I live in the high desert of New Mexico surrounded by the original Americans and their homeland known as the Navajo Nation. History, the railroad, and I40 have brought men and women from Mexico, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. In fact Gallup has become such a diverse community that our church has a banner on our building that reads “Strength in Diversity.”
I am a pastor who truly believes that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. When others come to accept Jesus as their personal savior they often wonder about how their cultural beliefs will merge with their newfound faith. I have taught many men and women that they should respect their culture and the lessons that have been passed down from generation to generation. I encourage others to embrace the wisdom of their ancestors while honoring scripture. Yet there are those times when culture blatantly opposes God’s Word. When asked what to do during one of these situations I usually respond with one simple sentence. Scripture trumps culture.
And that’s as true for me as it is for anyone else. I am an American. Let me be more specific. I am a Southern White American. And my culture is known for some of the most delicious food in this country. From fried chicken, fried okra, beans and cornbread, to shrimp and grits, we have amazing food! Oh! And don’t forget that sweet tea ruins through our veins!
Not only am I a Southern White American who was raised on delicious food that isn’t good for you, I’m also a 50 year old woman who grew up with the convenience of McDonalds, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and a bunch of other fast food restaurants serving me food that seemed to taste great but, once again, has proven not to be so good for me.
And I have grown up eating the Standard American Diet. From childhood into adulthood my grocery buggy looked just like everyone else’s. It was filled with five pound bags of sugar and flour, sodas, boxes of cereal, chips, frozen pizzas, and so much more…..
You may be wondering where I’m going with this. How does scripture trump culture when it comes to eating?
1 Corinthians 6:12 You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything.
19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
I can choose to eat the Standard American Diet and suffer the consequences of my choices. I can continue to embrace my the diet of my people and deal with the diseases they have tried to pass down to me. Or I can choose to confront the culture of eating with scripture. Not everything on the grocery shelves is good for me so I choose not to put those items in my cart. For me sweet tea is addictive so that means that I cannot allow myself to cave in to that addiction.
But ultimately I choose to honor God with my body by feeding it good food that is nutritious and delicious, daily exercise, and a good night’s sleep.
Today I want you think about this question: Have you allowed the convenience of fast food along with processed foods, the lack of exercise, and burning the candle at both ends to make you a slave to the Standard American Diet, disease, or obesity?