Eat With Joy on ‘Inside Out’

Talking to Martha Manikas-Foster at Family Life radio is always, always a pleasure. (We’ve talked before about boys and guns and the new domesticity).

Recently Martha interviewed me about my book. Below is some of what she wrote about it, and you can listen to our conversation here.

Toward the end of her new book Eat With Joy, our guest on Inside Out–author Rachel Marie Stone–assures us that when it comes what she calls “joyful eating,” it’s best to accept that we’re never going to do it perfectly. For me that’s a comfortable place to start every attempt at change. And change is what Rachel’s talking about. If we arrive somewhere near the goal, Rachel would have us cooking and eating together—even in our messy houses–and doing it all with gratitude toward God.  

“I hope that those people who are inclined to restrict their eating, to approach food with a diet mentality, and to feel guilty about food—I hope that in reading my book they might find freedom to enjoy God’s gift of food,” Rachel says. “And I hope that people might feel an invitation to be more intentional about family dinners and about inviting each other over for an ordinary meal. And I also hope that people will discover that there’s much more to food than just keeping us alive and healthy.”

Reduce guilt. Increase joy.

“Ultimately,” she says, “it’s about connecting us with one another, and connecting us to God.”

Rachel talked with us previously on Inside Out when we wondered if there’s a link between toy guns and violence. She also helped us understand the movement that’s being called the “new domesticity.” Rachel’s written for numerous publications and is a regular contributor to one of Christianity Today’s blogs: her.meneutics. She joined us for this conversation from her home in the Republic of Malawi, in southeast Africa. And though at times the physical distance between us diminished the sound quality of our recording, trust me when I say that it had no negative impact on her enthusiasm.

Join us (by clicking here) to hear our conversation. We talk about how the Bible uses the language of food to illustrate God’s provision, how chopped onions and a little olive oil can delight the senses, and how a simple meal with family or friends can build community.

What Does Tim LaHaye Have to Do with Doulas?

I have a new post up at Christianity Today’s women’s blog–her.meneutics–about the role of the labor doula, why Medicaid may soon pay for doula care, and why Christians should care. Here’s a sample:

At one time, evangelical Christians gave hearty support to “natural childbirth”: before Tim LaHaye was famous for Left Behind, he was well-known for the Family Life Seminars, which advocated for natural childbirth. Ingrid Trobisch, bestselling author of Christian advice books, including the amusingly titled book The Joy of Being A Woman…And What a Man Can Do, was at one time the president of the International Childbirth Education Association, a group that certifies childbirth educators and doulas and has a clear preference for “normal” birth when possible. She wrote the foreword to Helen Wessel’s Natural Childbirth and the Christian Family went through four editions, insisting passionately that the Hebrew in Genesis does not mean that birth has to be painful. But in none of these examples does the much-vaunted blessing and benefit of “natural childbirth” extend outside the boundaries of the nuclear family:

[We advocate a] strong emphasis on natural childbirth with the active participation of the husband as an avenue of emotional and spiritual enrichment of the marriage.

Trobisch and Wessel don’t mention doulas (the term—and the role—was formalized some time after they were writing), but studies do suggest that doulas enhance, rather than detract from, a couple’s experience of childbirth and are associated with increased marital satisfaction.

Today, some groups (like Gentle Christian Mothers) advocate natural birth, but in many circles, birth has become more of a “Mommy War” issue; last year, Nancy Wilson suggested that women who desired a particular kind of birth were in danger of becoming “self-absorbed fussers.”

But as evidence favoring compassionate care grows—in an age where cruelty on the maternity wards still exists—Christians, in supporting a culture of life, could consider how we might advocate for (in terms of policymaking) and tangibly be with (perhaps as volunteer doulas?) women who might need extra support in what are some of the most vulnerable hours of their lives.

{read it all here.}