Gluttony and Theology

Meat and three (plus a few)

I’m reading a very interesting book, called “Food and God, A Theological Approach to Eating, Diet and Weight Control.” Joel Soza wrote it, and it has nothing to do with another currently popular book with a similar title.  I’ve really enjoyed thinking through the themes of the role of food and eating in creation, in temptation, in Israel’s law code, in Old Testament case studies (Esau, Eglon and Eli), in the life and teaching of Jesus, and in the New Testament church.  It’s convicting, but then again I rather expected that since I know I have a problem in this area (being a typical American with a weight problem, knowing I live in a world where much of the population doesn’t have enough to eat), and I want to grow beyond that problem and act on convictions that are only somewhat recent.  So bring on the conviction!  Which Soza has done for me.

I’ll be doing a lot of posts on this, I think, as the use of food is definitely a jubilee principle (How much is right for me? Who and what do I owe for its production? How can I share?).

I want to start with a conversation around Gregory the Great, pope from 590-604 AD, who talked about the “seven deadly sins” which included gluttony.  Quoting Francine Prose’s “Gluttony,” Soza writes that “According to him (Gregory), gluttony could reveal itself in one of five ways: “too soon, too delicately, too expensively, too greedily, and too much.”  What do you think of those?  Have you commonly thought of gluttony that way if you think of it at all?

I’ll continue with some of Soza’s reflections: “By ‘too soon’ Gregory meant that one eats before there is real need to eat; by ‘too delicate’ he meant that one is too fussy or too dainty about one’s food choice and preparation; by ‘too expensive’ he meant indulgence in costly foods, by ‘too greedily’ he meant self-centered eating without regard for others; and by ‘too much’ he meant, well, exceeding the obvious measure of refreshment or need.”

I am guilty on all counts.  Good stuff to think about and — God, help me — to change.

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