Bodies & Beauty: The Food Gospel
Editor’s Note: Food, diet, sex, exercise, body, beauty, fat and weight. I dare you to make it 24 hours without coming into the direct line of fire of at least 3 of these words. We live wholly submersed in a culture that throws around these words daily; words that hit close to home for all of us, yet rarely does anyone make it to our heart of hearts to see what is really going on. Lore Ferguson takes several thousand steps back and forces us to escape from the superficial body image buzzwords just long enough to look at what really happened, and find why all of this matters so much to us. And what was originally intended. In doing so, she reveals so much about who God is, and how we trust and do not trust Him. I love this, and it challenged me. Lore blogs at sayable.net and tweets at @loreferguson. – Lauren
I am learning that to know where we’re headed, we have to know where we came from. This means, too, that we find out where we went wrong in the first place. No one has to be convinced that something went wrong somewhere in the bodies and beauty department. Stand in a grocery aisle and figure out how to beat those pesky inches, woo your disinterested man, and find more perfect clothes than you already have.
Something has gone wrong. So where?
Since last summer I’ve been going back to the beginning of things. Something had gone horribly wrong in my heart and soul, and I was the quintessential evangelical who hadn’t lost my salvation, but just hadn’t ever really understood it. It was in the beginning of beginnings that I began to see where I’d lost my place.
It was at a tree. A food laden tree. Something good, beautiful, and delectable gone horribly wrong.
The beginning of beginnings, Genesis, where food was made and food was eaten and where all of our food issues began.
Strange, isn’t it, that one of our principles struggles is still there? With food?
We starve from it, binge on it, measure it out, disgust ourselves with it, pride ourselves on it, obsess over recipes, and tivo our favorite cooking shows. Rarely do we see food as the perfect provision and perfect protection that it was designed to be. Provided for our health, protection from death.
God created food: a perfect provision for His creation. Then He clearly defined it as right or wrong: perfect protection for his children. He set up His boundaries, endlessly good ones that felt good too, until they bumped up against the one ‘don’t’ rule: don’t eat of this tree.
And this is the tree she ate from. First the woman and then the man.
Ignoring the plenty and subversively skirting the mandate by a subtle legalism, “God says don’t eat of it AND don’t touch it”, she fell the boundaries that God so lovingly placed on her and him and all of us.
Don’t we do this too?
Don’t we see the plenty and choose instead the smaller portion, the lesser good? We add to the boundaries given. Sinking deeply into diets or delectable feasts, feeling helpless against the siren call that is food.
God calls out: Where are you?
And we hide, behind exercise, behind enhancement, behind extra weight. We hide. We hide because it is easier to hide than to be known. We’ve eaten off the tree of knowledge and now we think we know.
Yet still He seeks us. Pursues us. Finds us, shivering and scratching under the weight of man-made garments and expectations. I’m there. Are you too?
All because we added to what God said. He gave good boundaries and we made them smaller and tighter, thinking that more rules will keep us safer. God has said don’t eat of the fruit, but we think that it’s safer to just not touch it at all?
This is our great sin. This is our great fall.
We add to what God has said and the boundaries become cages. We imagine He is a harsher God than He is.
We eat the fruit thinking it will make us like God and really all it does is make us into our own god. And we are powerless gods, always trying to find things to bulk us, beautify us, fix us.
All the while He is still giving perfect provision and perfect protection. The second time was in a much less beautiful environment. Dark, though midday, place of the skull. A broken, bleeding, and bruised man. He is saying it is finished and we can hardly believe it is true.
So we are still adding to it. Principles. Practices. Helping God, we think, with clearer expectations on His people and on us. Don’t eat it, we say, or touch it. Or surely you will die.
The truth is that we are finished. Perfect in Christ’s eyes and through His provision. Nothing can be added or removed from you to make you more of who you’re intended to be in God.
He looks on you and sees clean, pure, perfect righteousness and beauty..
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