Category Archives: Finance

The Feel of Food

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Somewhere along the way, we lost our connection with food.

Our connection comes only by way of the grocery store. See food. Buy food. Eat food.

We lost our connection with what’s in season.

We want apples in July, we can have them. They’ve been flown in from southern hemisphere; we consume produce picked weeks ago instead of days ago in the name of having what we want when we want it.

We have no idea who is growing the food we eat.

We have lost our connection with God’s creation.

Ellen F. Davis puts it simply in her book “Scripture, Culture and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible”:

“Holiness in Leviticus is not primarily a quality of individuals (“you” is a grammatical plural here); holiness is the character of a community observing a comprehensive pattern of life that is healthful. As we shall see, the Priestly vision of holiness emphatically includes the land, the covenanted community of creatures who prosper along with a people living in accordance with the design of creation—or, alternatively, who suffer when the intended pattern is violated.”

And aren’t we suffering?

In a Mark Bittman column in the New York Times from a couple of years ago, he stated that 90% of heart disease is lifestyle related (read: diet related). Type 2 diabetes is projected to cost us $500 billion a year by the time we hit 2020. We’re suffering physically and as a result, financially. If those two areas of your life are suffering, there’s a good chance your spiritual life is taking a hit too.

I wrote similarly last Thursday about taking something I learned at Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class and applying it to food. Again last night, he said something I think applies here.

Ramsey talks about using cash more and our debit cards less. He said when we use plastic to buy things, we don’t feel the pain of losing our money. When we use cash, the pain sensors in our brain actually go off. We become much more aware of what we’re losing.

Maybe that’s where things went wrong with what we eat. We don’t know our land, and we don’t know what goes in to growing food. To many of us, it just shows up at the grocery store and that’s good enough for us. We don’t know the difference between food grown sustainably and food grown in a way that damages God’s creation.

We lose our health and maybe most importantly to God (it’s up near the top of the list at the very least), we lose our community.

Let’s re-gain our feel of food. For the sake of our health, our community and God’s creation.

(P.S.: if you saw a post from me yesterday about “moving on” I simply published that post on the wrong blog. I’m not that smart; you heard it here first.)

Being Attractive with our Lives

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Image via Wikimedia Commons

My husband and I are going through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, and in last night’s class, Ramsey said something that struck me.

“Your life (as a Christian) should be attractive to others.”

He is of course, speaking from the perspective of having your finances in order. What non-Christian would look at a life marred by debt and terrible spending and go “yeah, that looks good. I want to take the path that person is on.”

And we scratch our heads wondering why people may not be interested in Christianity.

Think about Ramsey’s statement through the lens of what we eat. If we’re making food choices that increase our risk of obesity, cancer or other chronic diseases (as our food choices generally do in America), who would want to be like us?

We’re not taking the time to be different, whether we’re talking about finances or food.

1 Corinthians 3:16 says “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred and you are that temple.” (emphasis added)

How many of us have read that verse and thought something along the lines of, “well, I’m not a meth addict. I’m dominating this part of my Christian walk. Don’t those drugs addicts know your body is a temple?”

We’ve all done it. My husband remembers a time a few years ago where a man at church wouldn’t let his kids eat the donuts we had out every Sunday morning before services. His reasoning to my husband? “Your body is a temple.” It seemed like a ludicrous response at the time. But now, we get it (and now, we usually have non-donut breakfast items out before the service).

Paul’s words in Corinthians should make us look deeper. “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him.”

Those words weigh on me.

In America, the wealthiest country in the world, we’re destroying our temples every day. We eat huge slabs of meat and a pile of french fries, smile and say in jest, “that’s the American way!”

It might be. But it shouldn’t be the Christian way.

God’s spirit lives in us. It’s time we started eating like we believe that.

 

The cheap, the rich and the snobby

fm-asparagus.jpg

When we buy local food, we’re helping our community.

Sometimes, I wonder about us.

You know, us. Americans.

When did we ever get so cheap?

Food, clothes, whatever it is.  We want our purchases as inexpensive as possible.

Worst of all, we feel we deserve cheap prices.  We point a finger and scoff at people who pay for expensive chicken at the grocery store.  We wear the cheap deals we get like a badge of honor.

Really, who are the snobby ones? The rich or the cheap?

I know for a lot of us, every penny we have matters and we cut corners out of necessity.  That’s not lost on me, believe me.

But by going for the cheapest food on the shelf every time, we’re perpetuating a vicious cycle; a cycle that helps the big guys, a cycle that isn’t Biblical.  If we’re Christians (as I am) we should care how we spend our money and where that money is going.  Or maybe more appropriately, who that money is going to.

Check out the difference between how we live today and how the Israelites lived in the Old Testament. according to the book  “Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible” by Ellen F. Davis.

Old Testament: “Extended families and kinship groups were settled on modest hereditary (patrimonial) plots of land, engaging in subsistence agriculture and supported by networks of mutual assistance and trade.” (Davis, Chapter 6)

Today: “The chief value operative in our industrial food system is monetary, and it is measured by the profit margins of large corporations. The productionist ethic has prevailed thus far with the North American public because its short-term benefit is food that is cheap at the supermarket.” (Davis, Chapter 2)

I gather most of us identify with the “modest” part in the first quote.  We feel like we’re doing our best to make ends meet.

And if asked, we would probably all say that we’d love to help out people in a similar situation to us.  People we know in our town. That’s where that “supported by networks of mutual assistance and trade” part would come in.

We might say that, and we might feel that, but we don’t act like that. If we did, we’d care about purchasing food from local farmer’s markets. We’d seek out alternative places to buy meat that support treating and feeding livestock the way God designed them. We’d spend a little extra to help that local clothing shop. We might cut down on some of the extraneous things in our lives to be able to put a couple more dollars towards what matters.

Instead of helping our neighbor, we help out Wal-Mart.

I’m pretty sure those guys don’t need our help.