“Of all the disasters that can befall mankind hunger is the worst.”
 – Friar Tuck, Robin Hood TV Series from late 1950s

I posted the above quote, hoping to stimulate some conversation. I guess context would have been helpful.

Let’s back up a bit. My family and I are total NERDs. We are backwards and sheltered and all of that good stuff that keeps us enjoying one another’s company, hugging a lot even though the kids are 15 and 17, and generally one another’s best friends and worst enemies. We enjoy spending evenings and weekends together and when one of us has an outing or other social event that takes us away from home, there is a distinct “something is missing” sort of feeling. Of course, as the kids have gotten older, we encourage that more and more so they won’t totally be social outcasts. 🙂

Some of the things we enjoy doing in the evenings we spend together include silly games (“Attack of Killer Bunnies,” which is a very complicated card game!) and watching movies (Journey to the Center of the Earth in 3-D is what we were doing when the picture to the right was taken!) old old TV shows now available on DVD…like I Love Lucy, Hogan’s Heroes or Get Smart, or, most recently, The Adventures of Robin Hood, which is a “vintage” TV series, filmed in the 1950s in the UK for US television. Truly, the first two seasons were acting and script-writing at its finest!

In Robin Hood, Friar Tuck is a rather rotund character who bows for food and ale nearly as much as he does for the virtues encouraged by God in Holy Writ. Often, levity is provided for the viewer by the good Father struggling between joining comrades or “lads” in the next task and tale, or being waylaid due to the tantalizing teasing of various culinary delights provided at ale house, castle, or chef in Sherwood Forest.

It is during one such scene that the above quote was extracted. Friar Tuck, who is definitely not lacking a steady supply of food to sustain his ample girth, quips, “Of all the disasters that can befall mankind hunger is the worst” as he dives in to a feast provided by Robin’s men.

I couldn’t help but wonder if the good Friar ever had experienced hunger (save when he was on a holy fast, which does happen in the series on occasion). This was not in the context of lack of provision…children in Ethiopia with distended bellies, or tragic circumstances in Haiti. This was spoken by a clearly well-fed individual, who simply likes to avoid ever feeling hungry.

I wonder how many of us in the US can relate to this sentiment. In this “land of plenty,” most of us aren’t going to bed at night without plenty of food to sustain a healthy life. (Of course, this isn’t always true, but for the majority it is.)

Yet many people don’t ever want to experience the legitimate sensation of being hungry. If we do agree with Friar Tuck and avoid hunger at all costs, it is difficult to ever really know what we need to eat, when, and how much. In fact, much modern dietary advice has focused on telling us we shouldn’t ever allow ourselves to feel hungry and this and that are what we should eat and they even tell us when, as without their advice, we wouldn’t know when to eat.

If one has this particular view…that the worst disaster to befall mankind is to experience an empty stomach, I believe we strive against God and the way he made us. We also fail to learn His sufficiency and provision for us.

Contrast this to the following quote, from Dr. Rita Hancock at her blog:

Many of us are downright petrified of hunger, as though it might actually kill us to feel a teensy bit hungry for a while. But, to look at hunger as a song as a song of praise that God programmed into us is exactly what we need to reframe our thinking about hunger.

We need to retrain our thinking if we are going not just to release extra weight or to become healthier physically, but also spiritually and to stay that way. If we wait on the Lord to teach us to think differently about Him, about ourselves, about hunger, if we choose to reject the “Friar Tuck Mentality”–that hunger is an enemy, a disaster–and, instead, choose to think of it as a song of praise to God, then we are heading strongly along the right road.

Thank you, Lord for this truth and that you are in the business transforming us by the renewing of our minds and our thinking!