What would Jesus eat?

potluck

It’s becoming a trope among Christian food writers to wonder what Jesus would eat at a church potluck.

Would He eat the raspberries, flown from somewhere in Central America and picked by underpaid laborers? What about chicken injected with hormones? A meal like this is filled with ethical and nutritional landmines.

And Jello? Really? Would the creator of the original garden, and every garden since, eat something that doesn’t even resemble food as He imagined it, in color, texture, taste or benefit?

Would He worry if the green beans were local? Fret about the conditions they were harvested under? Think about the way the animals were treated? Would He count calories or fat grams or carbs?

And what about great-aunt Susie’s chicken, deep fried in trans-fats? She made it especially for Him, or for his Bride the church. Would He encourage her or scold her? Is this her widow’s mite, a humble, generous offering?

What about you, with your organic salad made from obscure designer lettuce and served with chemical-free home-made dressing? Does He praise your food or excoriate your pride? How far would He have to dig in your refrigerator to reveal your hypocrisies?

Personally, I think Aunt Susie wins here. He takes fried chicken with a little Jello on the side. Maybe some of your salad, just so you won’t feel slighted. He is rich in mercy. And maybe you did bring it as a gracious offering to the Lord.

This is the Man who ate with publicans and sinners. And He called the Pharisees out over and over again for their pretension and their pride. He wouldn’t see a potluck, where his people come together to be with each other, as a place for teaching about nutrition or social justice. He came to be with sinners, after all.

I’m not saying he wouldn’t be bothered by the ethical concerns that reflect our abuse of his creation, including our bodies. I just don’t think he would see the potluck as the right venue to address it. And frankly I think he would be more concerned with our heart than our diet. In fact he said so.

But food is a new legalism, one of many. And I doubt He would have much patience with it. The dietary laws of the Old Testament had become a stumbling block by the time he arrived. And the New Testament pretty much turns its restrictions on their heads (more in the next post).

Today’s dietary laws are no different. They’ve become an endless source of vanity, judgment and self-righteousness.

You know who you are.

Seriously.

Have some raspberries.

_________________________________________________________

[This begins a series on the ethics of food: how to pray over it, think about it and choose it, all without judging your neighbor or violating your conscience. Comment early and often.]

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About wally metts

Wally Metts is the daysman. He is director of graduate studies in communication at Spring Arbor University and is a pastor at Countryside Bible Church in Jonesville, MI. The father of four adult children, he and his wife Katie raise barn cats and Christmas trees in Michigan. His grandchildren call him Santa.

13 Responses to “What would Jesus eat?”

  1. Wally, I can’t help but wonder: is this a reaction against the anti-potluck preaching we heard in chapel during the food focus series?

    Great post.

    • Not really, although I was there.

      There is just a kind of legalistic tone to much of the conversation about food, I’d like to explore it for a few posts.

      Thanks for reading…

  2. Mèo Lười Việt Reply March 3, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Biết nói sao đây?!

  3. Reblogged this on Manoah's Wife and commented:
    Words of wisdom from The Daysman, Dr. Wally Metts.

  4. So funny!! I love it.

  5. I Cor. 8:8 “But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.” This was talking about meat offered to idols, surely it would encompass jello.. :). The whole jest of that scripture is that love is bigger than food and rules. Jesus was not a snob, just as you said and neither should we be. I completely agree. And I love the “Have some raspberries” ending. ❤

  6. HA! That was awesome…thanks for that. Personally, I think Jesus would be a red beans and rice guy if He were to attend a potluck; and I can assure everyone that the pecan pie wouldn’t get passed over by our King!

  7. I agree with your caution against pretension in regard to our food; however, to some people (I have Crohn’s disease) who have chronic illnesses, food is a huge health concern. Our bodies are temples according to scripture, and part of caring for them is by making informed decisions about our food. As people research more into our Standard American Diet, evidence is mounting suggesting that a number of illnesses, especially autoimmune diseases, are either being caused or perpetuated by the food we eat. Sometimes the only relief available is to find a specific diet free from processed foods and full of nutritious alternatives. I think it is well worth our time to pray and seek out the best food sources and trust that God will take care of the rest.

    • Meredith— I can certainly appreciate your concern. I have ulcerative colitis, which we have managed mostly with diet. I’ve refused several times to let them take it out and over time it has greatly improved.

      I don’t object to us taking care of ourselves. There is a lot of food at potlucks I can’t eat. I’m more concerned about our attitudes and judgments than about the food itself.

      Thanks for sharing your concern. May the Lord bless you as you continue to make wise but sometimes difficult choices.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. the idolatry of food | the daysman - March 16, 2013

    […] argued He would eat Jello if it was offered in the right spirit. After all, He says it’s not what goes into a man, but what […]

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