Wednesday, November 23, 2011
That we are bloated with two "S" words
I've been trying to avoid the humble soy bean as I've recently read about its subtle, detrimental effects on health if you consume too much. I thought, That'll be easy because I don't feed the family much soy. Sure, I drink soy milk sometimes, as a change from dairy, but I can easily change to rice milk. I wish everything would be such a cinch.
Wow, was I wrong! Although I'd already been in the habit of scanning ingredients on supermarket shelves as my oldest son has a peanut allergy, I was still amazed by the staggering truth. There are not many commercially prepared foods, from sweets to sauces to savouries, which don't contain soy. Most often I see, "soy lecithin" listed as an emulsifier. Sure, it's often low on the list, but when you think of the packaged and convenience foods families use over time, that's a lot of soy. We put soy-containing treats in our children's lunch boxes, we pour jars of prepared sauces over casseroles, we dish desserts such as ice-cream and packaged custard up for dessert.
My kids would be first to declare, "We hate soy and wouldn't touch it if you paid us." But they're thinking only of heavy doses like soy milk, soy ice-cream and tofu. Little do they know that they're consuming it without knowing on a steady basis.
I couldn't help thinking how similar it is to another three-letter-long word beginning with S. I know the concept of sin has been a stumbling block for many lovely people when they consider the Christian message. They reject what they consider to be the 'guilt-trip' hoisted upon them from the very outset.
"Hey, we aren't sinners! We have enough negativity to cope with without Christians wanting to drag us down and make us feel bad about ourselves. Give us a nice, kind philosophy which builds us up and highlights our magnificence. Sinners are the types of people we see on the News; the murderers, the tax frauds, the paedophiles. We feel affronted by the very notion that you're comparing us to them. We are decent people who are doing the best we can. We are NOT sinners!"
Yet none of us have to search hard to discover hidden ingredients in our make-up. If we could have all our thoughts and attitudes broadcast for the world to see, I'd be first to cringe and plead, "Turn it off!" I wouldn't want it all to be shown; the mean, snide little thoughts, the petty jealousy, the lies of convenience, the simmering resentment and secret pride. We may call these things 'small' and 'normal' but day after day, week after week, it adds up to a steady diet of something we don't realise we're consuming, just like soy lecithin.
God is not paying us out by calling us sinners.* It is just a fact. I often feel very sad thinking that my Christianity may come across to others as an outdated, mind-control sort of doctrine used by people who want to lord it over me with guilt-trips. Sometimes the way people represent Christianity makes it seem this way, but I'm convinced that anybody who cares to delve deeply into it with an open mind will find it's just the opposite; affirming and liberating beyond anything else they've known. I believe nothing honours the human spirit more than Christianity, which claims that we are created in God's own image and therefore worthy of the most enormous respect and awe. It's just the potentially harmful traces of 'soy', sorry 'sin' in us that are bad for our overall health. But something great has been done about that.
If thoughts are like food we consume, as I believe they are, we have somebody who can help us purify what we take in and get rid of unnecessary extras. And we only have to look to him with trust and believe that he has done it. I see Jesus as the most reliable healer and dietician. OK, I may have stretched this analogy really far, but I still think it's quite an apt one.
*John 3: 17, God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world but that the world may be saved through Him.