Talking About It

When advocating simple living and healthy sustainable lifestyles, it’s easy to come across as unrealistic and naive.  I’m OK with that.  We will never have a better world unless we are first willing to imagine one.

It’s also easy to come across as judgmental and self-righteous.  I’m not OK with that. The world doesn’t need any more self-righteous judgmental know-it-alls.

A critique of the industrial food system is not necessarily an attack on those who participate in it.  Objecting to a system that has created an obesity epidemic need not be perceived as shaming people who are obese.  For those of us who feel called to challenge the industrial food system and the food choices our society makes, avoiding turning people off by the perception that they’re being attacked personally can be tricky.  That’s partly because we live in a culture where folks take offense easily.  But it’s also because the way we make our case comes across sometimes as personally insulting.

I struggle with this.  I passionately believe that it is imperative that our culture change the way it eats.  But I also know that folks get very defensive when you start talking about their food choices.  Once, in a conversation with a pastor, I analogized it to the the ways people get tense and nervous when the subject of money comes up in a sermon.  My pastor friend responded that while that is true, it’s even more true if the subject is food choices. The most controversial and divisive sermons he’s given, he said, was when he preached about eating well as a part of healthy living.  So how can we criticize the food culture (and thereby hopefully improve it) without turning people off (or worse, being jerks)?

I don’t know.

But something I read on D.L. Mayfield’s blog (HERE) has helped me.  In a post about downward mobility she wrote:

For the people who critique downward mobility, the practice:

This is probably not the series for you.

For the people who feel guilty, or shamed in regards to conversations about downward mobility:

I’m sorry. Nothing good ever comes from guilt. But everything beautiful comes from love.

I really appreciate the way she put it.  I guess I’d have to say that for those who critique or object to the lifestyle I advocate, then you probably won’t enjoy this blog. And if anyone feels guilty or shamed by anything I post, then (borrowing her words), I’m sorry.  Nothing good ever comes from guilt.  But everything beautiful comes from love.

Everything beautiful comes from love.