Sunday, August 21, 2016

the lost sin of gluttony

Lewis talks about gluttony today in A Year with C.S. Lewis.

He says that we've all but forgotten this sin today. And he said that over 50 years ago in England. Especially in modern day America, we really don't seem to consider gluttony to be sinful anymore. The only thing we consider sinful about eating alot is getting fat... which we generally counter with exercise.

But the philosophy of the western, American mind has lost sight of the idea of "moderation" being a virtue. We see excess in all things to be good, unless it causes bad consequences like being overweight or being lazy. If we can eat all we want, sleep all day, lust after every attractive person we see, and be as vain about our appearance as possible, we consider it a good day.

So how do we balance the idea of "moderation" with the idea of God's blessing us with good things? Doesn't God want us to enjoy His blessings?

The answer, I think, is found in wisdom. We have to learn to be wise in how much to eat, sleep, drink, etc. As long as we are enjoying the things that God has given us in a positive, healthy way that is loving toward our neighbors, then we are probably practicing wisdom. But Lewis points to the problem for us when he discusses the gluttony of delicacy.

There's nothing wrong with having preferences, and liking one food rather than another. But when we're so picky about things, whether it's food or where we sit or what we drive... that we start to infringe on other people's likes or rights.... that's when we've allowed our preferences to become a problem.

Being humble of heart is a key to unlocking this tricky question. If we are humble in how we approach food, sex, sleep, etc... then we accept when our preferences are not available. When we demand our way and make everyone miserable until our desires are met... that's when we need to step back and reevaluate the relationship between things and people.

God, thank You for teaching us moderation and humility which actually make our lives more enjoyable, not less.