Kris Mays is a Christ Follower, wife of 18 years to David and mother to five children ages 11-1, whom she home schools in rural Oregon. Beyond that, her passions are writing, raising food, cooking, and nutrition. You can find her on the web at www.homeschoolblogger.com/misskris
I don't care much for the word "religion." It's always grated. To me, the word religion implies living by a set of rules and regulations. Now I know that is not necessarily the dictionary definition of the word "religion," but I think it's the idea most people get when they hear the word. I also think it's one reason many don't seek a more "spiritual life."
For me, my faith isn't about following a set of rules, it's about pleasing God. It's a relationship with my Maker. Matthew 22:37-39 says, "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (KJV) Those two commandments pretty much cover it all. If I do these things, I am pleasing God. If I do these things, I am automatically following the Ten Commandments.
The book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament is full of the many laws and dietary restrictions God set forth for his people. I don't pretend to know all God's reasons for these. But I do believe the dietary restrictions were to help set God's people apart from the world, and to help protect their health for future generations. Today, I don't live under Old Testament law. I live under God's grace and my freedom in Christ. Ephesians 2:8 says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." (KJV) This means there is nothing I can do to save myself, only God can do that through His son, Jesus. He did that.
According to Romans 14, I have full freedom in Christ to choose what to eat and what to drink. However, if what I eat or drink offends others, then that is sin, as I would be breaking the Second Commandment to love others more than myself. So obviously, if I should serve forbidden foods to my Jewish friend, this would cause offense. If I serve sausage to my family in my home when no one who would be offended was present, to me that is okay. However, if I am personally convicted to follow an Old Testament diet, then I should do that.
We have for several years tried to avoid pork and we seriously limit shellfish (which I personally don't eat at all). This is because we feel that health is a big reason God gave these restrictions in the Old Testament. We have also read about the parasites in swine, etc., that we'd really rather not have anything to do with. That said, we do eat bacon on occasion (from responsibly raised swine), because it's not about rules. Remember, we live in freedom. It's about balance and health. And sometimes we just really feel like eating some bacon!
In our church, I think most people eat just about anything. I don't see many abstaining from items because they are "unclean" and I know there are folks in our church that drink alcohol (we personally don't because of the Second Commandment). Food is definitely an important part of fellowship in many churches. Church potlucks, in general, are famous for their good food. Our church is quite large, so we meet in home groups during the week and those meetings generally include a shared meal. We are home group leaders, so we can steer the direction of the meals ourselves or decide to forego it.
As a mother of five children, I take seriously my job of feeding them nutritious foods and guarding their health. Just recently, I came to the realization that taking care of our bodies IS loving God. We should respect and be good stewards of His creation, and our bodies are a part of that creation. Although food and health has been an interest for years, this was a real light bulb moment for me. In the past year, we have been making some real changes in our diet and the way we prepare our meals. As I master one new concept, I move on to another. Like most who are on this healthy eating journey, I read and learn everyday. I pray and ask for wisdom. I talk to my husband, and then we do what we feel God would have us do for our family.
Some web sites that have been very helpful to me in my nourishing food journey are: