“Sweet and savory. Fluffy and smoky. We combined the best sweet buns in Hawaii with our Texas-smoked brisket to create a sandwich that makes both states proud. Send your mouth a souvenir from Hawaii and Texas without ever leaving Arby’s.” That’s how Arby’s describes their “King’s Hawaiian BBQ Brisket.” I’ve never had the pleasure of having one. It’s not that I’m against Kings, Hawaiians or BBQ, I haven’t gotten around to it. I’m sure I will soon. But a friend who is in from out of town (Brazil,) mentioned how delicious it was, and so I at least had to look it up. Over dinner we talked about things like food (big surprise,) and how inexpensive it is here in the States, that for very little you can purchase a massive amount. In a world of bulk shopping (Costco,) 3,000 calorie appetizers (Cheesecake Factory,) and eggnog milkshakes (any restaurant that truly loves us,) it’s no surprise that such food is freely available. But what we don’t often consider (enough) is how damaging that convenient food is to our health. Now, I know what you’re thinking, how could I possibly say anything about poor food choices? Myself being, like the Arby’s sandwich, both sweet and fluffy, I admit I’ve not made the best decisions in the kitchen. However I know well enough that those decisions were poor, and that I should have chosen more wisely. In fact, with many of the convenient choices we make, we do so without thinking, without considering the greater impact. We make those decisions because we choose immediate gratification and because it feels good, not because they are nourishing or beneficial to us. It’s a poisonous, lethargic culture of cheap decisions which rob us of challenges that can help us to grow stronger, more mature, and much more healthy.
I believe this culture, this mentality, damages us. It damages our health when it comes to how we approach food. It damages our relationships when we allow the convenience of pornography to creep into our lives, encouraging us to trade genuine, healthy marital intimacy for the sweet and savory, fluffy and smokey fantasy world the internet offers. It damages our churches when we are mesmerized by the theologically empty sermons of feel-good preaching hucksters who would convince you that everyday is a Friday, rather than bringing up tricky topics like sin, or the cross, or dying to oneself. I say this is our culture because decisions like these don’t phase us anymore. We aren’t shocked or disgusted or ashamed about eating a 1,000 calorie sandwich, hurting our spouse, or shredding the Gospel, all of which we do simply so we can feel, just for a fleeting moment, a little better about ourselves. But maybe that’s the key. That this easy-living culture of thoughtless convenience isn’t about us consciously deciding to make poor decisions. Maybe it’s simply idolatry. Maybe it’s that rather than worshipping God, we’ve just been worshipping ourselves. Maybe.