Sunday's lectionary snippet (NRSV translation):
Phillipians 3:19 Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21 He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself.
My adult Sunday school class does a bible study using the African bible study that was developed at the last Lambeth Conference. Basically, its a lectio divina kind of thing where the same passage is read in 3 different translations. I was struck by one of the translations that I think was the New English Translation. Granted, that version is more of a paraphrase, but I loved the way it translated verse 19 as "their appetite is their god." This passage reminded me of the story The Picture of Dorian Gray, probably my favorite short novel.
The main character in that story, Dorian Gray, has a picture of himself painted. He is young and beautiful in the painting. The basic premise of the novel is that, over the course of many years, Dorian Gray stays young and beautiful on the outside, but the picture changes and reflects his inward soul. Dorian lives about as immorally as possible and at the end of the novel after he dies a violent death, his friend finds the painting in the attic. The image of Dorian Gray has become this grotesque reflection of Dorian Gray.
This passage from Paul saying that "their appetite is their god" reminded me of that story. Do we take some of the characteristics of the God we serve? Certainly, those whose appetite is their god do, they become obese. Those who worship their computers get near sighted. Those who worship Christ get transformed into the body of Christ. I guess you are what you eat, or perhaps you reflect what you worship (at least is some small part).