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Fast food faith

One of the fast food chains is advertising a "Drive-Thru Diet." It’s has all of the elements of successful marketing in our culture: a real person (Christine), who lost weight (54 pounds), and the perfect plan --- she replaced her usual fast food with the 7 items that constitute the Drive-Thru Diet. Sounds good enough to make you want to hop in your car and drive to one of their stores, doesn’t it? Of course, while she’s telling us this and flashing her new figure, the disclaimers are rolling across the bottom of the screen. They tell us that what’s on the Drive-Thru Diet menu is not low calorie food, that Christine had an "exceptional experience," and that the Drive-Thru Diet is not a weight loss program. In other words, don’t believe anything Christine is saying or that the Drive-Thru Diet is really a diet.

A generation ago, the franchise would have immediately pulled the commercial out of embarrassment when they saw such inconsistencies. They don’t today because there is no such thing as corporate shame when it comes to truthfulness because they know we will believe anything.  (A sizeable number of corporations have always played fast and loose with the truth --- think of the tobacco and liquor industries.  The difference is that now our increasing dullness enables them to be brazen, parading obvious truths and lies before us knowing that many will ignore the truth and accept the lies).

We’ll believe it because we want to believe it. We’ll believe it because we want to think we can take off substantial weight by simply ordering a different kind of fast food. We want to believe this because we want to believe that we can make great progress with a miniscule amount of effort.

What bothers me most is our Drive-Thru Diet in the body of Christ. We want to sprinkle a verse of two on top of hours of tv, music, and movies and expect to be spiritually deep. We want to read a chapter or two of the latest devotional book letting someone else do all of the research, study, and thinking for us and we still expect to end up with a strong personal faith. Some of us haven’t engaged in serious Bible study in years and yet consider ourselves mature and informed in our faith.

I know this sounds like I’m making knowing the Bible the end all of our faith and it’s certainly not --- it’s a means to an end. What I’m really trying to do is to get us to think about the process we’re employing in pursuing the likeness of Christ. I want us to see that in the disciple’s world, there are no shortcuts or drive-thru diets. In the words of Eugene Peterson what matters is a long obedience in the same direction. Until we embrace such a perspective, we will be at the mercy of every trend that comes along and possessors of a faith that is a mile long and an inch deep."Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever," (1 Corinthians 9:24).