This is a continuation of my series on food. This is only the second post and you will find all the posts in this series in the “Food” category.
Today I want to talk about church potlucks. This is one of my fondest memories of the church growing up . . . at times, it rivaled the excitement linked with advent looking forward to Christmas. And the worst part is, they torture you by sitting through a service first. At least that’s what I thought as a child. As I grew older, I continued to appreciate potlucks in the church, especially as a poor college student. It’s plain to me and I hope it is to you, that church potlucks are sentimental to me.
However, my view of church potlucks is beginning to change. Yes, it is great to share a meal with brothers and sisters and the company is always enjoyable. But that’s not where my problem lies. A few years ago, a friend (who is now a pastor) humorously remarked that potlucks give Christians’ an excuse for gluttony. And often times this is correct (at least in my observation). At potlucks, people tend to eat far more than they need to. They are full, but because that cherry cheesecake was so scrumptious, they go back for another piece. And then grab one of those peanut butter chocolate chip cookies on the way. And then for good measure, another one of those brownies with the cream cheese swirls. And you noticed, all these have some in common. They are all desserts. This is the other thing that makes me suspicious of church potlucks. There always seems to be at least half of the tables covered with desserts. Half!? Are you serious!? You have to look hard for the fruit and vegetables, but luckily, with the overabundance of desserts, people usually pass over these healthy entrées. And although I used to be thrilled with the variety of desserts, I no longer find myself so enthused. I care about my body and I really try hard to take care of it. Not only in regards to stress and exercise, but especially in my diet. The food pyramid that is drilled into our minds as elementary school students really portrays the proper diet well. Maybe we should start hanging those at the beginning of our potluck lines. And maybe we should talk about overeating, about being good stewards of our body, not only spiritually, but physically. Maybe we should talk about what we eat at church potlucks and maybe we should talk about eating healthy in general. And maybe the church potluck would be a great place to exhibit healthy eating. And maybe we should talk about stress-eating and fasting and denying the flesh and not satisfying every little desire that emerges from within. Maybe we should exhibit self-restrain and self-control. Maybe we should pass on that third piece of apple pie à la mode.