Maybe I live in a bubble. Maybe my sample is not a fair cross section of the American population. But I can’t get two steps these days without hearing the words organic, non-gmo, free range, natural, gluten-free, whatever. And every day it seems to get weirder. Add to this the workout gurus who worship their gods at the gym, training for their next cross fit yoga essential oils marathon, you have a people constantly talking about what is healthy, good for you, or isn’t good for you because the hormones, the injections, the chemicals, and the internet, and studies show, and because of the great goddess: All My Friends Are Doing It.
Now there are many things to say about all of this, but I’d like to limit myself to two. First, we’ve got an idolatry problem here. And by idolatry problem I mean the sheer volume of conversations, blog posts, facebook likes and shares, and financial sacrifice going into this project of “eating well” and “living well” is idolatrous. If ancient pagans saw and heard our day to day conversations and practices, they would know what was going on. There’s a god or a goddess promising long life and happiness. All you got to do is bow and scrape before the shrine. She’s the nutrition goddess, the health goddess, the science goddess, but the papa god at the top of the totem pole is named Peer Pressure. Thus saith popular opinion, thus saith my Facebook feed, thus saith all the cool people, and all the devotees bow their faces to the ground and dutifully change their eating habits (again).
Of course the masses claim scientific certainty and speak with a religious tremor in their voice: Science shows that plastic containers put chemicals into our food. Science says that genetically modified grains give us gluten problems. Science says that if you drink fish oil you can add six years five months three days eight hours and seventeen minutes to your life. Science says that if you drink goats’ milk, you can have three orgasms at a time. And I heard the other day that if you put cat pee in the kids’ oatmeal, they’ll be smarter and better looking. Really? Nope.
The first thing to remember is that Science sucks at being a god. Science gave us blood letting. Science said that you could turn lead into gold. Science told us that smoking a cigarette after every meal was good for digestion. Science says that an unborn baby is just a blob of tissue. Science says that the universe is millions of years old, er, I mean hundreds of millions of years. Er. I mean billions of years old. Maybe the High Priest of the carbon dating whore house had a bad day. Who knows.
But secondly, remember that popular opinion has never done any better. The masses gave us the French Revolution, the masses gave us abortion, the masses are trying to give us sodomy at the moment and doing a damn good job because once again, we are a bunch of cowards, unwilling to speak clearly into the microphone: You want to put your *what* where? People need to see the connections. It’s the same logic (or lack thereof) that suggests you consider using magic beads on your teething toddlers. It’s the same peer pressure at work, breathlessly proclaiming the healing properties of baby urine. The rich irony is that we’ve got a complete lack of discernment masquerading as a pietistic legalism.
So pretty much when anybody tells me they are really concerned about nutritional issues, organic farming, or are just really into healthy eating, I pretty much just picture them going home and kissing little icons of Charles Darwin and Sigmund Freud. But your gods are dead, and soon you will be too. I don’t have any problem with people experimenting. I don’t have any problem with real science, even real nutritional science. But that requires, you know, actual evidence, proof, not hunches, not blog articles, not something you heard from somebody who had a dream, and not capitulating under the pressure of fifteen friends who all do it and look at you a little worried for your soul. God commanded Adam to take dominion of creation, and that means people should study, learn, experiment, and hypothesize. So three cheers for that sort of humble adventurous spirit. But that kind of humility has laughter in the eyes, joy in the heart, and a fearlessness that colors everything. But idols give people the look of scared gerbils.
But here’s the other thing I wanted to say. It’s crazy how much time and energy people spend on things that may or may not be helpful or harmful to our health. The Peer Pressure god mumbles, the Science god has a lisp, but the true God speaks clearly. The true God has spoken, and He has told us very clearly that certain things will tend to good health and long life while other things will tend toward early death. For example sexual promiscuity, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, pornography, drunkenness, bitterness – God says it’s all bad for your health. So why aren’t Christians more worked up about being faithful wives and husbands? Why aren’t Christians more concerned with cultivating joy in their marriage bed? Or how about honoring your parents? That’s the first command with a promise of long life in the land. How about more posts about honoring parents, delighting in our children, guarding one another from drinking too much, and less about the magical oils you got from the witch doctor that may or may not do anything other than let everyone know you’ve arrived by the scent that billows into the room moments before your appearance.
Organic, free range chickens may or may not be worth anything. Maybe in a hundred years, our great grand children will snicker about us and our stupid farming theories. Or maybe everybody will go to free range, and they’ll look back and despise our chicken factories. Maybe, maybe not. But we know for a fact that fornicators will be judged. Do you spend as much time and energy teaching the fear of the Lord to your children as you do worrying about where the milk came from? Do you spend as much time celebrating the gospel of grace, telling the story of Jesus, worshiping God together as a family, as a community? Do you gladly tithe and give extra to the needs of missions and the poor? Do you sacrifice for the sake of others? That’s for sure good for you. That’s for sure the way of the good life, the blessed life.
Your life, your Facebook, your bank account are all proclaiming a gospel all day long. Which gospel is it proclaiming? Is it the gospel of Jesus, the gospel of His grace? Is it built on the certainty of God’s Word, a Word that cannot be broken? Is your hope built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness? Or is it a gospel of nutritional fads and salvation by diet and the weirdest homeopathic methods you can find on the internet? What makes your heart sing? What gives you joy? What do you go back to again and again? That is your god, that is the gospel you are clinging to. But Jesus will not let you down, and He is risen with healing in His wings.