Spiritual Food Spites

Think back to 6th grade. That was the first year I remember a variety of food choices in the cafeteria. There was the salad bar and the hot lunch line and, of course, people like me who brought tuna salad and crackers. Sometime during your 6th grade year, I bet there was a food fight. If not, I bet you can imagine what your 6th grade cafeteria would look like spattered with condiments from tiny packets and littered with unidentifiable green fragments.

from ABCnews.com

You were expecting a MLK homage post today, weren’t you? Keep reading, this is it.

I Corinthians 10:3 says that the exiled Israelites in the desert all ate the same spiritual meat (manna ) and drank the same spiritual drink, and yet, and YET, they were still led astray, fought among themselves, made idols and engaged in sexual depravity. God was pretty upset with them. In essence, they were regurgitating undigested spiritual food AT one another.

I Peter 2: 2-3 says “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it, you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” In order to do that, though, you have to follow I Peter 2:1 “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, envy and slander of every kind.”

There is no way that Scripture can nourish us if we’re filling up on worldly junk, like anger and envy and talking about our neighbors behind their back. Maybe we’re not ready for solid food, yet.

Paul, writing to the Corinthians said, “I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed- you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly?”

The writer of Hebrews said “Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acqainted with the teaching about righteousness.” If I can’t get to the solid food, how am I supposed to digest and grow?

Not only that, but we’re using the pure, Spiritual milk of the Scriptures, to start a food fight. We lob it at one another, not intending to change their mind, but to land a direct hit that hurts. We use Scripture to call one another stupid, to prove our opponent is completely wrongheaded about some cultural issue. We spit out the food we’re supposed to be using to understand Jesus’ love while launching Fruits of the Spirit at our enemy.

The clergy of Birmingham, Alabama used Scripture and “godly” principles to attempt to stave off the Civil Rights movement. African-Americans didn’t need real equality, because the Scriptures said so! Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t need to march, because that would be too radical, and that was un-Biblical! Blacks didn’t have to demonstrate for their rights, because God’s law would prevail. King responded with Letter from Birmingham Jail, which you can read, here.

My interpretations of Scripture sometimes arise from my preconceived beliefs about rights and character and politics. I “read” Scripture to justify my means or ends. I don’t think I’m the only one. I’ve thrown out a verse like a tomato, hoping for maximum splatter. I don’t think I’m alone. I’ve pelted sinners with Scriptures that condemn their practice. I didn’t perform these Graceless acts solo.

MLK said, “The means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.” We can’t use a food fight to nourish the soul of those we hope to feed. I can’t be fed with milk slung from across the room. My friend won’t get a taste for Jesus from mashed Scriptures in her face.

Have you ever been in a food fight (spirtiual or otherwise) ? What was the outcome?


7 responses to “Spiritual Food Spites

  1. i don’t remember any physical food fights. but I’m sure there were.

    in bible college, there were lots of spiritual food-fights/late night discussions more debate than discussion. for the most part everyone remained friendly afterwards, but never a compromise/finding middle ground on the issue. recently, I found myself being dragged into one of these vain discussions. I retreated whereas before I would have stuck it out to the end.

    I’ve begun to recognize that I throw the rotten tomatoes the hardest at the ones closest to me. And give a lot more grace to others, outside my closest circle of influence. Recognizing this is the first step to stopping this.

    i have seen spiritual food fights growing up, which ended in congregations splitting and dividing. the short term was disastrous (at least from my perception), but I have seen in the long term reconciliation.

    MLK is one of my spiritual heroes. thanks for the reminder of his statement “The means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.” It is so true. And a necessary reminder. I’m so glad MLK has a day dedicated to his memory.

    • I’m glad we can reconcile with our brothers and sisters in Christ — for me, though, it comes down to knowing Christians by their love – and I wonder what effect those fights have on outsiders looking in…

  2. I did it often. Debating scripture was one of my favorite things to do. And boy, I saw it get UGLY. I usually pulled out when it got too bloody but I’ve definitely planted seeds to stir the pot.

    I wrote a post awhile back about debating (http://goo.gl/EkMgy) and one thing I walked away with is that no amount of logic will cause a non-believer to comprehend the excellencies of Christ.

    Here’s a radical concept. Let’s love people! And I don’t mean with an agenda to win them to Christ, let’s do it “just because”. You know, because that’s supposed to be our trademark. 🙂 Maybe one day we (I) will…


  3. Pingback: Pure ends, despicable means – Not MLK | The Justice Journey

  4. Pingback: Pure ends, despicable means – Not MLK « The Justice Journey

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