“JUNK FOOD” -
A CONTRIBUTION TO A HARVEST FESTIVAL
SUNDAY EVENING DISCUSSION SERVICE
Mint Methodist Church,
A contribution by
A Theology of Junk Food?
1. Care for our bodies
God made the material world and men and women,
and saw that it was good.
The human body is the temple of the Spirit
We do not believe that the soul is good and the body is
rather body and soul are both created by and precious to God.
We are called to love our neighbour as ourselves -
that is our neighbour and ourselves.
So when I sit down to eat, and when I offer you food to
I should have a care for our physical bodies, the temples of the spirit.
We should not deluge our bodies with unhealthy junk food.
On my sabbatical I set out to find renewal of mind, boy
If I am honest I initially tacked the body bit on as an afterthought -
but having lost weight and started to enjoy healthy food in place of chocolate biscuits,
I realize that mind, body and spirit do go together.
2. Care for our souls
Caring for soul without body is the wrong path -
but so is caring for body without soul.
Jesus gives physical bread but also the Bread of Life,
physical water but also the water of life.
I like the old Hindu proverb:
“If you have two pieces of bread, give one to the poor
and sell the other to buy hyacinths to feed your soul.”
Spiritual and Physical needs must both be satisfied.
As God’s people we sometimes serve up unappetising spiritual fare.
Arthur Clennam in Little Dorrit describes the Sundays of his childhood.
“when he sat with his hands before him,
scared out of his senses by a horrible tract
which commenced business with the poor child by asking him in its title,
Why he was going to perdition? -
a piece of curiosity that he really, in his frock and drawers,
was not in a position to satisfy”
“like a military deserter he was marched to chapel by a picquet of teachers
three times a day, morally handcuffed to another boy;
and when he would willingly have bartered two meals of indigestible sermon
for another ounce or two of inferior mutton at his scanty dinner in the flesh.”
We can offer poor unattractive spiritual food -
or we can offer superficially attractive but equally poor spiritual junk food -
Whilst grumbling about junk food in our shops and
we can at the same time offer spiritual food
with is in its terms equally lacking in nutritional value.
Spiritual Junk Food is like its physical counterpart -
it looks appetising, it is easy to digest, is well packaged,
and gives an initial surge of gratification.
But as a staple diet it tends to make us fat, unfit and ill.
§ God will look after you and never expect anything from you
§ Ask for material wealth and God will always answer your prayers
always tells you what to do,
and there is no need to question or doubt
All products on the spiritual fast junk food counter.
3. Conclusion: Sharing a Burger
Clive Marsh in one of his books on film and theology
makes some interesting observations on fast food outlets
in shopping malls and at cinema multiplexes:
“Clusters of friends and family
groups share a tray of burgers and drinks
and plunge French fries into ketchup dips
before a huge backdrop of multiple video screens.
The shared meal is a snatched meal,
caught quickly (at its worst: customers are requested
not to stay longer than 20 minutes at a table”)
between two stages of a shopping expedition,
or prior to a visit to the multiplex at which popcorn
will be dispensed as at a secular eucharist…..
Yet communal eating - even if
is perhaps inevitably better than eating alone.
And if burgers have become the only food
which contemporary Western families … or groups of friends -
especially the young - find the opportunity to share together,
then perhaps they even become our spiritual food.
Nevertheless Christian theology might still want to say something
about the speed and the meaning (or missed meaning) of the meal.”
(“Explorations in Theology and Film” ed Marsh and Ortiz, Blackwell 1997 p.207)
Lets avoid being too judgemental -
God could work powerfully through a glorified picnic on a hillside,
so lets always look for the Spirit at work in every meal.
But at the same time, let’s not miss the chance
to offer something good and wholesome on the menu!
Order of Service
Hymn 331 “All things praise thee”
Reading John 6:3-14 (p.1069)
Introduction and Discussion: Junk Food
Hymn 350 “Praise and thanksgiving”
Biblical Reflection: Junk Food
Collection for Church Funds and Christian Aid
Prayer and Lord’s Prayer