Before I begin let me say that I am not a Muslim nor am I Adventist. I am not Jewish nor am I a part of a new sect or division of Christianity. My views are derived from personal biblical study and reading.
OK, let’s start with Acts 10:9-15. This is the passage of scripture that most Christians use when anyone challenges their right to chow down on baby back ribs or shrimp po’ boy sandwiches. Let me paraphrase the passage; Peter was hungry and went into a trance. While in the trance he sees a sheet come down with all sorts or animals in it including reptiles and birds. In this vision God tells Peter to “rise, kill and eat”. Peter, being the Jewish leader that he was, refused. His refusal was based on the Levitical law that declared certain creatures unclean. God said in verse 15, “Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.”(NLT) Well there you have it sports fans, get your pulled pork sandwich and eat some shrimp ettouffee on the side, right? Well, not so fast.
If we look closely at this passage we first have to ascertain the context of God’s statement. Was God telling Peter to eat whatever he wanted because it was all clean? If the story is read from verse 1 to verse 48 the simple conclusion is that it is not a story about food but a story about how God had to stop Peter from being a separatist. God wanted Peter to minister to Cornelius and other gentiles. The true context of this passage would show that Peter was not being instructed to eat the creatures on the sheet but they were merely an analogy that God was using to state that Gentiles are not unclean.
After reading Jordan Ruben’s “The Great Physician’s Rx for Health & Wellness” I started my personal research of food and the Bible. My study on the subject was far (and I do mean far) from the extensive research masterfully done by Jordan Ruben. Actually it was probably less research and more looking back at my view of food as a black Christian.
As a kid the only thing I liked more than pork chops for dinner was bacon for breakfast. Pancakes, eggs, grits and 3 or 4 slices of pork bacon made what I thought was the perfect Sunday morning before going to church. Church picnics and banquettes all served everything from pork ribs, greens with fat backs and more. My family was and still are avid church goers. Family dinners after church were epic. Even though I was born and grew up in Los Angeles my mother’s side of the family grew up in Louisiana which meant I also had gumbo growing up not to mention ham, chitterlings, hog maws, fatbacks and more. For those of you that don’t know, Gumbo is a hearty stew of spices, chicken, sausage, shellfish, vegetables and more. Parts of that same family were and still are Seventh Day Adventist. This meant that they went to church on Saturday and they stayed away from pork and shellfish. Family dinners always had what we called Adventist pots. These pots had no shellfish or pork. I didn’t understand it growing up but now I do. I am not Adventist but I don’t disagree with their eating habits.
Each of these family meals began with prayers of thanksgiving and blessing over the food that was to be eaten. After researching this subject I found that we may have been praying for what God never considered food. Looking at the 11th chapter of Leviticus I noticed that God kept saying what was good for “food”. This means that certain things God never considered food.
If I were to unplug and dismantle the garbage disposer in a sink, set it on a plate and began to eat it most people would say that what I was eating was not meant to be food. Garbage disposers were not made for human consumption. A garbage disposer was made to consume and dispose of some of the inedible parts of food. Guess what, God made organic garbage disposers and he called it a pig. I grew up having a pool in my back yard. We had this thing that would clean the bottom of the pool called a pool sweeper. God made those too but he called his lake and ocean cleaners scavengers or bottom feeders (shrimp, crabs, catfish etc). God is a God of purpose and everything was made for a reason and to carry out a purpose.
Before you swine addicts start having a tizzy and start bringing up how we are not under the law but under grace, let me stop you in your tracks and declare I am not talking about what is and is not law. What I am talking about is Food. God states in the 11th Chapter of Leviticus, what is and what is not food. Whether or not it is the law is not important to this discussion. God said that pigs, shrimp and a whole lot of other creatures are not to be considered food. Just like I would not eat a chair or a broom because those are not considered food I don’t eat pigs or bottom feeders because they are not food.
In the black community diabetes, high blood pressure and more are rising at alarming rates. A lot if not most of this is food related. Black Christians are not immune to this horrible statistics. What doesn’t help is seeing Christians eat what God never considered food. This is not about washboard abs and chiseled bodies. This isn’t even about eating healthy foods. This is about humans eating what God biblically calls food.
Nobody ever said this in the churches I grew up in and to be honest I wish they did. God gave everyone and everything a purpose. So I just hope this sheds light on what God created to be organic appliances and not food. We all may live a little longer and healthier if we all simply ate, ya know….food?
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