Happy New Year, everyone!
I came across an amusing story over the weekend: about health-club employees preparing for an onslaught of new members. Gyms experience this spike in business every January 1, as sure as the ball dropping in Times Square.
Does food – and the methods of its production and consumption – have a bearing on what it means to be a Christian?
Norman Wirzba certainly thinks so. The research professor of theology, ecology, and rural life at Duke Divinity School and occasional contributor to our blog, shared his views during an episode of Office Hours, an online webcast offered by the Duke Office of News and Communications.
Jay Voorhees, Tennessee pastor and blogger, had what he thought was a casual chat with a local religion news writer, Before he knew it, he found himself “the poster child for clergy unhealth,” quoted by name in a feature story in his local paper, then singled out for attack in a letter to the editor.
Have you ever noticed that in the gospels Jesus seems often to be at a meal, coming from a dinner, or on his way to a table? Eating together is one of the most important things we do. Gathered around a table we learn how to receive each other and the world as gifts from God. We discover that we are gifts meant by God to be given to each other for the healing of the world.
I loathe hot, sticky weather. That loathing permeates everything these late July days: the new puppy's antics are annoying, I dread the sensation that I may burst into flame when I walk from air conditioning into the outdoors, the thought of cooking dinner fills me with dread, and the idea of putting on a choir robe is truly daunting. So, what is a health-conscious person of faith to do with this season? Savor it, of course.
Last week, I and several colleagues from the Clergy Health Initiative attended the United Methodist Annual Conferences in Greenville and Lake Junaluska, N.C. Our primary purpose in going was to share information about the Clergy Health Initiative – our research findings and future plans for introducing a suite of interventions to improve the health of pastors statewide.
Have you ever had to say “I am sorry” for the food you eat? I mean sorry not because you took the last piece of cake, but sorry for the food itself? The more we learn about today’s industrial food systems the more we discover how much there is to be sorry for. So much of what we eat, so much of what we feed each other, is manifestly unhealthy for us. Rates of obesity and diabetes among our children are reaching SuperSize proportions. Roughly 70% of Americans are overweight.
At this week's 2010 Faith and Health Summit, the North Carolina Council of Churches' Partners in Health and Wholeness Program debuted the Beta version of Recipes for the Heart and Soul: A Guide to Cooking Healthily in Large Quantities. For information, you can contact the Council on the web.
Kitchen tables matter. Besides being places where we eat and socialize, they are also the daily site where we learn what it means to be human. If all living things eat, people are privileged to dine, and in dining realize what is best about humanity. The point isn’t simply to ingest food or learn a few manners—as important as these are—but to realize the graces of attention, conversation, and gratitude. Raising children, I know this does not come easily. We all have to learn to eat.