I Am No Stranger to Gluttony

August 29, 2007 at 6:59 pm Leave a comment

 Yes, I am no stranger to gluttony. Years of what I call “quality control” in the pizza business resulted in my ability to enjoy too much food resulting in an attendant big front porch. Yummm, I love food and I waste next to none.

My wife just started a job serving banquets at a local golf club. Her first night was working a fancy wedding that served roast beef and all the trimmings for the dinner. During clean up, she was amazed at the quantity of good quality food that was wasted, simply thrown out. My mouth was watering as she described the pounds of succulent medium roast beef that was tossed out. My tummy rumbled hearing that a mountain of Yorkshire puddings were trashed and gallons of gravy went down the drain! Buns, butter, horseradish, salad and desserts were all discarded. All perfectly edible except the Health Department says they must be thrown out just in case some diseased person sneezed or coughed on them.

My first indignant thought was that many needy folks would gladly trade their regular dumpster meal for this feast, yet I can see the Health Department’s point. I’m sure the banquet organizers know their job and keep the overage to a minimum but it is still a horrible waste. I wondered; how do you feed a large group of people, eliminate waste and keep the Health Department happy?

Jesus fed five thousand and ordered the leftovers to be collected rather than waste them (John 6:12). Now, the symbolic meaning of this story is that while the supply of the Spirit may appear small, there is more than enough to fill (feed) people; there is, in fact, lots left over. However, I’m going with the literal meaning here, which is obviously, once we have eaten our fill, whatever is left is not to be wasted. After all, a lot of hard work has gone into producing the meal (you may remember my abattoir tale last week). The Bible story doesn’t say what was done with the twelve (hmmmm…) baskets of leftovers. Hey, that symbolic number matches the disciples in the “inner circle” so perhaps they packed it as supplies for upcoming journeys, but whatever happened, it wasn’t wasted.

Consider this: Today we are all used to buffet lunches/dinners. Would it affect the “class” of a dinner if people had to go down a buffet line? Maybe a little, but think of the positive effect at the dumpster. By keeping the food in the kitchen and supplying the buffet as required, the waste would be kept to a bare minimum. Overages in the kitchen would be stored properly to be recycled into tomorrow’s “special” or even better, would be fit for pick up by advocate groups who feed the homeless, helpless and destitute. Hey, perhaps it could even be noted at each table that leftover food will be used to feed the unfortunate. Then again, I suppose the doggie bag requests would skyrocket and people would complain about paying big bucks to feed the poor and I can see them accusing the caterer of preparing too much in order that there would be lots left. OK, probably best to keep it quiet. However, the doggie bag/ recycled/donated food would at least be used rather than wasted.

The Western world needs more discipline. We have taken the literal meaning of God giving humankind dominion over the earth as a license for gluttony; materially as well as nutritionally. We consume as much as we can and trash the rest. This is true with food and goods as well as the environment. I think the symbolic meaning of the “dominion” story has been forgotten in our over privileged Western world. The Creator wants humanity to have dominion over the world, but in a loving and sustaining way. We are to walk softly upon the earth and to take “just enough” so our less fortunate brothers and sisters can be satisfied. I fight my food gluttony, not very successfully, every day. I know how hard it is to discipline myself and suspect it is the same for most others but we have to try and keep on trying. Rome wasn’t built in a day; a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step; one must constantly strike the stone with no visible progress until suddenly it cracks; and all those other clichés but we must keep working at changing the ways of the Wasteful Western World. Creating Spirit, help my/our gluttony.

Wouldn’t it be a Wonderful World if we all consumed “just enough” and wasted nothing?


Entry filed under: Wrestling With God.

Mary Mary Jehovah’s Witnesses Got It Right!

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