The Spirit of Food

It’s been a while since I’ve featured a book for Weekend Eating Reading, so up this week for your consideration is Leslie Leyland Fields’ edited volume The Spirit of Food: 34 Writers on Feasting and Fasting Toward God. There are essays by Ann Voskamp, Lauren Winner, Kirstin Vander Giessen-Riestma, and LaVonne Neff, among many others.

{LaVonne Neff’s–“My (Self-Righteous) Food-Stamp Fast,” which is about her 6-week experiment in living on a food-stamp budget, was one of my favorites; as was Kirstin Vander Giessen-Riestma’s, which was about deciding whether “eating or abstaining is the highest act of love,” in other words–negotiating personal and ethical food preferences when eating with others. But they are all very, very much worth reading.}

Plus, each essay ends with a recipe!

If you are new to thinking about the intersection of faith and food–or even if you’re not, you will want to put this on your to-read list.

You can listen to an audio interview with Leslie Leyland Fields {here.}

You can read an essay by Leslie that appeared in Christianity Today {here.}

And, of course, you can purchase Leslie’s book {here.}

Enjoy the weekend!

Does God Care What I Eat?

Does the Bible teach________(fill in the blank) about healthy eating?

There are plenty of ‘Christian diets’ out there. Over the past years, I’ve read every Christian diet book I could get my hands on. I even read a whole book ABOUT Christian diet books. (It’s by R.Marie Griffith and it’s really interesting.) But no, I don’t believe that the Bible teaches any particular diet. But that doesn’t mean the Bible has nothing to say about food–far from it! But a theology of food is a different thing from a diet–a prescriptive plan for “what you should eat.” The Bible isn’t that kind of a book. I see it as giving a framework for understanding God, humanity, and the rest of creation, and food plays into that, but as far as teaching “what you should eat”–I don’t think it’s possible for the Bible to do that. It’s asking a question the Bible can’t answer by nature of the kind of book it is.

So what do you think the Bible says about eating?

I think that food is a good gift from a good God who wants to give good things to his children. I think that God created people to live in loving, caring, community, and that eating together is a universal way of forming and cementing that community (most weddings, worldwide and throughout history, involve some kind of mutual feeding–like the cake ceremony). I think Jesus talked about himself as the Bread of Life and the Living Water because his self-sacrificing death and resurrection promises to make all creation New, and food and drink are daily reminders of his sacrifice and that redeeming grace. I think Christians have a real responsibility to practice the Eucharist not just at church, but whenever we eat and drink, and especially when, in eating and drinking, we make an effort to share with those who don’t have enough. And I think that all our eating and drinking and enjoyment is both a wonderful gift in the here-and-now and an anticipation of the day when we’ll sit at the supper of the lamb “and taste how gracious the Lord really is.” (That last bit’s from Robert Farrar Capon.)