Christian 1: So I hear you have a problem with lollipops?
Christian 2: Lollipops? No, I think they’re just fine.
Christian 1: But you apparently won’t eat them for family meals.
Christian 2: That’s true. I prefer my family eats some kind of meat, vegetables or healthier food for their meals.
Christian 1: So you prefer the “high” food. That’s okay, as long as you can respect other people’s food preferences.
Christian 2: Preferences? Look, I’m not sure we’re talking about the same thing here. I’m talking about feeding my family. Lollipops are tasty, and fun, but they are not food. They’re amusement for your tastebuds. I enjoy them as much as the next guy, but they’re not real nutrition. It’s really not about high food versus low food, as much as it is about actual food versus dietary entertainment.
Christian 1: So you have a problem with people having lollipops for dinner.
Christian 2: Well, I’m not responsible for other people’s families. I certainly have a problem with doing so for my own family. And I pity and worry about those families that do so, especially if they eat almost nothing else.
Christian 1: You know, I think you really need to spend some time in Romans 14. See, you are what the Bible calls “the weaker brother”. You need extreme convictions to feel “safe” in your conscience. I don’t want to rock your world, but I just want you to consider that there are some very godly and mature believers who have lollipops for dinner.
Christian 2: I’m well aware of that. Do you know why they do so?
Christian 1: Because they have come to see that food is neutral, and that any kind can glorify God. Those believers have a preference for sweet things, just as you have a preference for salty things.
Christian 2: Uh, no. I don’t have a preference for salty things. Given a choice of tastes of what I find more immediately tasty, easier to recognise and more powerfully evocative, I’d take sugary drinks and eats every time. But there is a reason sweets and lollipops are the food at children’s birthday parties, and there is a reason why armies feed their soldiers protein.
Christian 1: I think it’s elitist and snobbish to call lollipops childish just because you don’t like them. It’s spiritual pride to insist that your food preference must be practised by others.
Christian 2: I don’t think you’re listening. I actually do like lollipops, in their place. But I know what they are there for. They are a simple pleasure, a distraction for your tongue. But to turn a distraction into sustenance and nutrition for your family is not about culinary preferences. It’s a serious error in judgement: a complete misunderstanding of what food is, what nutrition is, and what the human body needs to be healthy.
Christian 1: If it is such an error, why are so many families doing it?
Christian 2: I don’t know. Possibly parents are becoming more permissive and child-centred, not wanting to displease their children, and giving them what they want to keep them happy. Perhaps parents have been cut off from a living tradition of good meals and are now turning to whatever they see advertised. Maybe those parents who try to give good meals are overwhelmed by the sweets-envy their children have of other families, and they capitulate to keep the peace. Perhaps parents are becoming more ignorant about the nutritional value of food, and more obsessed with being popular parents.
Christian 1: Well, I just don’t think this is something worth dividing over.
Christian 2: Maybe. But when your children get sick, they play with my children. My children can’t give your children their health. But your sick children can give my children their sickness. What you call a preference affects others.
Christian 1: So maybe your family should just keep to yourselves, and keep away from our ‘sickening influence’.
Christian 2: No, that wouldn’t be loving. When you and your family land up in hospital, someone needs to visit you, care for you, and teach you the importance of good meals when you come out. Someone needs to conserve health, because a lot of sickness is coming.
Christian 1: Well, we’re doing just fine right now. I think your whole “food-conservatism” thing is a bit quirky, and probably quite limiting for you.
Christian 2: I hope you are blessed with good health. God’s laws of sowing and reaping mean that bad choices add up to a bad harvest, so if I am correct about the dangers of lollipops-as-meals, I don’t think the result of your choices will be a good one. If that day comes, I have some great recipe books I’d love to share with you.
Christian 1: Recipe books! Ha! I haven’t seen one of those for years! But that’s a nice thought.
Christian 2: I hope that’s all it turns out to be.