wine and cheese - smallWritten by: Lawrence Lam

This reflection comes off the heels of an expensive week checking out different restaurants’ prix fixe menus as part of Seattle Restaurant Week. Like a lot of people in my stage of life, I often get labelled a “foodie” – my interest in unique recipes, photographing the creative presentation of plates at my table, and blogging about the experience on Yelp. I do reflect from time to time, albeit briefly, after a fancy meal about those who go without and whether I have advanced God’s Kingdom in my meal. It can be argued that enjoying good food is delighting in God’s creation. A good conversation over that meal is advancement of fellowship – fulfilling our social needs.

I sometimes wonder, though, that as the food culture evolves, whether it can go awry to the point of sinfulness. It’s often catechized that Gluttony is expressed through overeating or being excessively picky. With the public health efforts against obesity these days, there seems to be a concerted effort in the secular realm against this very sin, or at least the former expression of it.

However, I’ve also often heard analogies to eating when discussing sexuality and thinking about the parallels in the reverse yield interesting scenarios. We already hear the word “food porn” in everyday parlance, especially in referring to photos on Yelp or watching the Food Network a lot. What happens if in watching these shows it causes people to substitute it in the place of eating proper nutritious food? Or if it causes people to lose pleasure in everyday regular foods? Could there be a popular use of an oesophagal bag that acts as a way of facilitating bulimia such that people would enjoy the taste of food, but due to the removal of this bag, the food itself would not be digested properly? Would we see strangers dining together but failing to grow in friendship, thereby trivializing the social value of a common meal? I can imagine the Church would at some point start speaking out strongly against these practices. Although such practices distort the intended point of nutrition, there is a dark side to humanity that leads us to do self-destructive things, which could invariably become so mainstream to the point that such teachings are said to be “too hard” to follow.

It’s certainly interesting food for thought…


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