One of the ways to tell if an issue has become politicized is by seeing if qualifications, when appropriately made, are actually heard. For example, if a member of faction y says that from time to time members of faction x have been convicted of corruption, the politicized two-step works like this. First, the intentions of the person making that statement are discerned by telepathy, along with the trajectory of future hypothetical statements. He only said that some members of our party are corrupt because it is the desire of his heart to maintain, sometime in the future, that all of us are. Therefore, I will respond in the present as though he has already said that.
Now sometimes this guesswork about the future happens to be right, but many other times it is wildly wrong. Sometimes the qualifications are made in the interests of speaking the truth.
I say this because the subject I am about to broach — food — is a place where I see this happening all the time. Ironically, when this kind of circling the wagons happens, it contributes to the very polarization it claims to be resisting. So let me say at the outset that the phenomenon I am describing is not a universal one. I am making no across-the-board-claims whatever. What I am saying is that this sometimes does happen, and that the “hooray for our side” approach to many of these discussions enables this problem to continue to happen more than it ought to. It means that someone who is guilty of this can count on the factional support of someone who isn’t guilty of it, but who is flying the same partisan flag. This is how these things go.
“For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder” (2 Cor. 12:20).
I hope that is qualification enough. If not, I will be happy to qualify some more. That said, I believe that some wives, in the way they pursue “healthy” menu choices for their home, are inadvertently trying to teach their husbands and children how to cheat. In saying this, I do not wish to justify the sin of husbands who fail to stand up to their wives, or to justify a pattern of deception to work around the consequences of not standing up to them. I am saying that sin breeds more sin, and that each of us should repent of our own.
A school district in New York just recently dropped the First Lady’s school lunch program because the kids were hungry all the time. What happens in a family where the first lady there has implemented a similar regime and does not have buy-in from her husband and kids? One of the obvious things is that the husband often has the resources to fix things at lunch with a greasy burger, after obtaining a vow from his co-workers to “not tell a soul.”
A husband should not be given any encouragement (or apparent excuses) for living any kind of a double life. If that encouragement is foolishly given, he is still responsible for what he is saying and doing, but one of the purposes of marriage is to help us resist sin together — but too many husbands and wives live as stumbling blocks for one another. And a man should not work to put food on the table, his own table, and then come away from that table hungry.
One of the best scenes in the marvelous film Sweet Land is when Inge feeds Olaf a dinner with “just food.” The sexual overtones are obvious, but are as wonderful as the dinner clearly was. And in both areas, it is crucial that the home not become a place of tight-fisted denial, where wives become the governess of no, instead of the mistress of yes. When that no happens, as a result the world outside is positioned to take up the role of promising satisfaction to cheaters. That is an invitation that many husbands need like a hole in the head.