Alan has invited a dialogue on gluttony. A few quick reactions:
1. Hypocrisy Watch
In one respect, this is a corrective to a certain type of hypocrisy in certain quarters of evangelicalism. Consider the corpulent Bible-thumper who rails against Demon Rum while extolling the supererogatory virtues of teetotalism. Drinking in moderation is a sin, but eating in excess is next to godliness!
i) In an obvious sense, this is a question of stewardship. We can broadly argue that since our bodies are a God-given gift, we should treat that gift with great respect. Not abuse our bodies.
ii) On the other hand, we ought be stewards of time as well as stewards of the body. While it’s good to be fit and trim, the more time devoted to diet and exercise, the less time for other things which may be equally or more important.
So we need to balance different duties and desires. On the one hand it’s possible to eat yourself into invalidism. On the other hand it’s possible to be overweight to some degree, but function well.
iii) Ironically, people tend to be trimmer and exercise more at a time in life when they need it least. When you’re young you’re naturally healthier. More energetic. Your body is more resilient. More forgiving.
Conversely, people tend to put on the pounds and exercise less at a time in life when their body is less able to carry the extra load. It places greater strain on a body that’s already weakened by the aging process. In that respect, physical fitness is more important as you pass your prime.
No matter how well you care for your body, it’s going to age, sicken, and die. With that in view we may choose to do some things that risk or shorten life to some degree. Get more out of less time or less out of more time. That’s the tradeoff.