Fairly Spiritual: In King County, calories count

In theory, I support King County’s new regulation requiring caloric counts to be clearly displayed on restaurant menus.

In practice, I try to eat in Pierce County. You know you have a weight problem when you use a county map to choose your burger joints. “Honey, let’s go to the Pierce County Fatburger … Oh, no real reason, it just has a better view.”

Hey, I’m all for reporting the truth. I’m just not keen on being forced to confront the truth. I’m a firm believer in the placebo effect. In most medical studies, there are usually a couple people who get better taking the sugar pill. What they don’t know actually helps them.

This must be true with bad things as well. If I don’t know how many calories exist in my Monster Burger, maybe some of those calories will leave me alone. Maybe ignorance will free me from the wages of my Whopper.

Unfortunately, King County is not allowing me to reap the benefits of ignorance. Instead, I must name and claim the full extent of my caloric consumption.

Now, instead of deciding whether I want cheese with that, I hear, “Would you like an hour on the treadmill with that?” or “Would you like an adjustable waistband with that?” or “Would you like shame with that?” or “Why in the world are you ordering that?” or … well you get the point.

I’d love to report that caloric accountability has changed my eating habits. However, these new regulations were implemented while I was in the middle of a well grooved nutritional backslide. Consequently, I haven’t changed my consumption, but my regret is better informed.

In the not-so-distant past, our poor choices were, for the most part, abstractly proven. In the modern era, our inadequacies can be proven inch by inch, pound by pound, calorie by calorie. You can say what you want, but there’s a guy in a lab coat waiting to prick your finger and tell you otherwise.

No avoiding the truth

The problem with our information age is it actually provides answers. This has made it difficult for the escapist to escape. Especially if your escapist activities include ordering appetizers at the Outback Steakhouse anywhere within King County.

Don’t get me wrong, in the final analysis I’m a big proponent of knowing the truth. However, I’m not a big fan of truth in isolation.

Cold, hard, impersonal truth is difficult to embrace. Particularly when it’s the kind of truth that points out your obvious failings.

How many hearts have been broken by a harsh or callous “I’m only telling you the truth.”

Unlike the world or even your menu, God brings the truth in love. For a Christian, truth is not a list of words, scriptures or edicts.

Rather, truth comes in the form of Jesus. Jesus said it rather clearly, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” Even a quick perusal of the Bible shows us Jesus was indeed truth in love.

This helps me when I confront some of my life’s more embarrassing truths. The truth is I need to start eating better. The fact is I’ve recently made a lot of eating choices that have led to needless weight gain and other unhealthy consequences. I didn’t do a horrible job, but I certainly did not work for my best. So I’m confronted with this truth … I need to start over.

As I engage the truth of my failings, I also begin to engage the truth of God’s strength. He is not surprised by my failings. God is reality and He has always seen my reality. He is not skewed by wavering resolve or self-deceptions. God is truth. He sees truth and brings truth to those who seek him.

What allows me to confront the truth of my life is the sincere conviction that even though God knows my truth, He still loves me. He loves me enough to show me a better way. It is God’s kindness that leads me to repentance. It is God’s love that gives me hope in the middle of my failings.

In other words, I can count on God’s consistent love even when my calorie count waivers.

Doug Bursch hosts “The Fairly Spiritual Show” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on KGNW 820 AM. He also pastors Evergreen Foursquare Church. Evergreen meets Sundays at 10 a.m. at the Riverside High School Theater. He can be reached at www.fairlyspiritual.org or doug@fairlyspiritual.org.