Is Food the Idol That is Eating Away at Your Church?

By Steve Hoppe

Jane Fonda, Lady Gaga, Katie Couric, Fiona Apple, Elton John, Lindsay Lohan, Audrey Hepburn, Janet Jackson, Meredith Vieira, Richard Simmons, Alanis Morissette, Joan Rivers, Paula Abdul, Princess Diana, Kelly Clarkson, Russell Brand, Sharon Osbourne, Wynonna Judd, Sally Field and Oprah Winfrey. What do these 20 celebrities have in common? All of them have battled eating disorders — unhealthy relationships with food. And they’ve all been brave enough to go public with their struggles.

So why do we have such a hard time doing the same in our churches? Why don’t we talk about our food struggles? Why is it so hard to admit when food is an idol? Why are we so private about our battles with food?

Allow me to propose three reasons:

1.     Shame

Some sins seem easy to confess in our churches today—fear, anger or spiritual apathy, for example. But for some reason, the overt misuse of food seems to invite heightened shame. We’re embarrassed to admit when we overeat to fill voids in our hearts. We’re embarrassed to admit when we starve ourselves to make us more physically attractive. We’re certainly embarrassed to admit when things get serious—when we struggle with full-blown eating disorders.* So we clam up.

2.    Silence From the Pulpit

A second reason we don’t talk about food idolatry is because our pastors don’t. When was the last time you recall your pastor talking about the idol of food? What about the obsession with being skinny, with self-deprivation as the means to achieve it? Does he or she dive into the mental battles so many of us face with food? I suspect not. The consequence of this silence is that it sends an indirect message: We should be silent as well.

Click here to read more.
Source: Church Leaders