Fear, Shame, and Guilt at Lunch

My friend Toby Sumpter has written a series of posts on food here (starting with his Free Range post), and this has generated some back and forth in various places, both online and off, and I thought I should join the discussion. But first some exegetical background.

In John 6, the Lord fed the five thousand, and when they thought this was a good reason for making Him king, He got away from them across the water. However, some who found His message for the belly particularly compelling tracked Him down. Jesus told them that they were following Him because of the physical loaves, which was the wrong reason. He told them to work for the food that endures “to everlasting life” (John 6:27). Do not work, He said, for food that perishes. And if we should not work for food that perishes, we shouldn’t get worked up over food that perishes.

They asked what they needed to do in order to work the works of God. Jesus told them that the work of God is believing in Jesus. In other words, when people believe in Jesus, God is at work. This is not the work we do for God, it is rather the work that God does in us.

They asked for a sign, and since it was getting close to lunchtime, the sign they suggested was manna from Heaven (v. 31). That would be a good one, one calculated to keep them interested in theology.

Jesus replied that He was the true food and the true drink, and is given for the life of the world (v. 33). They asked for that bread, not yet understanding what He was talking about (v. 34). Jesus says that He was the true spiritual bread and the true drink, and the one who believes in Him will never go hungry or thirsty. He is speaking of genuine faith because He is speaking of those the Father gives to Him, and they are the ones who will never be cast out (vv. 37-40).

The Jews murmured at this because of what Jesus was claiming to be. Jesus told them not to murmur. He said that everyone who has learned from the Father comes to Him (v. 45). Jesus doubled down on His difficult words, and created additional dissension among the Jews (v. 52). Jesus then went over it yet again (vv. 53-58).

And that was the point when He started to lose disciples (v. 60). Jesus said that this was part of the purpose from the beginning (v. 64). This is why He had emphasized that the Father had to give all true disciples (v. 65). “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (v. 66). Jesus then asked the twelve if they were going too, and Peter replied that they had nowhere to go. Eternal life was with Him (v. 68). Hard teaching like this is a winnowing fan.

Now this is a rich chapter, filled to the top with godly relevance to the entire subject of our contemporary food debates. We need to know how carnal food relates to eternal life. The answer is — not at all. But carnal food is defined as food that is thought of carnally. The sin is never in the food because Jesus declared all foods clean. The sin is always in the sinner. This means that we can sin with our food but we cannot sin by food.

These people thought carnally of the miraculous food that Jesus had provided, and wanted to make Him king because of it. They also thought of the manna that came down from Heaven carnally. They thought that Jesus should prove Himself that way. The spiritual source of the food didn’t keep them from sinning with it.

But when Jesus responded with the undeniable truth that He was the food and drink they needed, and that the mouth that receives this food and drink is the kind of faith the Father gives, He lost a bunch of them. A significant number of His disciples threw up their hands in despair and walked away from Him. Now this was not because Jesus was a lousy communicator. It was because He was a spiritual communicator, and idolaters cannot get their minds around spiritual things. The natural man cannot understand the things of the spirit, because they are spiritually discerned.

Now, here is an obligatory caveat. God doesn’t care what kind of food you are eating — tofu or spam from the can — as long as you are eating it with gratitude and peace. “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 14:17). “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Tim. 4:4-5). This is actually very simple. And if God doesn’t care what food you are eating, so long as you said grace over it sincerely, then I shouldn’t care either. And I really don’t.

But people often don’t believe that I don’t care what people eat — because it is convenient for them to keep misconstruing that particular point. The more we talk about granola — which, by the by, I usually have for breakfast in the morning, mixed with yogurt, look at me go — the less we are talking about heart attitudes, and relationships between actual people, which are the whole point. But I really enjoy the fact that there are people who eat birds nest soup. What a world! And I also enjoy the fact that others eat Campbell’s Cream of Chicken soup, right out of a can, while still others eat yogi fogey soup from the co-op, the main ingredient of which is pure thoughts, locally sourced. All that matters to me is that you like it, are grateful to God while you eat it, and don’t have a furrowed brow over it. Just eat your lunch, man!

If you are wound up tight over food — and it doesn’t matter in which direction — then the issue is foodalatry. That is what the problem is, and not the nature of the food itself.

Now it seems plain to me that our generation has a strange fixation with food. This is not an imaginary problem. Food was given by God to provide us with a recurring occasion for joy, gratitude, and fellowship, and many of us have turned it into a recurring opportunity for fear, shame, and guilt. Can anyone honestly doubt this? Even among Christians, it is common to see people fretting constantly about the levels of toxicity in their bodies courtesy of Certain Corporations (fear), the fattening effects of that entirely unnecessary cheesecake they had at lunch (shame), and the fact that the coffee beans for their mocha were picked by an underpaid laborer in the third world (guilt). On top of this, many Christians want us to mix this fear, shame, and guilt into one big casserole and eat it in the name of Jesus. But Jesus isn’t like that. He forgives us our sins, and He does so entirely independent of whatever it is we are putting in our mouths.

This terrible mixture of fear, shame and guilt is so prevalent that it is difficult even to see it — but once you see it, you find it everywhere. Fish don’t notice how wet they are, and people who think about their colon all the time don’t notice that either. This is how idolatry gets into everything — what is the topic of virtually every conversation?

People who are broken by their food issues are not rejected by Jesus for that reason. Whatever your issues are, bring them to Jesus. Don’t stop following Jesus. He welcomes all refugees. If you are fleeing from fear, shame and guilt, then come to Him. But if you are a purveyor of fear, shame and guilt, you are an apostle of that junk, not a refugee. If you are insistent on everyone feeding everyone something other than Jesus, then you are among those disciples are in the process of departing from Him.

Now given this complicated reality, if someone gives a clarion blast that reveals exactly what is going on, as Toby did, it is hardly to the point to say that quite a few people “didn’t understand” what you were saying. That is exactly what happens when you attack this kind of seeping idolatry — people think you need to brush up on your rhetorical skills, they want you to stop mumbling, and they want you to make all your points to the satisfaction of those who have a vested interest in not being satisfied by them. When the apostle Paul preached in Athens — remember, he was one of the greatest minds in the history of the world, and Athens was one of the most idolatrous cities in that same history — he was dismissed as a dilettante, a dabbler, a seed picker (Acts 17:18). “Tear down your idols!” “What did he say? Dare the clown sidles? What kind of sense does that make?”

Now some might respond that if we are simply addressing the attitudes only, and not the foodstuffs in themselves, why does it appear that we are focusing most of our attention on “alternativey” stuff? The answer to that is simple. It is the same reason why surfers ride the wave that is headed toward the beach right now, and they never try to ride yesterday’s wave in. Yesterday’s wave isn’t here anymore. There was a time when the up-to-date and most Modern way in Scientific Progress was the idol du jour, and it was the hot new thing among regular folks, and it worked in all the same terrible peer pressure ways. And at that time, it was the duty of intelligent pastors to attack all that stuff, and for all the same reasons.

In the fifties, if a woman breastfed her baby, she was thought to be acting like a savage, like she wanted to get photographed for National Geographic or something. Why didn’t she do the right thing for her baby and give her this scientific formula in a can? That modernistic hubris really was something — just as bad as the postmodern hubris we are dealing with now.

In the fifties, the woman who breastfed her baby was a woman who got the stink eye. Today it would be the woman who uses formula who gets the stink eye — whether or not she had reasonable grounds for doing so. Now as a pastor my concern is with the stink eye part, and not with monitoring how many calories the babies are getting. But when I deal with bad attitudes, this creates an optical illusion, as though I am taking sides “on the merits” with those who are currently getting the treatment. Not at all — if there were a band of imperialistic formula feeders in my church who were giving major grief to a beleaguered breast feeder, I would admonish them all sharply, so that they might be sound in the faith. And then, having admonished them, I would donate the whole lot of them to the Smithsonian so they could be put into an exhibit.

High-techy modernism is still an idol, but it is now an establishment idol. It doesn’t rely on exuberant proselytizing to grow. It doesn’t ride on peer pressure (the way it used to). It is just as sinful to bow down to this idol of Science as ever it was, but the idol of Science is not causing tension in the fellowship of the saints the same way that the alternative stuff is currently doing. This is not because of anything inherent in any particular alternative treatment, but rather because as a social movement it is on the ascendant and is growing by proselytizing. The old idol is like a liberal mainstream denominational church, chock full of bad doctrine, but which hasn’t proselytized anyone for seventy-five years. But the devotees of new idol are going door-to-door, literature in hand, and are making themselves the topic of conversation.

You can still see the modernist idol at work in television advertisements for the newest Big Pharma drugs. You know the kind — where the fine print ad copy was written by lawyers with a gruesome turn of mind? “Side effects may include writhing on the living room floor, chewing on the coffee table leg, and vomiting up blood.” I can’t really say I have felt enticed to try MadcowMyrica myself.

Side effects may also include sitting in two claw foot bathtubs in odd, open air locations.

Because the earth is the Lord’s (and the fullness thereof), I may take medication my doctor prescribes, and I can do that lawfully, or I might lawfully try something my sister tried and liked. What I may not do in either case is bow down. In other words, there are people who eat things I don’t eat, and who treat themselves with medicines that I wouldn’t use, who are not in the grip of the problems I am talking about. The thing I am insisting on is that such things ought never to become a barrier to fellowship. That’s it. Now, despite this disclaimer, if someone comes up to me angrily and says, “I don’t care about all those disclaimers . . . you really are talking about me!” Well, yes, I guess I probably am.

So, then, bring this full circle — back to John 6. There are many people who — because they are not feeding on Christ — are disrupting fellowship over food and medical issues through their imperialism, bad manners, unteachable spirit, insecurity, thoughtlessness, provincialism, and dogmatism.

Here is a composite picture, one I will fill out in greater detail at some other time. Picture a young, married couple with a fairly rocky relationship. She is the one with eighty percent (or more) of the manifesting troubles that they are seeking to resolve. He is being a weak husband (which is not necessarily the same thing as being a weak man), and he supports her fully in her health research and food pursuits because he believes (because of their other recurring conflicts), that he owes her support, and because he thinks a good way to make compensatory peace with her is to have a common foe that they can battle together. She is overwhelmed with her responsibilities with the littles, and gets together regularly with other women who are very much in the same position that she is in — and they talk about their issues a lot. The presenting issues become a corporate and social matter this way, and it all spills over into social media. She and her husband are not diligent Bible readers, but to the extent they interact with the Word, they use a way of interpretation that is more a “free association of images” method than it is a “follow the reasoning closely” method. They are not “close” Bible students, and this way of reading Scripture carries over into their way of reading the world. One other symptom is that they have very sloppy entertainment standards that they both share together, and which frequently slops over into a private porn problem that he has.

Now if someone “eats healthy” and that is where the similarity with the preceding paragraph ends, then the reason is simple. None of this is about you, and nobody is upset with what you had for lunch. But the fact it is not about you does not mean that it can’t be about anybody. There are many who do fit this description, and the need of the hour is for them to work through John 6 in search of the liberty that is certainly there. And liberty is there because Jesus is there.

Skip to 62 Comments
Letters
Submit A Letter to the Editor. Well-written, fair-minded letters may be interacted with in featured posts. Also, please mention the title of the post which you are addressing.

62
Leave a Reply

avatar
 
62 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
22 Comment authors
caroleRobin PhillipsJohn BrighamJonathanMatthew N. Petersen Recent comment authors

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
carole
Guest
carole

Thank you, Sir!  And for those of us who have actual health problems, the last thing I want is to hear how if I would eat yogi fogi granola, they would go away. Wheat grass shots will not make my prosthetic legs turn back into bone!  Thanks anyway. It really is a barrier to fellowship.  But, Pastor, next time you are going to say something hilarious, like the writhing on the living room floor comment, a disclaimer indicating this is not the time to take a swig of coffee, would be nice.

BJ
Guest
BJ

Pastor Wilson, This should also (especially) stretch into the family life. Grace must be given about lifestyle choices that are not dogmatically spelled out in scripture. I was told by several members of my family that I was going to ruin my child’s life, because I was going to homeschool him and try to teach him a foreign language at a young age. “You’ll confuse him, and how in the world will he learn to socialize?” I stopped trying to reason with them after it became apparent that logic meant nothing in this discussion. If I had told them I… Read more »

Jon
Guest
Jon

The alcohol issue remains a real problem in the church.  Far too many Christians are condemning it wholesale.  This matter will take a long time, I suspect, to get cleared up, but we need to start addressing it much more than in the past.  I think the church needs to come down hard on people and essentially say: keep quiet concerning your opinions about booze.  Just the other day I was listening to a sermon by Charles Stanley, which could easily have left one with the impression that a half of a glass of wine with your dinner is sinful. … Read more »

Andrew
Guest

I think you meant “du jour” not “de jure” unless that was a double entendre.  :-)

oldfatslow
Guest

Why do folks keep trying to out-holy
God?

duellsquimby
Member

Wow, how cool & refreshing this was to read Doug.   I read this after my wife and I enjoyed some Rum cake this afternoon (after we passed on the grapes).  :)  And we were basically discussing the same idea… :) 

Ray Nearhood
Guest
Ray Nearhood

I read the posts and thought them good.  They brought to mind something somewhat related that I have been reflecting on lately.  As I’ve thought about the nature of the 24hr media cycle, the media on the internets, social media and how Christians interact on the internet I’ve thought, while reading some of the interactions in my Facebook feed, “if it wasn’t for social media and the way that the internet is now, these friends of mine would probably be reading the latest Paula White book and agree with it.”  And I am struck by the irony (and small graces).

Matt Petersen
Guest
Matt Petersen

Pr. Wilson: paragraph Perhaps you’re actually confused, so I’ll try to explain why I think your protestations of only being concerned with the heart don’t ring true. But first, I strongly agree that we shouldn’t look down our noses at other Christians–whether they choose to send their children to public schools, to homeschool, to send their children to private schools, to eat organic, to not eat organic, to sing praise worship songs, to sing from the Cantus Christi, to hang Thomas Kincade posters in their living rooms, to listen to Backstreet Boys, to to read Hunger Games, to dress in… Read more »

John
Guest
John

Doug, I hope few would disagree on the heart issues at stake here.  Of course all foods are declared clean.  Of course we should eat whatever we like with gratitude and thanks given to God.  Amen, amen, and amen.  However, in the current culture, I’m still curious as to how you reconcile Jesus as Lord over all things, yet seem to put how food is made/grown and all other issues related to eating outside of this lordship.  Does Jesus care how the ground is used?  The water?  Does he care about unjust wages?  Does he care about Christians not caring… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

“Pastor Wilson, This should also (especially) stretch into the family life. Grace must be given about lifestyle choices that are not dogmatically spelled out in scripture. I was told by several members of my family that I was going to ruin my child’s life, because I was going to homeschool him and try to teach him a foreign language at a young age.”…………………………………………………… And it goes both ways…some here have been equally critical about anyone whose children are in public school.

BJ
Guest
BJ

Jonathan, Perhaps you have hit upon a test case for Doug’s assertion in this post (albeit in educational choices, instead of food). I would never judge someone who puts their kids in public schools, as long as they are doing the biblical correct thing and training them up in the Lord at home. I would also warn them about the fact that the worldview espoused in public schools in completely antithetical to anything Christian. Having said that, I am a product of the public school. I know great preachers who are as well. It is completely within our Christian limits… Read more »

Matt
Guest
Matt

Per Matt and John’s (good) points above, I’d like to see Doug address the issue of food (production and consumption) in the context of the Lordship of Christ.  If Toby’s original post (and Doug’s concern in following up) is, effectively, “Don’t judge” then we get it.  And agree.  If a parents wants to give juice boxes with Red#5 to their toddler, I’m called to keep my nose out of their business (Rom. 14).   But there’s still a discussion at a more theoretical level around the type of things that animate folks like Wendell Berry.  And some of us are… Read more »

Jane
Member

It just occurred to me recently that this kind of thing comes in waves. A decade or two ago, at least in the circles I know, it was frugality. If it looked like you bought your car when it was too new, financed it in the wrong way, didn’t make enough stuff from scratch, weren’t good at buying in bulk, decorated your house with stuff other than scrap wood and burlap, etc., etc. ad nauseum, you surely weren’t really being a good steward, perhaps might be materialistic, and possibly might be committing “financial sin.”                                                                                                                                                                                   Now it’s food. Maybe by… Read more »

Robert
Guest
Robert

John, define unjust wages?

Jeff
Guest

Goodness! Next thing we know, Doug will tell us there is no Santa Claus. Prophetic post aimed at toppling current idolatries.

John
Guest
John

This is actually pretty good. A guy that actually farms for a living and loves the Bible as God’s Word. Here ya go, y’all. http://www.covenantseminary.edu/resources/qa/joel-salatin-food-theology/

Tim Enloe
Guest

As one who was involved in the lengthy discussion on Facebook over Toby’s post, I’d like to say I enjoyed this post, Pastor Wilson.  But notice the difference – and the reason why your post doesn’t bother me – you don’t talk haphazardly about “throwing grenades” and “dropping bombs.”  You don’t make vague condemnatory swipes at huge, general classes of people (“So pretty much anytime that anybody tells me…I pretty much accuse them of kissing little idols.”).  No, you actually discuss the issues in detail, explain your position without a lot of rhetorical hype, and clearly identify what it is you… Read more »

K. Swanson
Guest
K. Swanson

Thank you, Mr. Wilson.  I am SO thankful that you have the courage to deal with this emotionally-charged issue, and to deal with the true problems of our hearts.  

Matthew N. Petersen
Guest
Matthew N. Petersen

Doug: But that’s a practical question, not a scriptural question. And therefore, I have a hard time seeing how you are qualified to speak to it–particularly as a pastor. And your post is confusing the two issues: The first: “Don’t look down your noses at other Christians”, which is Scriptural, and you are qualified as a minister of the word to speak on. The second: “That tactic isn’t effective.” Which you are not.

melody
Member
melody

But I feel so good about myself when I consume that $5.00 cup of ‘fair trade’ coffee while I visit with my friends after a shopping adventure at the mall!

Matthew Petersen
Guest
Matthew Petersen

Melody: If you feel good about yourself, that’s a problem–but it’s a temptation whenever you do something good, even a very small good like that. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t (very slightly) better to have the $5.00 fair trade espresso rather than the $4.00 not fair trade espresso. (Whether the trade off is worth it is a different question, and people can have very different opinions.) ^Paragraph^ I think we should perhaps think of having the fair trade coffee rather than the not-fair trade coffee as pinching pennies. Sure, if (in the financial world) you pinch pennies, but splurge… Read more »

Matthew Petersen
Guest
Matthew Petersen

As a clarification to my earlier post: I’m not saying Pr. Wilson’s voice should be ignored on this issue, and sorry it perhaps sounds like that. I mean that Pr. Wilson is not qualified to pronounce on it. Pr. Wilson is qualified to weigh in. But his opinion shouldn’t be weighed any more significantly than other people who do their homework. He speaks on that issue as a private citizen, not as a minister of the Gospel–and definitely not, as Magisterium.

carole
Guest
carole

Pastor, my first post was very glib (probably because I just dealt with this issue over the holidays).  When someone does have health problems, we are offered all the homeopathic remedies and foods etc.  I know that my sisters are trying to help, but it does ring like blame (this wouldn’t have happened if I were a vegan) and also sometimes just ignorant (do they really think these supplements will make my bones return?).  How are we on this end to handle those “offers of help”  that can in fact wear you down?  Also, when someone sincerely believes that she… Read more »

Gregory C Dickison
Guest
Gregory C Dickison

Matthew, how does what you are saying not end in a list of rules for all of us to follow, rules created and policed by those deemed qualified to make them?

BJ
Guest
BJ

Carole,  You bring up a great point, here. I still think the answer is grace in the Romans 14 style, but that does not preclude talking about. Nobody should have to deal with condescension quietly. Sometimes a good, “Hey thanks for the advice, but drop it. It ain’t for me.” goes a long way. If it goes on after that we are dealing squarely with what Doug is hitting on. I support fair trade without hesitation and would love for everyone else to as we’ll. but the fact is there common sense reasons they do not. I cannot justify badgering… Read more »

Matthew N. Petersen
Guest
Matthew N. Petersen

Greg: I honestly don’t know how you got that from what I said. Perhaps you can help me out by spelling it out more fully. Anyway, it seems you wouldn’t raise the same objection in other areas. For instance, would you say that Dave Ramsey’s financial advice ends “in a list of rules for all of us to follow, rules created and policed by those deemed qualified to make them”? Or would you have the same criticism of Doug Wilson’s arguments about, say, schooling, or his comments about Mark Driscoll’s claims about what we should put into our mouths, or about… Read more »

Jon
Guest
Jon

Matthew, I wouldn’t necessarily take Mark Driscoll’s advice on what to put in our mouths.  Come to think of it, I wouldn’t necessarily take his advice on anything.  “Eat anything sold in the meatmarket,” is the advice St. Paul once gave.  It’s good enough for me!  If anyone has qualms, let them keep it to themselves.  I’ve said the same thing, over and over again, concerning alcohol.  If someone thinks alcohol is sinful, then don’t drink it!  But don’t start a crusade or preach against it, or hand out literature to promote your stance.  Don’t spoil it for those who… Read more »

Jon
Guest
Jon

And I should add that, if anyone is an alcoholic, we should avoid drinking in front of them out of charity.  This must not be forgotten.

Jon
Guest
Jon

Since we’re talking about things that go in our mouths, I would say the same thing holds true with food.  I would not take an obese person along wtih me to the Hometown Buffet!  We need to excercise consideration for others and do what’s good for them, not just what’s good for ourselves.

Matthew N. Petersen
Guest
Matthew N. Petersen

Jon: The issue is that it’s possible to farm, and purchase unjustly. If Uriah’s lamb were sold in the meat market, would you buy and eat it, because, well, “eat anything sold in the meat market”? Also, I wouldn’t take Driscoll’s advice either.

Jon
Guest
Jon

Mathhew, while you raise an interesting point, I think it represents something different from the topic, or something not typically addressed.  Yes, I, like you, would not want to buy an item that’s ‘hot’. 

Jon
Guest
Jon

OOps!  You’re actually referring to something more like the people who boycott Walmart.  I don’t really know anything about that stuff.  Of course the economic arena is largely unjust.  We each have to decide what we can do, if anything, to make the world a little more just.  The problem is that Walmart outsmarts everyone.  They put everything in one location and match the prices!  So now we have to find time to go all over town to find what we could hnave found there, and then we wind up paying more, in addition to whatever the gas costs.  I… Read more »

Matthew N. Petersen
Guest
Matthew N. Petersen

I’m not very good at it either. :P But I think that’s actually where the real issue lies. People are dissatisfied with factory farming etc. because they think (rightly or wrongly) that the goods are “hot”–that they produced without Sabbath, and at significant risk to future generations, and to peoples in poorer nations. (Though there’s also the feeling that not only are they hot, they’re spiked. Which is a very closely related issue–the feeling (right or wrong) is that the goods are hot, and sawdust has been mixed with the flour.) We generally do a pretty bad job trying to… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I am strongly with John, BJ, and Matt in this discussion. Good points all of you!

Jon
Guest
Jon

Well, that takes us back to the central problem of the market.  We can eat anything sold there, since it is bought for good purposes.  We don’t know where it came from or what was involved in producing each item.  How can we knwo exactly?  It seems Paul’s advice applies.  Anything is potentially good if used properly.  Yet there may be a time for boycotts and the like.  In Paul’s day the food was wrongly dedicated.  Today it is often produced in ‘wrong’ conditions.  I guess it’s a similar conundrum. 

carole
Guest
carole

Thanks BJ, I think I get it now… since whatever I eat is not a sin, I shouldn’t be “corrected” on how I decide best to deal with my illness, be that foods, supplements or modern medicine..but it still seems like those who wish to “help” could view it as falling into another sin when say a diabetic refuses to give up sugar…??

carole
Guest
carole

So I guess my question is should fellows show charity, even though they think their brother is wrong, up to the very worst consequences?

Jane
Member

Everyone should always show charity all the time no matter what. Showing charity doesn’t mean turning a blind eye to a potentially dangerous situation, it means approaching the situation charitably at whatever level is appropriate. But every disagreement about what should be eaten is not a “potentially dangerous situation.” Making the distinction is a matter of wisdom, but it’s always uncharitable to quickly jump to the assumption that if X is eating something I find suboptimal, X is sinning with regard to the stewardship of his body.

Matthew N. Petersen
Guest
Matthew N. Petersen

Jon, You can’t coherently say that it would be wrong to buy hot goods, even for a good purpose, that “economic arena is largely unjust” (and so all the goods in it are to some degree hot), and that “We can [buy] anything sold there, since it is bought for good purposes”. The first statements together contradict the final one. ^Paragraph^ I think some of the difficulty that you’re reading St. Paul wrong. He doesn’t say that any purchasing decision is fine, but that we do not participate in the worship of demons by eating food sacrificed to demons, provided that… Read more »

Robin Phillips
Guest

“If you are wound up tight over food — and it doesn’t matter in which direction — then the issue is foodalatry.Why is it okay to be wound tight over how bad the public schools are, or the inappropriateness of certain movies, or the feminist movement, or any other aspect of the culture which we are trying to reform, but when it comes to food, suddenly tightness is perceived as a mark of idolatry?

Robin Phillips
Guest

Pastor Wilson: Does the principle that Christians should be able to drink coffee that was “picked by an underpaid laborer in the third world” with “joy, gratitude, and fellowship” have limits? That is to say, if we increase the objectionableness of the conditions under which the coffee was made, does there reach a point where you would acknowledge that it would be sinful NOT to be uptight about drinking it? For example, change underpaid laborers to slave labor, or change it to child slave labor. Surely at some point we should stop subsidizing that coffee, right? But if so, then… Read more »

Matthew N. Petersen
Guest
Matthew N. Petersen

You make important concessions, but only so you can disagree, and concede nothing.

Matthew N. Petersen
Guest
Matthew N. Petersen

The requirement for knowledge of the problem, and knowledge that the hoped for solution will not cause too much harm is far too strict, since neither of those can ever be realized. We can and must do the best we can–as in all areas.  But to raise the bar that high is simply to deceive ourselves into complacency with injustice, and make excuses for sin. ^Paragraph^ Also, the Bible does not declare all farming and market practices clear from moral consideration, or from the lordship of Christ. It rescinds the dietary restrictions of the Torah, and it says that since demons do… Read more »

Matthew N. Petersen
Guest
Matthew N. Petersen

As an example of how preposterous, one-sided, and self-serving your arguments are: There is no conceivable way we can conclude that we *know* that states nullifying Obamacare would ameliorate the problem. Yet, you declare that it is the moral *responsibility* of the legislatures to nullify the law. You may hope it would help, but you have no knowledge of the future, particularly of an impossibly unlikely future. So by your own standard above, nullifications should not be undertaken, much less, demanded from the pulpit. ^Paragraph^ Furthermore, your arguments that Obamacare is wicked rest on two premises: First, that theft is evil, but… Read more »

Robin Phillips
Guest

Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:8.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:107%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:EN-US;} But Doug, in addition to false doctrines, we should also get uptight about some bad actions, right? And if it’s okay to be uptight about bad actions, like irreverent worship music or pagan education, why is it not okay to be uptight about bad actions like companies putting brain-destroying toxins in our meat? The whole idea that I am getting from you and… Read more »

Robin Phillips
Guest

But Doug, in addition to false doctrines, we should also get uptight about some bad actions, right? And if it’s okay to be uptight about bad actions, like irreverent worship music or pagan education, why is it not okay to be uptight about bad actions like companies putting brain-destroying toxins in our meat? The whole idea that I am getting from you and Toby is that health-foodism is okay as long as you aren’t uptight about it, as long you enjoy it as a kind of hobby that brings lightness to your life. But that only works if you start… Read more »