Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Food and Sex

This is from today's AP:
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The West Michigan Whitecaps say they have no plans to put a warning label on an enormous new hamburger they're selling this season — despite a vegan advocacy group's request to do just that.

Susan Levin, a staff dietitian for the Washington-based Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, sent a letter to the Grand Rapids minor-league team on Tuesday. She's asking that the 4,800-calorie burger be labeled a "dietary disaster" that increases the risk of cancer and heart disease.

The 4-pound, $20 burger features five beef patties, five slices of cheese, nearly a cup of chili and liberal doses of salsa and corn chips — all on an 8-inch bun.

Whitecaps spokesman Mickey Graham says the burger is a gimmick that's being promoted as a very unhealthy menu item.
Here's the warning I suggest:
WARNING: May cause people who think that women have a right to kill a baby to say that you don't have a right to know how heart-stoppingly delicious this burger tastes.
What kills me is that we've turned food into the new sex. Can you imagine the outrage they would have if we asked for warnings on miniskirts? Oh the moral indignity they have when we "puritanical prudes" take offense at the sexualization of our daughters when we complain about the toys they make and the clothes they produce. (BTW, modesty is never really out of fashion.)

(Click on that pic to enlarge - or just take my word for it: they are marketing this as appropriate clothing for a 12-18M and 18-24M old girl. And that's not even the "thongs" I've seen in WalMart!)

Think about it. When was the last time you were accosted for a consumer choice (whether it be a car, an item of food, a television from your local big-box chain store, your pharmaceuticals)? Or maybe not accosted, but scolded by the news reports?

Now...when was the last time you heard people being scolded for having serial sex partners? I remember watching Oprah and Jerry Springer one day. On Oprah, Amy Dacyczyn a.k.a. the Frugal Zealot was talking about wearing second-hand bras and socks and shoes. The audience was totally grossed out - gasping at the disgustitude of this woman. Meanwhile, on Jerry Springer, you have a guy who is sleeping with his girlfriend, his girlfriend's sister, and her cousin. Plus he'd just been caught with the neighbor. And nobody found that "gross." (Oh yeah...he was also jobless, but the men in the audience were hooting him up as though he were somehow a male idol. American idle is more like it.)

We're forging a new set of purity laws in this country that will turn us into Pharisees - hypocrites who make a big deal about paying your mint and dill and cumin tithe, but ignoring the weightier matters of the law. Paul - who had been rescued from hypocritical pharisaism - saw the danger and warned Timothy that in the later times, people will devote "themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons" and "forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth."

(Those who are undermining the intimate ties between sex and family life - marriage and procreation of children - are making marriage a burden, and thus forbidding it.)

Priorities are shifting...but this is nothing that we - the Christian Church - have not faced before. Perhaps we are in the last days of the American Empire. So be it. Read St. Augustine's City of God where he talks about what it means to live as the church apart from the Roman Empire. We'll figure it out...and maybe even see a new era of Christendom from our missionary activities.


Dave Moody said...

Is 'disgutitude' a real word?

Thats about all I got, cause... well... what else is there to say?

Sam said...

Oh my gosh, who could eat that burger? It's a great publicity stunt though.

We have done the same thing with cigarettes. I'll agree that smoking is a dirty, unhealthy habit, but we've taken it to the point of demonizing smokers. We tend to fixate on something, usually something we, personally don't do, and make it evil. It makes us feel better about ourselves to point out that someone else is "worse".

The message my gay daughter is getting is, it's okay for her straight friends to live with their boyfriends, have babies, etc. But, all she wants to do is find a partner to love, marry and spend the rest of her life with. That is evil?

You can see how she would believe that is a bit hypocritical.

I agree, I think the American Empire has peaked. But is that a bad thing? I'm not so sure.

Gotta go, for some reason I'm craving a burger.

Rev'd Chris Larimer said...

Who could eat that? Adam Richman, that's who!

Scripsit Sam: The message my gay daughter is getting is, it's okay for her straight friends to live with their boyfriends, have babies, etc. But, all she wants to do is find a partner to love, marry and spend the rest of her life with. That is evil?

Plenty of wickedness in that paragraph:
fornication = wicked
bastardry = wicked
lesbianism = wicked
hypocrisy = wicked
making excuses for evil = wicked
moral relativism = wicked
relative moralism = wicked

Americanity sure is a cheap knock-off of Gospel-strength Christianity.

Sam said...

I get relative moralism. I don't agree that lesbianism is wicked. Everything else on your list is a choice. I can tell you that my daughter was "different" from the time she was very young. There was no choice involved.

We aren't going to agree on this, so arguing about it is just going to make my fingers tired.

I pray that some day she will come back to God and get past the evil things that have been said to her in the name of Christ.

Now I need to go work off that burger and fries.

Peace of Christ

Rev'd Chris Larimer said...


You don't have to agree with me on Lesbianism. You do need to agree with God's self-revelation in the Bible, which classifies lesbian sex as an idolatrous lust of impurity.

You don't have to have a choice in the matter of whom you are attracted to. That's irrelevant. The only meaningful choice is how you act on those attractions. Every day I'm attracted to women that aren't my wife. No choice in the matter (at least from my perspective). I choose not to act on it. Every day I'm tempted to lie, cheat, steal, pummell a numbskull - again, my sin nature leaves me no choice in wanting to do those things. But the Spirit in me gives me strength to resist.

I'll pray the same for your daughter. I'll pray that she finds loving community and is able to fulfill her need for love and companionship in a God-honoring way. And if that opportunity does not present itself (just as it doesn't for many heterosexual persons), then I pray that she resist the lies of this world that say it's okay to meet those legitimate needs in illegitimate ways (such as lesbian romance).

Abraham had a legitimate promise of progeny, but he looked at his circumstances and said he would take matters into his own hands. That bad choice is the source of the Arab-Israeli conflict today.

Choosing to meet your expressed desires - or trying to fulfill God's promises by human means - has long-lasting negative impact.

Doug Hagler said...

Though I usually think you're on another planet, I think you've got a point here. We disagree on what sexual ethics *should* look like, but "hooker chic" for tweens is not it.

Sam said...

Isn't the "unnatural relations" in Romans a punishment for unbelief. He "turned them over". So for me to accept that verse in context, I have to accept that God is punishing my daughter for her unbelief?

Oh well, had God not given me a lesbian daughter, I probably wouldn't have given the whole issue much thought. Thanks for the conversation, I really do appreciate it.

Rev'd Chris Larimer said...

Doug - It's planet Kolob, where I'm a Mormon deity and give assent to all things patriarchal. But it's nice to know we orbit the same SON from time to time.

Now where's my Hello Kitty thong...

Sam - The context of the Scripture is Paul's exposé of Gentile futile thinking (and God's judgment thereon). Similiarly, Romans 2 is Paul's exposé of Jewish futile thinking (and God's judgment thereon). So the question is not whether your daughter is bowing down to statues of Buddha or whether she's bowing to statues of Mary. The question is whether or not she is seeking to be in right relationship with God through Jesus Christ (who said that to love him is to keep the commandments - echoing the language of the Decalogue). Anyone who thinks they can break the first commandment (which homosex is tied to through idolatry) or the seventh commandment (which prohibits all non-marital sex) and still say they love Jesus has a definition of love that is at odds with Jesus' definition of love.

I wouldn't have had to think so hard about these issues if I hadn't struggled with same-sex attraction at one time and my family didn't have transgendered persons in it. But no matter what crosses you and I bear, the Scriptures are to rule and over-rule our personal biases.

Sam said...

First - Hello Kitty Thong? TMI

Second -"Anyone who thinks they can break the first commandment (which homosex is tied to through idolatry)" You're going to have to explain that one.

Rev'd Chris Larimer said...

As Gentiles exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped the creation instead of the Creator, so lesbianism and homosexuality exchange a natural relationship for an unnatural one.

Idolatry and homosexuality, in other words, represent theological and moral rebellion against God. The failure to worship and glorify God results in idolatry, and the failure to find one's sexual fulfillment in the opposite sex results in homosexuality.

Idolatry and homosexuality inevitably result in an inversion or turning back on self for a fulfillment that God intended to be completed by the other.

The result is alienation from God, as described in the following verses.

Karl Barth wrote about this in his Church Dogmatics as well as his commentary on Romans. Since humanity is "fellow-humanity," (creatures made in the image of God precisely as male and female) men and women come into full humanity only in relation to persons of the opposite sex. To seek one's humanity in a person of the same sex is to seek "a substitute for the despised partner," and as such it constitutes "physical, psychological and social sickness, the phenomenon of perversion, decadence and decay."*

This is idolatry, for one who seeks the same-sex union is simply seeking oneself: self-satisfaction and self-sufficiency. While Barth says homosexuality thus is unnatural and violates the command of the Creator, he hastens to add that the central theme of the gospel is God's overwhelming grace in Jesus Christ. Hence, homosexuality must be condemned, but the homosexual person must not.

That is the Biblical position. The Church should treat homosexuals the same as they treat any other wayward sinner. It should treat Christians struggling with homosexual attraction the same as it treats Christians struggling with heterosexual attractions - with compassionate discipline and honest discipling.

* Church Dogmatics III/4, p. 166 quoted in Church Dogmatics: A Selection By Karl Barth, Helmut Gollwitzer, Geoffrey W. Bromiley. Trans. G. W. Bromiley. Westminster John Knox Press, 1994. p. 213

Sam said...

Thanks Chris