Sunday, August 19, 2012

The separation...  

Of Church and Plate. Agriculture has watched bemused as celebrities and the occasional real human embrace, umm...alternative diets.  But popular pastor Rick Warren takes it up a notch when he brings scripture to the menu.
This is a story about weight loss. Four young men are kidnapped by an invading army, forced against their will to their enemy’s teeming capital, into the heart of the palace of the enemy king. Their old names are taken away. Their clothing is stripped off, and they are dressed up in the stiff, stifling robes of the foreign court. They are kept under watch, instructed in a new language, forbidden the worship of their fathers’ god. They are offered riches and power in the king’s service, if only they give themselves over to the life of the court, sit at the king’s banquet table and eat his rich, strange food, answer to new names in a new language—if only they forget who they were. 
Did I say this is a story about weight loss? Excuse me: Pastor Rick Warren says this is a story about weight loss. The story is the Hebrew Bible’s Book of Daniel, and out of the wealth of details in this two-and-a-half-millennia-old book, Pastor Warren has plucked one in particular as the centerpiece of his church-sanctioned diet.
Daniel, one of the four kidnapped Jewish youths, “resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine,” and chose to subsist on vegetables instead, ending up as healthy as anyone in his captors’ court. So, as Time magazine recently reported, Warren has “launched the Daniel Plan, a comprehensive health-and-fitness program.” [More]
Actually, I have no problem with preaching against carbs, for example. But I think this is just one more example of ways fundamentalist orthodoxy can create conflicts with American ideals of freedom. Which is why we have wisely tried to keep as much daylight between government and religion as we have.

Bible-literalists in rural America may have to swallow hard to embrace this latest self-help interpretation from the same guy who launched a thousand study groups with "The Purpose-Driven Life".
  • EAT Delicious Whole Foods
    Have 70% of your daily diet consist of whole, living foods including raw or lightly cooked vegetables, fruit, raw nuts and seeds. The other 30% can include lean protein, whole grains and starchy vegetables.
    Don’t drink your calories (sodas, juices, alcohol). Drink water instead.
    Read the label: Avoid high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, nitrates, food coloring.
    Avoid the “white menaces,” flour, rice, potatoes and sugar (bread, pasta, cookies, cakes).
    Supplement your diet with high quality vitamins Omega-3, Vit. D, and a multi-vitamin.
    Eat nutritious breakfast that includes protein. Add healthy snacks throughout the day. Low fat lunches. Light dinners (don’t eat within three hours of bedtime).
MOVE Your Way to Health
Stay active daily. Find ways to enjoy exercise. God made our bodies for movement.

THINK Sharper and Smarter
Your decisions about the way you eat, move and think are results of your brain health.
  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Stress less with deep breathing and exercise.
  • Reverse risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s by learning something new: language, scripture.
  • Avoid brain robbers like; alcohol, drugs, smoking, and sports that can cause concussions.
  • Don’t believe the automatic negative thoughts in your head. Challenge and replace them with the truth! 
Aside from the admonitions against HFCS, rice, potatoes, etc., the warning about football will doubtless cause some controversy.  On the whole, the recommendations are in the mainstream of medical advice.

The problem for me is the same as the above writer: since when did Scripture devolve into a glorified self-help book? While it has always offered guidance for life, I don't find it to be the end authority on health any more than on science.

Strict "Biblical living" seems to have an attraction that reappears every so often in modern cultures. And time and again, the impracticality of its misuse reduces its power in areas where it can truly work miracles.

The Daniel diet is a good enough idea. Selling with a theological endorsement is inappropriate and unhelpful to both health and religion.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Spoken like a true methodist! Has harvest started? Our silage fields were 18 and 24bpa-5 years COC. Daniel knew the meaning of conviction and self discipline-something quite lacking in today's society.