The challenge is simple. Eat Porridge for a Month. (¾ of all the food you eat each day must be a some sort of porridge.)
This was Matt Delaney’s idea. He got it from World Visions Broken Bread Bowl. (http://www.worldvision.org/aoa.nsf/aids/events_brokenbread_lent).The reality is that most people in the world live mostly off of porridge. Porridge is things like: oatmeal, rice meal, couscous, etc. It is cheap and sustainable. The goals of the challenge are these two:
1) help us remember the poor who live on porridge
2) learn to live more simply.
Goal number 1.
This is a prayer exercise. Go to international stores and pick up porridge from different parts of the world. Not only does it break up the monotony of food, but it gives you a physical reminder of prayer for those people. As you eat porridge from one part of the world, be in prayer for them.
Goal number 2.
When a pastor from Liberia visited me, he ate mostly rice because that is what he is used to eating. I’ve often talked about eating mostly rice and I get responses like, “That would be so bland.” But then the person’s response is to go buy fast food. It has nothing to do with bland food. It has everything to do with convenience, undisciplined eating, and the food of kings that we have become accustomed to eating. When Pastor Emmanuel came to visit me, i wanted to honor him so I got the best food I could. I cooked my best and he cooked some meals too. But what he was most hungry for was not the expensive protein rich diet that I thought, he just wanted some rice. One day I had prepared some hamburgers and other food that I thought was so great and I had a small amount of rice. Pastor Immanuel asked if we could make more rice. I let him pour it into the bowl and he made a huge bowl of rice. His plate was 100% covered in rice and probably 3 inches deep at the middle. With a huge smile on his face he ate this plane rice. He was so happy and I was sitting next to him eating this fancy food that I had also prepared for him and I realized two things: One, if I could learn to love rice, I could put a lot of money in my pocket. My plate was covered in probably $7 worth of food, his was less than twenty five cents. The second thing is that if I could learn to eat like that, my life would be simpler. I wanted both of those things, so I chose this challenge as a way to interact with my thoughts and habits about the way I eat.
Proverbs 23 says: “When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony. Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive.”
I will give you one thing that I learned in this challenge. I learned that my tastebuds always want to vote on every piece of food that comes in my mouth. Every meal that I eat I sit and think, "I like this" or "this isn't my favorite, but it is good for me." This challenge taught me to single out that voice and teach it to be silent. I am not served by this voice. It is a voice of sensuality and debachery. Even when that voice is saying things like, "this food is good for you, eat it even though you don't like it" I refuse to let a voice in my head waste my thoughts on the pleasure (or displeasure) of my flesh. I will not play into this current trend of dieting, indulging, and selfishness that uses the conversation with the mouth to justify health or pleasure. This is not befitting of a man or woman of godliness. This challenge like many others is like giving a drum set to your two year old. Your only options are to train and discipline it or the noise will drive you crazy.