After six years of being vegan, I started incorporating animal products back into my diet this year. I wrote about this transition here.
Fundamentilsm affected many aspects of my daily life, even my eating habits. Our doctrine taught to not eat unclean animals (pork, shellfish, etc). This came from a passage of Exodus 11: 1-45
“The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Say to the Israelites: ‘Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat: You may eat any animal that has a divided hoof and that chews the cud……”
In the new testament, there is another scripture in Acts disputing this (Acts 10:9-16)
“The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
Yet, my church would have disputed that this passage wasn’t about clean or unclean animals.
Refraining from certain kinds of food was the norm in my community. In some ways, it felt like we did this because we feared god but also had a superiority complex. Most thought that we were better than other Christians for following the Old Testament (to a small degree). This attitude never sat right with me, but I hate to admit that I participated in it. I couldn’t tell you how many conversations I sat in on which we were patting ourselves on the back for our convictions.
I’ve watched relationships be shattered over accidentally bringing a dish to the potluck that had gelatin (I couldn’t even make this shit up if I tried). My family has gone out to eat with church members and had our leader be rude af to a waitress over accidentally serving him bacon. As a teen, I participated in arguments with peers over this topic which is incredibly embarrassing to look back on.
If you are reading this as a believer, you might be thinking I am cold-hearted because I just was involved in an extremist community. Or that I missed the message of the gospel. Both of which are a little true. At the same time, I am not interested in a different flavor of the Christian church. Spirituality is great, and I still pray to the universe, maybe I do it out of habit or just for comfort. But I don’t feel the same mental anguish that I used to experience 24/7.
I have removed myself from formal religion. It feels like I constantly have to make life choices on my own terms and not on the basis of the word.
I recently tried shrimp. The person I was a few years ago would have seen this as a huge deal. Honestly, it kind of was, not because of the disobedience but because of the personal/spiritual growth associated with it. I wasn’t a fan of the taste and felt a little guilty about it. Did I think I was committing a sin? Absolutely not. Will I be trying more unclean foods? I think so. Change can be hard but is necessary.