Over the last few years we (the Lithgow family) have been investing in organic food, mostly because we believe that it’s both more nutritious (so we’ve dropped the vitamin supplements) and potentially less dangerous. Leaving aside the scientific issues (which I could go on and on about), getting into organic food has been an interesting journey.
Because it’s grown without artificial pesticides or fertilizers, organic fruit and vegetables are not as consistent as mass-produced food. Blemishes are often visible on the surface of fruit, and caterpillars are regular occupants of vegetables (don’t worry, the crisper puts them into suspended animation so they won’t keep eating your veggies).
Prices are also a problem, because organic produce simply takes more effort to grow (although it’s not helped by people looking to exploit the “rich” buyers). So it’s a constant battle to find stuff at reasonable prices.
The good news is that getting produce direct from farmers is often the best bet, and we’re even growing some ourselves. The benefit of all this research and effort is food that is long-lasting, healthy, and flavoursome. Factory food no longer holds the appeal it once did.
Isn’t the same true for churches? We can find a place that pumps out polished, slick, predictable product that requires little investment from us, or on the other hand we can find an “organic” church with all its blemishes, freshness, and required investment. In the short term, the lower investment and polished product might be appealing and even satisfying. But just as science is still wrestling with the long-term health effects of our industrialised lifestyle, what might be the long-term effects of low-input, mass-produced spiritual life?
While science is grappling with whether agricultural shortcuts really work in the long term, we know that in spiritual matters there is no substitute for the old-fashioned approach of genuine repentance at the foot of Christ’s cross and persistent obedience to Him who makes all things new.
So, just as many in the nutrition world are recommending a return to traditional diets, the same applies in the spiritual world. A diet of prayer, study, service and fellowship, certainly asks more of us. But doesn’t it help us persevere in the faith? Doesn’t it make us healthier human beings? And isn’t it, really, much more rewarding?