41PSauik+aL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_I’m participating in an on-line book group that is reading 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. In it she fights the encroachment of consumerism on the human heart and behavior in seven areas: food, clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending and stress.

Her first month centered on food which is appropriate since the act of eating is what got us in this mess. No, that’s not quite fair. But it was the external manifestation of the lie that ‘you, too, can be like God’. Bite. And just like that even our relationship with something as life-giving as food got out of whack.

Jen limited herself to seven foods she ate for the entire month. I will admit, I got tired of listening to her whine about her experience (sorry, Jen, but I did). I wanted to say, “Lady, you’re only doing this for a month and you got to pick your foods! Move to China, have no language, be dumb enough not to bring a cook book or any cooking supplies in a pre-internet world and you will go a lot longer than one month eating fried apples and potatoes. Um. Hypothetically, I mean.”

But complaining about food is nothing new. Ask Moses.

The Israelites were willing to trade their freedom for variety.

And lest I cast the first stone (really, the second since I already cast one at Jen), as one living outside of her home culture, I can testify that food takes up a disproportionate amount of thoughts and conversations. Even for those of us who aren’t foodies. We can find comfort in the simplest things. Highlight of a dance party? Toast.

I find that our problem in the industrialized world with food can be boiled down (yup, I see it) to three main areas:

1. Variety. As the heirs of Israel, we crave variety as much as they did. If not more. We have such variety it can make your head spin and instead of being satisfied, once you start feeding the beast, she wants, you got it, MORE.

2. Nutritional Value. Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food (which I highly recommend) makes the point that we have followed science down a dark alley and been mugged by her. Think you’re eating real bread? Think again. Real bread has about six ingredients, that stuff in your cupboard, twenty-eight. You do the math.

3. Size. Bigger is not always better. But in a land of excess we have lost all touch with what a “normal” serving size is. We do extremes well. We’ve got obesity and eating disorders down. What we can’t seem to hit is the middle.

And so it goes, a modern twist to one of the oldest problems a group of people have faced. Food no longer is just for sustaining life, it’s been turned into friendly fire on our souls.

In what ways has excess towards food crept into your cupboard, eating habits, or thoughts?

Amy

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  1. Barb Raveling May 17, 2012 at 1:55 am - Reply

    Sounds like an interesting book – i think that message of consumerism has also crept into relationships with the whole soulmate movement. Consumerism makes us unhappy in every area we apply it to because we never have enough to satisfy us.

  2. wanderwithlizzie May 17, 2012 at 4:23 pm - Reply

    I, maybe, cheered you on with the rock throwing. But that aside, I think we (the foreigners) tend to run to the golden arches/Starbucks when the going gets tough. Just a “taste of home” and our day will be better…or so we think. The familiar, which we often find in food, becomes our source of security.

    • Amy May 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm - Reply

      Your comment reminds me, it’s called comfort food for a reason :).

  3. Loren Pinilis May 17, 2012 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    I think food is a good gift given from God. He gave us taste buds for a reason :)
    The problem comes when we let the gift take over and become a higher priority than God. We can do the same with work, sex, rest, family, music, art, or just about any other gift from God.
    The problem with gluttony is just that it’s so acceptable in our society.

  4. LeAnne P May 17, 2012 at 10:58 pm - Reply

    How fun that you mention this now. I’m going through Genesis with a post-graduate Chinese Sister who wanted to learn more about the OT. It is ah-mazing to go through a book like Genesis, that we’ve all ready a dozen times or more, through the eyes of someone who has never read it. One new thing I have learned about that bittersweet fruit: it was (1) good for food (2) pleasing to the eye and (3) desirable for gaining wisdom (Gen 3:6). Not much has changed in what gets us into trouble: (1) lust of the flesh (2) lust of the eyes and (3) sometimes digging in to know more than we should. Of course, there is nothing wrong with any of the three things in the first list in and of themselves, but with a wrong twist – oops! Suddenly either our tummies, our eyes or our emotions are having their way with us.

    I know the food choices had quadrupled between your arrival in China and mine, but even I get tired of eggplant and green beans (and it’s a favorite). I’m sure I would have been first on the complainers list over manna every day. I would have been trying to add chocolate syrup, powdered sugar, peanut butter… The one exception is macaroni and cheese. That I think I could eat everyday.

    • Amy May 18, 2012 at 5:13 am - Reply

      LeAnne, I think you and my dad will be in the same corner in heaven eating mac-and-cheese! I too, love seeing the word through fresh eyes. It is so, so very rich and I miss so much :)

  5. Oh, fun to read your take on this. I couldn’t agree more with what you said about variety. The Target by us recently added four aisles of food. They aren’t going to expand, just four aisles. I don’t normally shop there, but as I cruised around the new addition, I considered it. Why not? They had the basics, and do I really need to scope out an entire store-sized, wall of baked goods and fruit when I buy the same things each visit anyway? Nope!

    So glad you are along for this book club ride. I enjoy hearing your thoughts. When I send an email out to participants on Mondays, I will include you as one of the hosts each time (unless I hear otherwise from you!)…that being said, don’t feel pressured to write. All chapters are covered so it you don’t do it, no biggie.

    Thanks, Amy!

    • Amy May 18, 2012 at 7:24 pm - Reply

      Amy, thanks for hosting the book group. I’m — I almost wrote “enjoying” the book — and I am, but more I’m glad to be forced to consider these things and do a gut check. I’d be delighted to be listed as part hostess too. You are generous! Amy

  6. Andrea September 2, 2012 at 11:04 am - Reply

    Yes! I finished 7 a couple of months ago as part of another online book group and am now reading Made to Crave, which focuses on food and our relation to it, God, people, and ourselves. Reading the blog posts from the chapter this week has paired nicely with my new read too.

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      Amy September 2, 2012 at 2:17 pm - Reply

      I love it when themes come together! I’ll have to check out Made to Crave, thanks!

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