Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gluttony and the Small Diet Coke

Doesn't it strike you sometimes how often we are attacked in our culture every day to sin? Heck, just think of how tempting it is to sin right from where you are sitting right now at just a few clicks of the mouse. If you go into the blogosphere, you will find people writing things that will make you angry (wrath). You think to yourself that these people are dumb and should think they way you think(pride.) Another few clicks, and you can see the lifestyles of the rich and famous and you are wanting everything--the cars, the clothes, the house--that the celebrities have (greed) and by golly, you deserve it more than them (envy.) Another click and you see a picture of a Hollywood starlet(lust) and before you know it, you have spent hours in front of the computer doing nothing (sloth.) The remaining capital sin is one that you actually have to get up from the computer for though because you have to either go to some restaurant or to the kitchen (gluttony.)

It's surprising how often we are encouraged to be gluttonous though. It's amazing how difficult it is to eat healthy especially in light of the obesity crisis in the United States. We are always being encouraged to eat more. Restaurants now have "packages" where, for one price, you get an appetizer, a meal, and a desert. We are encouraged to "eat the fourth meal" by shoving extra burritos and tacos down our throat at 2am. Portions are out of control. One fast food chain has all drinks for a dollar so when you ask for a small or medium they automatically give you a large. Another place doesn't even have small drinks. They only have medium and large. (I don't know how you have a medium but not a small) Today's "regular" drinks and fries are what "large" used to be and the "small" of today was the "regular" or yesterday.

It's pretty obvious to see why gluttony (the excessive indulgence of food or drink) is bad for us physically but why is it bad for us spiritually? Why is it a sin? Why is fasting good while gluttony is bad? It's not a real easy question to answer. I supposes there may be two answers. The first is that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. They are gifts from God and we are supposed to take care of them.

The problem with that answer is that it goes back to why it's bad physically and doesn't answer why it's bad spiritually. To understand this we need to recall that as humans we are both physical and spiritual beings and at all times our soul needs to be in charge of our body. If we allow our body to be in charge we become animals doing whatever pleases our body and not what is pleasing to God. We attack when angry. We boast when we are proud. We back stab to get ahead. We have sex whenever we want with whoever we want. We sleep whenever we want. Everything becomes about us. We are no longer reflecting the fact that we are made in the image and likeness of God and made to love and made for relationship.

The over indulgence in anything is bad for us spiritually--not just food or drink. The over indulgence of anything leads to the disordered desire for that item which leads to an unhealthy attachment to those items. To overindulge makes us spiritually weak and less likely to be able to do the right thing when necessary. That's why fasting it good--it helps makes our spirit stronger. It gives us will-power.

Gluttony is a sin that is over looked. It's actually celebrated instead of condemned. It shouldn't be a surprise though. Being a Christian and living the Christian lifestyle is counter cultural. So . . . give me a small.


  1. I, for one, suffer from this sort of thing constantly...always have to keep myself in check. During Lent I fasted on Wednesdays and Fridays. Why have I stopped? I need to figure out a way to work some fasting into my regular schedule and not just for Lent.

  2. Yes, sloth and gluttony are serious problems in the US. Nice post Jamie...In fact I'd say it is "supersized".

  3. I find myself annoyed at the portions and assumptions that I always want something bigger. I will definitely smile the next time I say, no, a small is fine.

  4. I am always interested and pleased to read your posts. I was just thinking how bombared we are with "WANT". And how we think we are smarter than the other guy. Good Post.