About fifteen years ago, my dad decided to stop eating red meat. He did this because his cholesterol was too high. Now, this did not stop the rest of my family from eating red meat. But, my poor mother was now forced to cook something special for my dad whenever she made something that contained beef or pork.
After a while, this led to my family consuming more and more ground turkey, as my mother became increasingly tired of having to pull double duty in the kitchen. I’m not a fan of ground turkey. It doesn’t brown right, it has a weird spongy texture and more often than not comes out tasting kind of like liver. Honestly, I would rather eat almost anything else.
About four years ago, I found out that I too needed to stop eating pork. I discovered, painfully, that I was now allergic to it. It causes my joints to swell. I had gotten to the point where I was actually having a hard time walking, when I remembered a comment my mother had made. She said one time, that pork made her shoulder hurt. Now, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what the correlation could be between pork and shoulder pain, but there I was, hobbling around and I suddenly saw the connection. It was only a theory at the time, but I needed to try something, anything to be able to walk normally again. So I gave up pork, which is really, really hard for someone who is half Chinese and half Filipino. But, about a month later, the pain was gone.
It’s no wonder to me now, that this dirty, smelly, albeit delicious, animal is considered to be unclean by the Jews. To this day, there are Jews and Muslims all over the world that will not eat pork in accordance with their religious traditions. They believe pork is unclean, and who are we to tell them different?
It’s the same problem that the early Christians had to face. See, the Jews were still Jews, accepting Jesus as the Messiah didn’t take that away from them. For them, eating pork was wrong. And, the Gentiles kinda liked bacon. But, as people from each group came to follow Christ, their different cultures began to clash. Both groups were Christian. But, these two groups had different ideas about what that meant. In his letter to the Roman church, Paul tries to explain to them that what they eat isn’t as important as their faith in God. What’s important is that they honor each other and try to help each other grow in faith, to trust each other and to trust in God.