Friday, June 26, 2009

Salt of the Earth?


The Globe and Mail is running an enlighteninng and sobering series on the amount of salt we ingest in our North American diet. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/special-reports/hard-to-shake/how-canada-is-losing-the-war-on-salt/article1194422/You might think that our salt consumption would be decreasing, thanks to refrigeration for our food. When I began ministry in outport Newfoundland many of the illnesses experienced by parishioners were the result of two preservatives, salt and sugar. Now we use lowered temperatures to keep food from spoiling. Unfortunately our "fast" and convenience food diets are keeping our salt content high and our blood pressure up. Where do we find salt these days? Everywhere! We are addicted to the stuff at levels that are just plain bad for us. About five million Canadians have high blood pressure and little wonder -- we are the highest per capita consumers of salt of any country.

While I have been taking these articles to heart, it's strange that salt has become the enemy. In ancient times if you were "worth your salt" it was not only an indication that you were a good employee, it was an actual currency. To collect your salary was to be paid in salt.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus encouraged folk to believe that they could be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Too much salt may kill us, but we can't live without it, and Jesus wanted us to be spicy Christians rather than bland.

I'm not sure what metaphor we would use to replace this one, but as Christians we are meant to be the seasoning of our culture. In our pluralistic society we might want to add a little curry...

2 comments:

Laura said...

Interesting that I use the term "salt of the earth'often when I think of church folk,as a compliment, but actually think of it to mean..not so spicey(sp?).... but down to earth,dependable, honest folk. Perhaps we mainstream Christians have become somewhat bland...not that bland is all bad but neither is it addictive or something that you crave. Yes...food( sodium free) for thought...

lionlamb said...

Yes, I have used this term in a similar way. Interesting that our more recent usage emphasizes earthiness rather than seasoning. As a minority in society we better not be bland.