Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sexy Bits of Bacon: Something Wrong with the Appetite

I have been working lately on a chapter exploring the sin of gluttony for a Bible study I have coming out with the Threads folks next year called Seven Daily Sins. Today I remembered the discussion of sexual morality in Mere Christianity where C.S. Lewis offers the following illustration to demonstrate the folly of lust:
You can get a large audience together for a strip-tease act—that is, to watch a girl undress on the stage. Now suppose you came to a country where you could fill a theatre by simply bringing a covered plate on to the stage and then slowly lifting the cover so as to let every one see, just before the lights went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit of bacon, would you not think that in that country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food?
Lewis is intentionally being silly to highlight the dysfunction we don't see in our sexual lust. But I wonder if he were alive today, surfing the TV channels with you or flipping through a magazine, if he'd be astounded to see that strip-teases of food actually exist.

Perhaps he couldn't imagine his illustration would some day reflect reality, but here we are, being tantalized and aroused by the gleaming juices of delicious steaks, the architectural splendor of some well-stacked mega-burger, the whole-life-fulfillment promised by chocolate mousse, all airbrushed and lit up and presented with expertly selected music and pitched by a celebrity or model.

Would we not think that in this country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food?


Jason Kanz said...

I am totally geeked about this book. I'm just saying. I loved Your Jesus is Too Safe (I just lent it out again), but I think this one looks really interesting.

Jason "soul surfer" Kanz


Wenatchee the Hatchet said...

Yeah, the food striptease illustration is one for the ages, especially ours. :) Orthocuban wrote in his blog a year or so ago that there are actually two forms gluttony can take. We're used to the idea that gluttony tends to refer to eating too much. But there's another kind of gluttony that can be described as a kind of food snobbery. Refusing to eat if you can't get the kinds of food you consider food can be as gluttonous as eating too much and often these two forms of gluttony can overlap. It's not just the stereotypical fat preacher who refuses to drink alcohol who is a glutton; it can also be a person who won't eat cheap food if that's all the person can afford, it can also be a person who eats normal portions but prefers meat or is an emotional eater. There's the striptease of bacon but there's the odes to particular foods as being better (or worse) than others. There's nothing quite like poverty (even "American" poverty) to make a person realize that the food you can get and prepare for yourself is to be preferred over the stuff you wish you could have. I might want pizza over potatoes but if what I can afford is potatoes then by the grace of God I'll find ways to be grateful for potatoes!

Mary @ said...

What about the fact that we have television channels devoted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to food and all things about food? Those channels "feed" our addictions--literally--continuously.