So, I’ve been thinking about the issue of real vs processed food, and how this relates to the religious mindset. It seems to me that the religious outlook takes what is otherwise real, natural, and life-giving, and makes it artificial, unhealthy, and damaging to your health. For example, processed foods are usually high in sugar and high fructose corn syrup. These provide a lot of initial energy, but they are basically empty calories with no essential nutrients. Likewise, the religious mindset often keeps people very busy doing a lot of stuff. It’s generally a high-energy enterprise. I know this well; I kept people busy in religious activities as a Senior Pastor myself. One of the eye-openers for me was realizing that despite all the things our church members were doing, it didn’t seem like people’s lives were being transformed at the root level. I realize now that this was largely because the message lacked the essential spiritual ingredients for which no amount of religious busyness could compensate. Processed foods are addictive because they are high-sugar. It gives you that feel-good lift or jolt. When people are “emotional eating” it’s usually processed foods because it makes you “feel good.” Likewise, there can be something addictive to the feel-good or pick-me-up aspect of organized religion. There can sometimes be a pseudo-security that people derive from associating with a large group of people who believe and do the same things, and maintain a surface-level appearance of religiosity. In other words, everyone is playing the same game and it supplies something that people continue coming back for. There’s a way it makes them “feel good,” even if their inner reality or the reality of their daily lives are in disrepair and chaos. I’m not saying that all churches or religious groups display these characteristics. I’m mostly speaking from personal experience and what countless people have shared with me from their involvement in organized religion.
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry.” In other words, what Jesus was, what Jesus lived, what Jesus revealed, what Jesus demonstrated… is the real stuff, the good stuff. The point Jesus continually made is that all of that is available within you through the life-giving Spirit. The bread of life is within you! What sense does it make to take the “bread of life” and start adding artificial ingredients to it?