I’ve never been very good at memorizing Bible verses. I used to feel bad about it. Even after three years in seminary I sometimes feel like I should be able to quote more of the Bible as proof of…something.
Thinking about consumption, Christmas and Christianity recently reminded me of Ezekiel.
Ez 3:1-3 Then He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and He fed me this scroll. He said to me, “Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your body with this scroll which I am giving you ” Then I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth.
We should consume the word like Ezekiel. This means we should chew on it, savor it, swallow it, digest it (maybe turn the inedible parts into compost) and allow it to nourish us. When we consume something it becomes part of us. Ezekiel eats the scroll and speaks to the people, because the word has become part of him.
When we treat scripture as if it is something to memorize and regurgitate, we become scriptural bulimics. If you don’t swallow it and digest it, it is of no benefit.
bulimia |boŏˈlimēə; ˈlē-|nouninsatiable overeating as a medical condition, in particular• (also bulimia nervosa |nərˈvōsə|) an emotional disorder involving distortion of body image and an obsessive desire to lose weight, in which bouts of extreme overeating are followed by depression and self-induced vomiting, purging, or fasting. Also called binge-purge syndrome .• an eating disorder in which a large quantity of food is consumed in a short period of time, often followed by feelings of guilt or shame.
Does this accurately describe the way we sometimes relate to scripture? I have met so many people who feel this pressure to be spiritual super men or women. They have some church activity every night of the week. They overeat on the church and eventually they will purge somehow, only to binge again later. Why do people go through this in the church? Probably for the same reason as bulimics… guilt and shame perpetuates the cycle.