Puzzle Time

When dealing with food it it important to deal with it in its context of life. Here is a quote that describes this very well by Ken Myers in his book, All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes (p. 34):

"We can't simplify things too quickly by isolating one of these cultural expressions and asking how Scripture applies to it in isolation from everything else, for then it's not part of that social experience that's called culture. We cannot, for example, evaluate the virtues and vices of fast food in our culture merely by looking at Biblical teaching about meals. We have to take into consideration the place of the automobile and highways in our culture, our view of time and convenience, the pressures on modern families (both those relieved and those exacerbated by fast food), the opportunity for employment created by this new service industry, and the many other pieces of the cultural puzzle. We then have to ask, given all the of the other forces that shape modern culture, whether eliminating McDonald's from the equation would mean that the people would automatically eat more nutritious home-cooked meals with the family gathered around the table, or whether they would eat more frozen TV dinners on their own unsynchronized schedules."

While I don't agree with everything in Myers' book, he really hit it on the head at this point. We really need a more comprehensive view of the many cultural aspects of food before we can deal with the details of each aspect. Too often we want to break things down to the specifics and forget that life is interconnected. Instead we can, and should, discuss economics, nutrition, aesthetics, community, etc. all under the subject of food.

As “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” (1 Cor. 5:6 ESV), so we ought to be careful that every area of life is examined, including its relations to other areas of life. It is not easy to connect the dots, nor is it easy to balance the unity of the whole and diversity of the details. So may we humbly use the wisdom of God in trying to adjust our whole life in accordance with His Word, recognizing the difficulties of the web of "the culture puzzle".

 

Peter Bringe is the author of the recently published book The Christian Philosophy of Food.The Christian Philosophy of Food