August 29

Mark 7:14-15, 21-23

“Then he called the crowd again and said to them, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.’” vss. 14-15

Jesus is obviously not saying that we can eat pepperoni pizza, covered with cheese, every morning for breakfast and suffer no consequences. And he likely wasn’t familiar with what we call “clean eating” in the sense that we think of it. Rather he was targeting the traditions that had grown up around eating and drinking and that were then treated as laws. We’re susceptible to that thinking too. In fact there are many who have made food consumption their own personal religion. Now it’s not a bad thing to be concerned about our diets–and it’s fine to be a vegan or vegetarian or pescetarian. It’s when we begin to think that what we take into our bodies defines us as a person that we begin to get into trouble. And it’s here that we’d do well to pay attention to Jesus. He’s not concerned about consumption but he cares deeply about outcomes. It’s not what we eat or drink that’s important, it’s how we treat the people around us. We can have a perfect diet and eat the proper proportions of fats, carbs, and proteins, and still act like jerks. And some people in our communities of faith may have thunder thighs or beer bellies, but the light of Christ shines in their eyes–and there’s no way we can miss it.

Thought for the Day: When does diet become a religion?

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