Canning sin

Have you ever canned food? Are you a Christian? Have you ever considered whether canning food might actually be sinful?

A Christian friend pointed out an article that asks this very question:

Is it biblical to practice food storage? Would it be a sin to do so? How could a believer even go about prepping without falling into sin? And prepare for what… natural disasters? An enemy? Economic instability? War? Terrorism? With such huge ethical questions to answer, it’s no wonder that most Christians don’t prepare in the least.

Article: Should a Christian practice food storage?

The fact the question even needs to be asked shows the penultimate issue with most religion: you must check every action in your life against the holy book that runs your life. Now the noted article ultimately concludes that there is no sin in preparing and using food storage as part of that preparation, but not without making some interesting, if not incorrect observations:

There’s a lot out in the blogging community about “getting prepared” (a.k.a. “prepping” or “food storage”) and the people who adhere to this premise typically fall into one of several categories: they either grew up in a culture where this was common (farmers, for example), or they’re hard core survivalists believing that everyone else is the enemy, or they’re doomsdayers who are fearful of the future and sure the world is coming to an end.  Just like a lot of things in this fallen world, there are some truths and good points each group espouses, but none of these philosophies would be consistent with a Christian world view.

Let’s talk economics for a second before going into the religious undertones. First saving money or saving food: it’s what you do to prepare for the future. For what you are preparing is immaterial. You could be saving food using food storage technologies because money is low and you want to stretch every dollar in your grocery budget. You save money in the bank (or in your mattress, to be old fashioned) instead of spending it to stretch out your budget as far as possible.

We all ultimately fend for ourselves, so preparation for the unknown is definitely necessary. It comes to budgeting and insuring yourself against the future. And if that is a sin, if preparing for the future is a sin, then many, many people are living a sinful life without knowing it.

So why would canning food and practicing food storage be sinful? My mother in law is a devout Catholic, and somehow I cannot see her kneeling in confession to say "Father, forgive me, for I have sinned. I have been canning food!"

The bigger question that needs to be answered is this: why is that question even being asked?

Now I know that some may say that the author of the article was only helping people become better Christians by pointing out that not only is canning food not sinful, but you’re a better Christian if you actually practice canning or food storage. And if you want to think that you’re somehow a better Christian because you’ve got a line of quart and pint Mason jars in your cabinet or fridge, be my guest.

But at the same time, why question whether canning food is a sin?

If Christians are truly questioning every little action to determine if it might fit the definition or description of a sin, I can definitely understand why many formerly-Christian atheists say the first thing they feel after they’ve made the sometimes horrifying transition is a great sense of liberation.

Now yes, I know that arguably a good proportion of Christians don’t question whether every little thing they do might earn them points redeemable for a tortuous eternity. But I doubt that the author of the above-noted article is the only Christian to question whether canning food is a sin, and it wouldn’t surprise me if every action that people take, from driving their cars to wearing a certain style of clothing, has been questioned for sin by some Christians at some point in time.

And therein lies the problem.

Many Christians go through their lives without really questioning their actions, not really all that concerned over whether they are leading a sinful or virtuous life, or a combination therein. Instead of questioning if your actions might be a sin, the only question you should be asking is whether your actions may cause foreseeable harm to others. Canning won’t cause harm to others, and if you’re questioning whether your religious beliefs will permit you to can food, perhaps your religion might be the problem.

So can food and exercise food storage all you want. And I’ll meet you at the farmer’s markets and county fairs to try your latest recipes.