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Irene O
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Gluttony preaching is starting to make a comeback in certain church circles. Those places tend to be led by young (age<40) men with a penchant for coupling expository preaching with constant calls to repentance. Gluttony is often mentioned alongside other sins like laziness and apathy. Idolatry is what leads to these sins. Idolatry of self, particularly. I appreciate this candid preaching on sin, ramifications, and the need for repentance. What I personally struggle with is how these particular young male preachers also highly value "eating right," "exercise," "staying fit," and "being credible" in all things. My problem with it is the seeming constant call to behave a certain way coupled with the specific gospel message of "there are no works" that can save. I actually believe these preachers are right in expecting their flock to seek credibility in the world. Not just through fitness but also through all the other ways the body of Christ can be known as Christ followers. Ethical practice, honesty, service, sacrifice, love... However, I find the "no works" preaching coupled with the constant conviction on behavior confusing and troubling. The majority of people are not ever going to be "high performance" believers who can academically reconcile theological paradoxes and seek to dynamically live in grace based, loving communities of faith. This is why I think the constant call to high performance living AND living by grace alone can cause exhaustion and despair in so many of our brothers. DJ|AMDG P.S. Didn't know the history behind gluttony that you provided here. Good stuff. How about the other six sins? Also, visiting UBF Rogers Park again today with the family. Looking forward to worshiping with those brothers and sisters up there. Posted by: Dan | January 31, 2010 at 08:25 AM Verify your Comment Previewing your Comment Hi John, I just stumbled upon your blog via Shameless Popery. This is a really great post, and your honesty and reflection struck deep with me. I was always felt like I inherited the overweight gene in my family. My other siblings except one sister seemed to always have a normal body weight no matter how much they ate. Nevertheless, I never wanted to attribute my problem to the sin of overeating which is probably the real issue. This is certainly a wake-up call for me. In the past before I came more deeply into my faith, I lost weight for ascetic reasons. Now there are still ascetic reasons for me to want to lose weight I guess, but mostly I want to change my eating habits so I do not act in a way that is offensive to God. To grow in the spiritual life is to make room for God in every part of your life, even if it means giving up the immoderate desire for food to make that room for Him. It's strange though, when I'm in a period where I exercise, I typically don't overeat, but once I get busy and stop exercising, I start overeating. Anyways, thank you, thank you for this blog. It has helped me confront en face a big hindrance in my desired growth towards sanctity. For the previous commenter, Dan; perhaps the reason why the conflicting messages of "no works" preaching and conviction on behavior is so confusing is because truth can not contradict truth. Both can not be true,(i.e. 'works' are important, or 'works' are not important) because one negates the other. The question becomes: "why worry about my behavior when nothing I do, that is my 'works,' can effect my salvation?" Well luckily, the Bible answers this question in the famous passage in Revelation 20:12 where the dead are being judged: "And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books." Jesus also mentions this when he says in Matt 16:27 "For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works." I think the confusion for some people is between the term 'works' and 'works of the law.' In Romans 2:5-6 we have "But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. 6For he will render to every man according to his works" But in Romans 3:20 we have "because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin." The key is that when the word 'works' is used it means deeds or behavior. When 'works of the law' is used, it means the ceremonial works of the Jewish people like circumcision. And we know this because St. Paul will go on in the rest of Romans to continually use the example of circumcision when referring to this 'works of the law.' If 'works of the law' instead meant our moral behavior, it would make more sense for him to use examples like adultery or theft, which he doesn't do. Furthermore, this is how Romans 3:20 is then reconciled with the Book of James where he writes in 2:24 "You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone." Anyways, I just really love Biblical exegesis, perhaps it is the one thing I can happily and indulgently be a "glutton" about :-) Peace in Christ Irene
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Jan 31, 2010