Mark Bittman writes a food blog that I enjoy for the NY Times. In an interesting article he asks the provocative question: Is soda the new tobacco? Go read Soda: A Sin We Sip Instead of Smoke?
Lots to think about. I love me some Dr. Pepper, but he's right about the stuff. Go read it and tell me what you think.
I don't know if Mr. Bittman is a religious person or not (I only know he's my favorite cookbook author); the article certainly does not take that angle. The "sin" in the title just refers to "sin tax." And from a secular angle there is plenty to discuss. But he (probably unintentionally) got me thinking about the other kind of sin, also. Gluttony, I mean.
All of our appetites are God-given, and all can be misused. Food, sex, wine....all gifts. All vulnerable to perversion, and abuse. Abstinence from one or all is a valid option, but definitely not Scripturally mandated for all believers. But it seems like, in the current Christian (maybe just evangelical?) climate, the appetite for food is given fairly free reign. Gluttony isn't thought of as a "real" sin.
It is an issue of control. Appetites should not be allowed to control us. Do not be a slave to wine...or to Dr. Pepper, or french fries, or Ronald McDonald. Or to anything else except Christ. In our culture it's surprisingly easy and common to be enslaved to food and not even realize it. I know that I sin in this area more than I would care to admit; sometimes food is just more important to me than it should be. More important than my health, or my children's health. More important than the ability to remain calm and energetic through the entire afternoon. One blessing related to my gestational diabetes was my forced recognition that I cared way too much about sweets.
For some interesting thoughts on the issue of food and gluttony from a Catholic perspective, check out Conversion Diary's series on the Saint Diet. I'm not Catholic but she has taught me a lot on this particular topic. I particularly like her post on food and sin.