diet books

Rick Warren, author of the bestselling book, The Purpose Driven Life, has a lot to say about dieting too. His Daniel Plan is quite the rage.

New books abound, such as God’s Diet: A Short and Simple Way to Eat Naturally, Lose Weight, and Live a Healthier Life by Dr. Dorothy Gault-McNemee and What the Bible Says About Healthy Living: 3 Principles that Will Change Your Diet and Improve Your Health by Dr. Rex Russell. There are twenty or so others as well, if one is the kind of dieter who can read a book and implement the solution privately.

In prayer circles, there is a whole new emerging approach to overcoming the temptation of food and prioritizing fitness and overall wellness by replacing thoughts of food with thoughts of God.

Churches are often offering walking groups, Yoga classes (perhaps under another name so they don’t encourage Hinduism), and encouraging weight loss goals. There is plenty of faithful support for those who give weight loss a try and plenty of acceptance and forgiveness for those who fail.

Selling out in Christian bookstores is Gwen Shamblin’s The Weigh-Down Diet, already more than one million books are in the hands of those who need them. The Hallelujah Diet has been rumored to have been adopted by a hospital, claiming simplicity is the key to weight loss.

Weight loss might be simple, but it usually isn’t much fun.  In this day and age of extreme convenience and instant results, we just aren’t used to doing things that are hard and that have way-out-in-the-distance delayed gratification.

An all-time favorite book of mine was Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. It’s not particularly a Christian or a God-focused book, but it does expose some of the challenges we Americans face with our food itself — in these days of mass food production and food technology. Who knew that eating meat and dairy products from animals given growth hormones actually causes humans to grow perpetually larger? That’s right. The food itself is certainly part of the problem we face.  Short of eating all organic food, there is really no way to avoid getting some growth hormones into one’s body.

Food for many is all mixed up with emotions and thoughts. Meals are often the fun, relaxing parts of one’s day, often the few moments of connecting with the ones we love. We are taught to give thanks and praise to God for food. We are not so thankful for the problems that result from food, however.

No way. There are those among the religious who may feel things are the way they are for a reason. There are others who choose to take their weight, nutrition and fitness into their worldly hands, and there are plenty who don’t have a clue about what to do.

With so many diets on the market, each one promoting something great, such as ease, affordability, painlessness, fast results, lasting results or endless other promises, it is easy to get confused.  Failing at one diet does harm on two levels.  First, it causes the person to feel like a failure, which is a very detrimental event.  Second, it slows the metabolism each time we reduce our food intake, which can be an even bigger problem when one abandons hope for improvement and goes back to old eating habits.

In other words, it is tricky to get it right. If it were easy to fix, we wouldn’t have this problem.

If one does well in small group settings and needs a lot of support, that can be found at church. If prayer and solitude works better for others, that can be done too.

Just beware that in the effort to lose weight, many get drawn into subscription programs that charge a monthly fortune. If religious- or Christian-specific diet books might do the trick, that is possibly the cheapest way to approach dieting.

Sadly, the problem of obesity won’t go away by itself. It appears to be getting worse, not better. For the faithful, it can help to remember that God, in a variety of forms, can be a support.

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