“Food And The Gospel!(Rom.14:20-23).
When I was a teenager we used to have lots of ducks. My mothers did not eat ducks, so they did not like to prepare duck meal when my father wanted it. They however did prepare it all the same.
I left my parents and grew up in Mutengene. When I returned home I had not been used to crickets like “Ngoh,” “Tachi,” “Sinnkah” and “Ngen”(Mungwin). As a result I don’t eat them, but I eat “Slow boys” AKA “Congo meat.”
God has blessed different regions with certain food varieties that are not common to other regions. Those who eat some kind of foods or creatures are not less human, or less civilised than others. We just have to overcome prejudices to be able to appreciate what is held by others in high esteem, but which are demeaning to us.
Of course, “never say never;” especially if you travel around the world. If you are very selective of what you eat, you may starve more often.
A little boy told his hunter father that he will be eating only the hind leg of any game his father brought home. He enjoyed this until when his father brought home a python.
The problem of what to eat and what not to eat is aggravated by culture and religion. Cultures and religions make taboos of certain animals.
Some title holders can only share a full chicken with children who are still ignorant of sex. Even when some men eat the chicken with women, a woman dare not eat the gizzard.
When it comes to food taboos we Christians who accept the Old Testament (OT) as sacred scriptures, become guilty of selective reading of scriptures. We eat creatures that are tabooed in scriptures.
A more serious problem arises when the gospel crosses boarders. Once the gospel enters a new culture, then religious pluralism sets in. A new kind of food taboo begins to surface.
If you are a Christian and enters the house of your nonChristian brother/sister and are served food, would you eat or not? What if the food is coming from a pagan shrine? Is it prudent to start asking the source the of food?
The Christian who is mature in faith will eat the food; even if he knows that it has an idolatory background.
But we must be careful how we excercise our freedom as a result of our faith maturity! Consider how your freedom can affect the brother whose faith is still immature.
Also, if you have doubts, stay clear, because if you eat with doubt, you have sinned.
Concerning these things the writer of the letter to the Romans states: “Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. So whatever you believe about these things keep between you and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.”
Bottom line: If you are strong in the faith and have the freedom to do so, be sure that your action does not further weaken the faith of the person who is weak in faith.
Prayer of the day and week: Holy Spirit lead me away from actions that can hinder the faith of the weak. Amen!
Welcome back to a new working day and week! Have a blessed day and week! Peace be with you!
Rev Babila Fochang.