Cutting Room Floor: Food & How To Eat It

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Editor’s Note: Sorry for the couple of week hiatus. Got a pretty nasty cold at the beginning of October and it’s been a bit hectic getting things back on track. We’ll have a new post from Bob Trube tomorrow, and for today we have a Cutting Room Floor entry from last week’s sermon. ~BRT

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Based on Matthew 15:1-20

IMG_0715 - Version 2Many of these rules applied to food and how to eat it. This makes sense, of course. What we eat or don’t eat, and why and how send incredibly strong messages to those around us about what we believe about the world.

If you don’t eat like someone, you end up being perceived differently from them. And if you don’t eat what they eat, and can’t prepare the table the way they prepare the table, then you can’t eat with them at all. Separateness is maintained.

Over and over in the New Testament, the Pharisees come after Jesus for breaking those separateness boundaries, for going into unclean situations. What they don’t realize, of course, is that Jesus has reversed the flow of clean and unclean things. Wherever he goes things unclean are made clean; he’s not sullied.

Does all this make sense? There’s a world out there, and it’s going to make it so that you can’t do God’s work, you’ll be “unclean” in a religious sense. And only time and ceremony can get you back to clean; but Jesus, who has the Holy Spirit, carries cleanliness with him.

~Post written by Rich Hagopian

Mind Over Matter?

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“If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’” (1 Cor 15:32 NRSV)

In this chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul is responding to members of the church who are denying the resurrection.  That is, they’re rejecting the idea that believers in Christ will be raised from the dead and given perfected bodies when he returns.  Paul notes that if resurrection doesn’t happen, then Jesus wasn’t raised from the dead, either; and if Jesus wasn’t raised, then he can’t save us.  He’s just a good man who died.  As Rich observed in his sermon, there is no salvation without resurrection.

Brenda Colijn photo smallThe Corinthians were probably rejecting the idea of resurrection because they’d been influenced by the Greek philosophical idea that spirit is good and matter is evil.  Greek philosophers thought that the best possible afterlife would be to leave our bodies to rot in the ground and live forever as disembodied spirits.  To a Greek mind, the idea of people walking around in resurrected bodies would be as appealing as a zombie apocalypse!

A preference for spirit over body has infiltrated the church, too.  We talk a lot about going to heaven when we die, but when was the last time you heard a sermon or sang a hymn or chorus about the resurrection of believers?

If there is no resurrection, then there’s no point in making sacrifices in this life, because this life is all we have.  Like the old beer commercial said, “You only go around once in life; grab all the gusto you can!”  And if there’s no resurrection, what we do with our bodies doesn’t matter.  This can go in two directions:  either we overindulge our bodies or we despise them.  Sometimes we alternate these, and sometimes we do both at once.

Rich talked mostly about the issue of overeating, which is an increasing problem for Americans.  If someone watched what and how we eat, would they think that we believed in the resurrection?  Or do we eat as if there’s no tomorrow?  But overeating isn’t the only way to disrespect our bodies.  Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia show the same obsession with what we put in our mouths, and they’re at least as dangerous as obesity.  Multi-billion-dollar industries exist to make women dislike their bodies so the companies can sell them things, and these industries are targeting more and more men, as well.  Food is one of the main ways that people self-medicate to cope with the trials of life.  You don’t need a prescription to buy it, after all.

And that’s just food.  We could also talk about exercise, sleep, addictions, sex, entertainment, stress.  Do we treat our bodies as gifts from God to steward until the day that God will glorify them?  Maybe that means working ourselves a little harder, or maybe that means showing ourselves some compassion and respect.  Whatever our situation is, the resurrection means that what we do with our bodies now is an investment in eternity.