The Final Solution for a Broken Food System
One single solution that lasts beyond this life. 🌅
We've spent several weeks examining how large-scale animal farming, monocrop food production, farm worker inequity, supply chain inadequacies, food politics, hunger, population growth, consumer behaviors and influences from retail and foodservice impact the food system.
We touched on a range of solutions being proposed and developed to address this diverse set of problems, from alternative proteins and new technologies to community initiatives and policy reform.
This week, we're returning to the premise of part 1—the Biblical command to love God and love our neighbors—to discover the one true and unifying solution that can create a more sustainable, equitable food system (and change the world in the process).
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One Solution to Our Broken Food System: The Gospel
In part one, we noted that:
...every part of our current [food] system needs to change in some way to become economically, environmentally, socially and morally "sustainable."
It's clear from the scope of the problem that, humanly speaking, there is no easy fix. Mismanagement, corruption, exploitation and selfishness affect every part of the food system—because they affect every part of the human experience. Trying to address these problems individually is akin to treating cancer symptoms without removing the underlying tumor.
Except that the insidious tumor at the root of our broken food system isn't physical.
Abiding in the Vine
Since Adam and Eve first disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, humanity has lived with the curse of sin (Genesis 3). Sin separates us from fellowship with God and leads away from Him down a slippery slope that descends into the depravity of our own lusts (Romans 1:18-32).
On our own, we're incapable of the kind of deep heart commitment that leads to the obedience God desires—and requires.
But we're not without hope.
As we saw in part one, both Jesus and the apostle Paul affirmed that loving God with all our heart, soul and mind and loving our neighbor as ourselves was what truly fulfills **the Old Testament Law. But the Law had significance far beyond creating order and fairness in society. It existed to point people to something—Someone—greater.
The Law existed to point people to Jesus.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was the only One in history Who followed and fulfilled all of God's Law. The only One Who ever loved God with all He had and loved others as Himself. We might not be able to love God and neighbor as we should on our own, but with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26b).
Jesus Himself explained how:
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15:4-5, KJV)
Abiding in Jesus brings forth in our lives the kind of "fruit" that can transform the food system, but we have to start with the root.
What "vine" are we abiding in?
If we draw from the sin that infects us, we bear fruit of greed and corruption. But, if we draw from the vine of truth and love and light—if we draw from *Jesus—*our behavior and actions reflect the same.
It all starts by recognizing that we are, in fact, inherently sinful (Romans 3:23) and that we can't do anything on our own to eradicate that sin.
But God doesn't want us to stay that way. He desires a heart change in us, an all-encompassing love for Him, because He loves us. He wants our relationship with Him to be unhindered by sin as it was at the beginning in Eden.
That's why He sent Jesus, His sinless Son, to fulfill the Law that we can never fulfill ourselves, die on the cross as a once-for-all sacrifice for mankind's sins and rise again to conquer the wages of sin, which is death (Romans 6:9-10,23). In so doing, He became the Savior of the world, the One name under heaven we all can turn to for forgiveness of and deliverance from our sins (Acts 4:12).
Because He loves us (Ephesians 2:4-5).
When we accept that love, that truth, that sacrifice—that Jesus took the punishment for sin that we deserve (2 Corinthians 5:21)—we receive full forgiveness and the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. Then we can love God as we should (1 John 4:19) and obey His command to love others.
Then things begin to change.
The Fruit of the Gospel
When we truly love God with all we are, we develop a desire to treat His creation as He would have us to do—instead of abusing animals and exploiting land to fulfill our lust for cheap food. We learn to love the bodies He's given us and seek to live healthier, more temperate lives. And we begin to humbly love ourselves in a way that enables us to love the neighbors who are created in God's image just as we are.
When we love our neighbors as ourselves, we don't use unfair labor practices that deny workers the wages and housing they need to live healthy, productive lives. We don't form or comply with policies, laws or guidelines that corrupt our society and undermine others' well-being. We get involved in initiatives that ensure everyone has access to nutritious food—and we do it all without any sense of self-serving.
These changes will take time. The food system didn't get to where it is overnight, and we're imperfect human beings. As we submit to God and draw from the true vine that is Jesus Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit works in us to heal the actions and attitudes that sin has broken and change us into people who reflect the love and compassion of Jesus Himself (2 Corinthians 3:8, 5:17).
That's how we create change.
And these are the only changes that truly matter because, as missionary C. T. Studd wrote:
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
The food system—and the world—needs the Gospel.
It's the only thing that can change us—and that has lasting implications for eternity.
Thank you for your support of Consuming Ourselves! The newsletter will be going on hiatus until at least February 2022 while I work on other projects. In the meantime, feel free to connect with me elsewhere:
God bless! 🙏🏻