WWJE?

My sister-in-law will not buy produce at Aldi any more. Why, you ask? I’m glad you asked, since this would have been a very short post had you not. She stopped buying veggies at Aldi because they stopped selling ones with pesticides used on them. “I want my pesticides!” she said. (Yes, this actually came out of her mouth.)

People can get weird about their food, although I’ve never heard anybody yearn for pesticides before. Usually the weirdness comes from those who want to look disapprovingly at whatever it is that I enjoy eating.

  • “You still eat doughnuts?”
  • “I never go within 200 yards of a McDonalds.”
  • “Is that pineapple locally sourced, humanely raised, and organic?”

Do you know the type? But then as I travel around my not-quite-bourgeois city, I see the miserably obese people, the future diabetics of America, who clearly don’t think about what they eat except to think about getting more of it in their mouths. I think that the food police are misguided, but I also see the food ignorant as problematic. WWJE?

What would Jesus eat?

Would Jesus cram his mouth at Pizza Street until he could barely walk out of the place, groaning and saying, “My belly hurts; I ate too much!”

Or would he sit and point at different foods that no right-thinking person should ever consider: “Lips that touch high-fructose corn syrup shall not touch mine!

I struggle with both of these attitudes, and I think that the reason that I struggle with them both is that they both run counter to the spirit of the gospel.

On the one hand, we have a food hedonism: “If it tastes good, eat it. If it tastes bad, eat it anyway.”

On the other hand, we have a food legalism: “You must eat precisely this and not eat precisely that to be righteous in the eyes of the food spirit (today).”

Okay, so what would Jesus eat?

Actually, Jesus did not say a huge amount about food. He did, in Mark 7:19, declare all foods clean. I don’t think that means that tainted meat is suddenly healthy, and I don’t think it means that Jesus put his stamp of approval on HFCS. Instead, it means that consuming pork or a candy bar or even–I risk being expelled as a Baptist deacon–alcohol will not render us unclean before God.

To the best I can see, Jesus never directly talks about gluttony. This makes sense as he lived in a time when gluttony was much less common. Starvation was more of a problem, as the “don’t worry” teaching in Matthew 6 suggests.

The rest of the New Testament makes it clear that rules about what we can and can’t eat are misguided, but there weren’t giant factory farms, genetically-modified foods, and pesticides available in those days. Maybe, if Jesus had lived today, he would have spoken out about both the quantity and the quality of our foods. And maybe not.

In short, I still don’t know what Jesus would eat? And maybe that’s okay. Maybe what I should eat is just between me and the Holy Spirit. Maybe if my sister-in-law wants her pesticides, then it’s okay. Maybe, but I’d like to explore some principles that might move us toward an answer to the question of WWJE?