- Ideas for Discussion
What Does Food Have to do With Faith?
Three Focal Areas for Leading your Congregation in a Discussion of Food and Faith
As the psalmist tells us, the fields speak a language of praise (Ps 19:1-4). Modern agriculture, however, has largely prevented such doxology. With our monocultures, fossil fuels, and chemicals we have forced the fields of the world to speak the language of industrialization, which is the language of efficiency and control. What if we turned to an agriculture that prized both ecological and communal health, where all could be fed and our fields could sing praises to their Creator? What if faith leaders and congregations began to put their hands to such work?
We live in a world where hunger and obesity are flip sides of the same coin, a world where those who harvest our food are often too poor to feed themselves. How does Jesus’ command to feed my sheep square with a food system that producescalories but does not produce health or justice? How does the health of land connect to the health of our bodies, and what role does food play in that link? What kind of table manners—practices, habits, and patterns—are we called to embody?
The Lord’s Supper is the central metaphor of the Christian faith, yet that ritual practice has become disconnected from our daily eating and living. How can the church use her Eucharistic imagination to create new ways of living modeled after Jesus’ abundant kingdom? In a world with so many food-related problems, how might faith leaders preach and teach the abundant vision of God’s shalom we find in scripture?
To explore these questions further, view the resources below.
- Making Peace With the Land: God’s Call to Reconcile With Creation, Fred Bahnson and Norman Wirzba, InterVarsity Press, April, 2012
- Food & Faith: A Theology of Eating, Norman Wirzba, Cambridge 2011.
- Take This Bread, Sara Miles, Ballantine Books, 2007.
- The Supper of the Lamb, Robert Farrar Capon, Modern Library, 2002.
- Scripture, Culture, Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible, Ellen F. Davis, Cambridge, 2009
- For the Life of the World, Alexander Schmemann, St. Vladimir’s, 1963.
- Sacred Acts: How Churches Are Working to Protect Earth’s Climate, Mallory McDuff (ed.), Bill McKibben (Foreword). New Society, 2012.
- Essays & Articles
- Revolutionary Plots: Urban Agriculture is Producing a Lot More Than Food, Rebecca Solnit, Orion Magazine, July/August 2012.
- Harleys and Heifers, World Ark, Summer 2012.
- Ending the Hunger Season, Sojourners, August 2011.
- Field of Teens, World Ark, Summer 2011.
- Reading Isaiah in Chiapas, The Sun, April 2011.
- Could Acacia Trees Solve Africa’s Hunger Problems?, Christian Science Monitor, Dec.24, 2010.
- Acacias in the Desert: Breaking the Cycle of Drought, Christian Century, Dec.20, 2010.
- Farmed Out: Wes Jackson on the Need to Reinvent Agriculture, The Sun, October 2010.
- The Good Soil Evangelist, in Civil Eats and Duke Faith & Leadership, April 22, 2010
- Our Man in Havana—Sustainable Agriculture Thrives in Cuba, Nourishing the Planet website, Worldwatch Institute, March 23, 2010.
- The Cuban (Agro-Ecological) Revolution—A Look Behind the Curtain, Nourishing the Planet website, Worldwatch Institute, March 10, 2010.
- The Forest Gardens of Quintana Roo, Nourishing the Planet website, Worldwatch Institute, March 5, 2010.
- Farm School—Sharing Horticultural Skills With the World, Christian Century, January 27, 2010.
- Monks, Mushrooms, and the Sacramental Nature of Everyday Eating, Duke Faith and Leadership Website, Nov.24, 2009.
- Breaking Bread: When Churches Join the Good Food Movement, blog for Civil Eats, June 9, 2009.
- The Field at Anathoth: A Garden Becomes a Protest, Orion Magazine, July/August 2007.
- Healing Springs Acres, a ministry of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of NC
- The Lord’s Acre in Fairview, NC
- Anathoth Community Garden in Cedar Grove, NC
- Center for Environmental Leadership
- Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance—Food For Life Campaign