Why Food Ethics?
Tonight was the second week of our series on food ethics at FPC. Those who were gathered made up quite a good group: large enough to spark some interesting conversation and plenty of diverse opinions.
At some point, a lightbulb went on over my head and I thought: this topic is a landmine. It’s not the kind of issue that is so controversial that it comes with it’s own red warning light that flashes “DANGER” to pastors who would approach. But it is still very much an issue that can stir up controversy; it just does it subtly.
So, why bother with it? Why have the difficult conversation about food ethics? And what would I say to those in any congregation, anywhere in the country that might prefer NOT to be more aware of how their food choices affect people and animals and ecosystems and economies around the world?
As you might imagine, I’ve given this issue a fair bit of thought. For me, it comes down to one answer: because we are the people of God.
The God we serve has commanded his people throughout every age to tend to those in need: the widow, the orphan, the least of these. As the people of God, we do not have the option of ignoring the consequences of our actions, even actions that would be easy to take for granted (like our food choices).
When it comes to eating ethically, there is no easy answer.
No one way of eating (organic, vegetarian, etc.) will eliminate every ethical dilemma.(For more on this topic, watch to Michael Pollan’s brilliant lecture at Princeton University’s conference on Food, Ethics and the Environment available on iTunes.)
But because we are given the responsibility of stewardship of creation – and of care for one another – we are commanded to take our choices seriously: to eat with our eyes open and to be willing to bear the weight of the consequences of our actions.