I was struck by a very odd disparity at the grocery store yesterday. I've been struck by it before, but in light of what I was shopping for, it was even more abundantly obvious. I was putting a few extra items in my cart to send to Haiti...and it hits me: There is a royal food crisis going on all over the world...not the least of which is a disaster-struck city in a nation that ALREADY is severely malnourished. Yet here I am, in the good ol' U.S. of A., surrounded not only by aisles and aisles of food - but food that is now specially packaged in little divvied-up portions because we as a nation don't have the ability to, um, regulate our own intake. What is UP with all these little 100-calorie snack packs? I'm not saying I haven't ecstatically thought, "What a GRAND idea!" and bought my own little packs of Sunchips (and ate, like, three at once). But seriously, we the people would consume engine oil as long as it's only 100 calories, because that's what matters, right? RIGHT?
I was originally going to make this a food rant. But the more I marinated in it (get it?), the more I was like, no, there's always a deeper issue. Food's only one of them. So stick with me.
You go to the grocery store. There are, what, 15-some-odd aisles of every food you can imagine.
Or is it food?
Look at the packages. It screams that it's low-fat, low-cal, low-cholesterol, low, low, low, healthy, healthy, healthy.
How healthy is something that has to scream that it's healthy? Ever think about it?
Why does water need to be infused with vitamins...when there's a produce section three paces away? Why on earth does POP (sorry West Coast - "soda") need to have vitamins added to it?? Why do we need 100-calorie packs of sugary, salty, processed, imitation snacks? WHY do we think that this is healthy?
Consider the humble apple. Or carrot. Or avacado. They don't get sparkly packages. There's no new-and-improved version. No new hoopdie added to them when the most recent article comes out and says that we are in desperate need of it. They just are what they are, and they sit in silent reverie, overlooked and underestimated in favor of sparkly bottles and boxes of "fortified" thingies that are evidently "good" for us because the label says so.
When - when, I ask - did we become such a people who lack...discernment? We are the product of convincing advertising, base our decisions on research that is dodgy at best, and buy whatever Oprah says. When did we cease stepping back to say, "Hold on a minute..."?
We live in a world where, more than ever, we reallllllly need to be able to advocate for our bodies, our minds, our spirit, our families, our marriages...because we'll truly believe anything as long as it looks like it comes from a reputable source. And if it sounds at least sort of true. We're a society that is content to live in a fog, and will gravitate towards the first thing that looks even remotely like a lighthouse.
With food, with ideas, with theology...we just pare down to what we want, take out the stuff we think we don't want, inject the things the Today Show told us we need, inflate it, redecorate it, spiffy up the color, vacuum-seal it, and voila! Apparently THIS is the Holy Grail.
As if anything in the produce section wouldn't just have provided you with all that in the first place. As if any of it needed any improvement.
As if God needed our help improving on what He made.
As if God needed our help improving upon Himself.
There is a difference between being judgmental and exercising sound judgment. It's flexing your discernment muscle. Don't just read labels; know what those things mean and where they come from. Don't just read a book or listen to a sermon; know God's Word and develop an understanding of sound doctrine.
Be keen. Be aware. Flap your arms a little to dispel the fog.
And for heaven's sake, toss the hundred-calorie donut and eat a banana instead!! ;)