"Karma" is a word treated with profound suspicion in Christian circles, I suppose because Christianity is a highly territorial religion that reacts with visceral dislike to anything that doesn't proceed from itself.
That's a pity because you can learn a lot from other people with different perspectives on life.
Besides, karma as a concept (as distinct from as a word), the law of cause and effect, is definitely present in the Bible:
"They sow the wind and they shall reap the whirlwind" (Hosea 8.7)
"Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." (Galatians, here.)
This is karma without the label.
"Cast thy bread upon the waters, for thou shalt find it after many days." (Ecclesisates 11.1)
As others have put it, "What goes around, comes around."
And I was thinking about this with particular reference to what we eat.
There are many instances that come easily to mind, especially if you disengage from the particular specifics of the crop or produce, and focus instead on the moral principles implicit in the method of production.
An obvious example is poor animal husbandry. How could anyone imagine the dreadful suffering imposed on animal reared in concentration-camp-like conditions could fail to bring karmic consequences? Suffering is hard to quantify but its presence manifests into our physical tissues; it is not merely confined to being a feeling. Or to put it another way, a feeling also has a physical dimension to it, so that wellbeing or the lack of it affects our body tissues. Eating an animal exposed to stress and suffering, and even torture in some cases, will not contribute towards building good health. If we include animals in our diet, and want to be well, then those animals had better be pasture-raised and free range, peaceful and contented, compassionately slaughtered.
Another example is that arm of Mammon evident in the patenting and genetic manipulation of arable crops. Stephanie Seneff's research into this certainly gives pause for thought. So does Vandana Shiva's ("There's one health because there's one planet and one humanity").
But the example that's been especially on my mind, that fascinates and intrigues me, is sugar — in particular its addictiveness.
Gary Taubes (using a term coined by Sidney Mintz) describes sugar as a "drug food". It is unquestionably mood-altering and highly addictive, and plays merry hell with the adrenals just for starters. Robert Lustig is good on the chemistry and physiology of how it all works, too.
But what's caught my attention is its origins (concerning which Taubes goes into considerable detail in his book); because sugar could not have been brought into production on a significant scale without slavery. The escalation of slavery and the spread and development of sugar production are inextricably linked, hand-in-glove, inseparable. They belong to one another.
And it fascinates me that slavery, upon which the sugar industry was built and out of which it grew, remains integral to the sugar itself. It came from slavery and it creates slavery. The capture and enslavement of human beings was a necessary component of sugar production, and the enslavement of human beings is the result of its consumption too.
Sugar, "pure white and deadly" as John Yudkin called it, is karma in its most straightforward form. You cannot have the substance without the slavery, in its history, in its manufacture, and in its consumption.