“For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).
Asceticism eventually imposes itself into every religious expression. It is a doctrine of renuniciation. Christianity and the church is no exception. It is especially prevalent in the southern, evangelical tradition of the bible belt. This brand of Christianity focuses, for example, on social habits from which one should abstain, literature and movies to avoid, and the endorsement of political candidates and ideologies. Churches and messages such as these abound. With the focal point being a list of appropriate/inappropriate behaviors, it’s an easy religion and leaves one arrogantly satisfied, especially when comparing oneself against those who do not follow the list. Tragically, it is a poor substitute for a vibrant relationship with a living Savior, who daily stretches and challenges every area of our lives in a way that no list ever could.