"We gather in faith..."

Teaching and commentary from our pastor, Bishop Francis J. Christian

Reflections

Did you know that "competitive eating" is now considered a

sport, at least by some people. It's true! There are even eating

contests in different kinds of food on television and "sport

eaters" compete for prizes of $1500 and up. Furthermore, there

are world records kept in various categories. For example, the

world record for buffet food is 5 pounds in 12 minutes and for

grilled cheese sandwiches, 25 in 10 minutes. A 37-year old

women from Alexandria, VA named Sonya Thomas who

weighs only 105 pounds, was for several years, the superstar of

the competitive eating circuit. She held a number of world

records, among them baked beans (8.4 pounds in 2 min, 47

seconds), eggs (65 hard-boiled in 6 minutes, 40 seconds), and

cheesecake (11pounds in 9 minutes). Until recently I though

that pie eating and hot dog contest at county fairs were about

the limits of this sort of think. boy, was I wrong.

A week or so ago I happened across one of these contests

(sponsored by Alka-Seltzer interestingly enough) on television.

Once I got over my repulsion at people gorging themselves and

shoveling fistfuls of food into their mouths, I began wondering

what followers of the Lord should make of all this. Is it just

good fun, weird yes, but harmless? Or is something more at

stake here? Two concerns come to mind. It is hard for me to

reconcile people wasting food in this manner when so many

people in our world are starving or at least undernourished even

in our own country. Imagine being a parent whose children go

to bed hungry every night and then reading about someone

setting a new world record by consuming 9.6 pounds of lobster

meat in 12 minutes. Is this the way God intends us to use the

resources he gives us so generously? Furthermore, imagine

there was absolutely no hunger in the world. Even in that case

can this sort of wasteful eating be justified? When we analyze

what the purpose of eating is we know that it is to nourish our

bodies, to sustain life. While doing this, we can certainly enjoy

the food we are eating, praising God for its flavor and

goodness. but is seems to me that "competitive eating" is not

eating at all. It is a misuse of the resources we are given, a

terrible waste of the good things of the earth.

There is so much that is good in our society. How do we arrive

at the excesses like those described above? Probably by

forgetting God and His purposes.