The other day I was thinking about the difference between “eating out”, “fast food”, and “take home food”. I realize that, for many folks, there is no difference between these three terms. However, the more I thought about it, I began to see a difference, not in general terms but, more importantly, in emphasis.
The concept of eating out has been identified with eating away from home, where less work is involved since one does not prepare the meal, with payment involved, providing a change of pace from the norm, expecting a commercial transaction of some kind ( food for payment), and most often involving a big meal with some provision for small snacks taken outside the home from time to time.
In contrast to eating out, fast food is taken to be a quick, convenient meal making way for more time spent with other parts of life. It would seem absurd, for example, for a family to go to a fast food place and then take two hours to eat the meal there. People associate fast food with eating out because fast food places are outside the home, but the two are not completely compatible. In other words, most fast food places involve eating out, but not all eating out involves going to a fast food place, since one can eat out at a restaurant and take three hours to eat one’s meal there.
The concept of take home food, however, is quite different than the two above. While it does overlap, as all three of these concepts do, it is not really the same thing. In a sense, most of the food we eat is take home because we buy it outside and take it home to eat. More generally, however, take home food is considered practically synonymous with take out food, which is food prepared outside the home but taken off the premises to be eaten in the home or at least somewhere else, as in an office etc.
The central theme of eating out is seeking an occasional or at least planned convenience outside the home for a price. The key focus of fast food is, of course, quick convenience to make way for other, seemingly more important, life events. The emphasis of take home food, however, is obtaining food outside the home which one then brings back to one’s place of living of working to consume and, possibly, share.
While you may be wondering what any of this has to do with Catholicism, I ask you to consider if, in fact, you are practicing your faith out of mere convenience, rote habit, occasional entertainment, or simply to fulfill some duty. Do you look at your faith as something you obtain for one hour out of 168 hours in the week ( if that) where you pray, sing, read deep spirituality, eat a cookie, and then go home? Do you seek a pre-packaged faith prepared by someone else which you can quickly consume in church and then go about your business once you escape from church premises? Are you looking for an easy faith, prepared by someone else, which does not require any work on your part? Is your focus more on gulping down the practices and particulars of worship like some hamburger rather than actually saving your soul while helping others save theirs?
I suggest that you consider developing a deeper, more fulfilling, form of Catholicism. Perhaps you may look into beginning to practice a “Take Home Catholicism” in which you partake of what church has to offer seriously and with focus consistent with its importance and then, just as importantly, you then go out and take what you have been shown inside the church outside in your life, your work, your interactions with others, and in your home.
What good does praying and singing devoutly in church do if followed by arrogance, disregard, negligence, mockery, disrespect, and mistreatment of others once you are outside? What good does it do to shake everyone’s hand inside the church if you follow that up with banding together with your sacred clique and alienate others later?
Jesus did not like those who publicly practiced devout faith but did not follow those rituals up with practical, real applications of that faith in the rest of their lives. He did not like hypocrites, and those who sing hymns, pray prayers, and then later patronize, mock, and alienate others through their arrogant self-entitlement and feelings of superiority are surely hypocrites. Make it a practice to practice what you preach, and to speak only if such speech will bring others to Christ, as opposed to bringing yourself up in other people’s eyes or popularity.
Take your Catholicism home, or you will starve your faith and your salvation in the long run.
Gabriel Garnica, 2014