Yesterday afternoon I had a moment… I was sitting on the couch enjoying a Chardonnay and a Lean Pocket while watching news clips of shoppers trampling themselves to finish their Christmas shopping before noon… and I’m thinking to myself that all common sense has gone to pot. Here these people are pushing each other to the ground to save a few bucks before anyone else can save those same few bucks!? Is this society really this insane? Have we lost our collective intelligence? Or perhaps the Chardonnay and Lean Pockets have uniquely coalesced chemically in my stomach to precipitate some freak enzyme that triggers profound bursts of reasoning. For instance, does it make any sense to give food stamps to obese people? Okay, there could be the extreme exception for medical reasons, loss of a provider, natural disaster or other misfortune. But I mean, really… on the whole is someone who is obese really in need of assistance getting food? Aren’t those people’s layers of lipo-love-flesh a testament to the fact that they have a ready supply and are indeed eating very well, thank you?
Well, today in church another blend of reasoning overtook me. The thoughts of Chardonnay and fat collided again in my mind… let me explain. (To my non-Christian readers this may be a bit foreign but you should read on.) There was chatter in my church regarding the drinking of alcohol by Christians and insinuations that temperance is holiness (a notion that a rational Christ-follower would easily dispel since Jesus himself drank alcohol… and, in fact, Jesus was readily accused of being a drunk by the 1st century version of some people in my church). Anyways, there was, in this chatter, the obligatory Bible references used to ask if drinking wine was beneficial and honoring and glorifying to God… of course the questions were asked in such a way that it’d be uncomfortable, even arrogant, for most people to definitively answer yes to any of those questions for anything except maybe for prayer and fasting. (A more honest and practical approach would be to ask if it dishonors God) I mean, really, could you really say that it glorifies God to eat dessert… dessert which is loaded with saturated fats and sugar… useless calories that do not benefit our “temple”… usually eaten for the vulgar epicurean delight of its devourer? (sounds sinful to me… get the fires goin’!) I say that obesity, the abuse of food, has far greater in-roads in the church-goers I know than alcoholism, the abuse of alcohol. However, abstinence of dessert sounds pretty ridiculous (especially to obese church-goers)… and it just doesn’t have the same resonance with the ole-timers as temperance-talk. Needless to say, the leanings of the chatter were as evident as the slant a peace-protester-turned-journalist would put on an “objective” news story from Iraq… the facts stated were correct, but the way they were delivered and the parts that were left off bias the story and reveal the chatterers agenda. (To be fair… I don’t believe the agenda today was intended to deceive anyone.)
So be certain that, on their own, I don’t think it is any more wrong to eat dessert than to drink alcohol. Be certain that there are those who think alcohol is wrong (for everyone) and who would sway you to come to their conclusions with them. A great comedian, Conservative and Christ-follower, Brad Stine, wrote a book touching on this very topic and this very comparison between alcohol and dessert. The book is called Being a Christian Without Being an Idiot, and while the literary editing is a bit rough, the content is funny, smart and extremely relevant. If you are one of my fellow Christ-followers (and hopefully better at it than I) this book is a must read… at the very least to be aware of some prevalent idiocy pitfalls. And while you’re at it it wouldn’t hurt to watch any of Brad’s multiple comedy DVDs. He’s also been a featured speaker the last 3 years at Promise Keepers and I suspect he’ll be there again this year.