A Mennonite on American Obesity

This was a Facebook note written by my good friend David Dietz, a Mennonite farmer of wonderful organic fruits and vegetables and one of my favorite people in the world. Dietz also sells eggs from free-range chickens so happy, he assures me each week, that they have achieved personal enlightenment:

Today, I had lunch with a friend at Old Country Buffet. I ate more than I needed to, but less than I could have, resulting in a satisfied, not bloated sensation. As I negotiated my way back and forth between the food bars and my seat, I noted the morbidly obese appearance of some of the other patrons. And I thought about gluttony. I always feel uneasy eating at a buffet-style restaurant. Their very existence seems an invitation to gluttony—both in personal diet and in wasteful consumption of natural resources. But then, one could say the same thing of bars. Their very existence tends to enable the alcoholism of a portion of their customer base. The fact of the matter is that people who lack self control are often enabled in their addictions by buffets and bars. But at least bars often have a policy of not serving obviously inebriated people. Buffets will let you eat until you explode.

As I contemplated the commonplace nature of obesity in South Central PA, and its prevalence among Christians and non-Christians alike, I remembered something about gluttony being one of the seven deadly sins. And then it hit me like a T-bone steak through my TV screen—that’s right up there with lust on the list of deadly sins. Here we were, slothfully chowing away in the richest nation in the world, in a mall a few doors down from Excitement Video, where we could later amble over to engage in yet another deadly sin if we so desired. But only one of those deadly sins would get us in any trouble at church.

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