I have been attending church my entire life, and I've heard many a fiery sermon preached about the sins of drinking, smoking, adultery, gossiping, and jealousy. But I have NEVER heard a sermon preached about one sin in particular, that is perhaps the most tolerated in the African-American church, gluttony. Gluttony is the act of overindulging in food and drink. If you walk into just about any African-American church in America you will see a fair amount of people who are either overweight or obese, and I suspect this is the reason why I have never heard a sermon about gluttony. Weight has always been a sensitive subject in our community and such a sermon would no doubt offend many seated in the pews on a Sunday morning, but I have always believed that things that are good for you, may not always sound good to you. First and foremost we all have a responsibility to ourselves and our families to treat our body as a temple, that includes the soul that inhabits it and the building blocks that we use to keep it's foundation strong. While no Pastor or religious leader is responsible for our actions as adult's having free will, our physical well being should be taken into account just as much as our spiritual well being is.
It is no secret that obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and colon cancer run rampant in the black community, due in part to our eating habits. We have been known to overindulge in all the wrong foods at every occasion. The kind of foods we eat are deeply rooted in our heritage. During slavery African-Americans were given the scraps that their owners didn't want to eat and massive amounts were often consumed in order to maintain strength after a hard days work in the cotton fields. These were almost always foods that were unhealthy. Foods like chitterlings, pig feet, fried chicken and ham hocks which were often deep fried in fat and lard, have from then on become staples in our community because they are inexpensive to prepare and readily available. Eating these foods have been a part of our tradition for decades, and our tradition is slowly killing many of us.
I have always been taught that all sins are the same in the eyes of God. So if God looks at us unfavorably for lying, stealing and murder, then gluttony should be no different. Yet, Christians who would never drink, or smoke would think nothing of gorging themselves on soul food buffets, and overeating every chance they get. I am guilty as charged. I am a Christian who struggles from day to day with my eating habits, and It is a constant battle to protect my heart and soul from all sin just like any other Christian. But, the one sin that is the hardest to over come is the one that I put the least effort into resisting, gluttony.