Theme: Creation Care
Faculty Speaker: Dr. Fred Edie, Sermon by Alaina Kleinbeck
Lectionary Texts: Deut. 24: 19-22, Ruth 2, 2 Corinthians 8: 1-14, Matthew 15: 32-29
Reflections on the Lecture
In light of Creation Care, Dr. Edie presented on the origins of two meals immediately following our lunch at Camp Chestnut Ridge. He began with the “natural history” of a McDonald’s Value Meal. Edie challenged us by asking, what are the consequences for the planet and for us when we eat fast food meals? He went on to explain that the origin of an entire value meal can be traced back to corn, the most subsidized crop in the United States. In order to produce it, our industrial farmers create a monoculture to grow hoards of it and utilize it to feed our cows, chickens, and us (through both of those animals and by including corn syrup as one of the main ingredients in our fast food). By creating this monoculture in farming and expediting the process of food-making, we end up spending a lot of money on fuel, pumping ourselves full of unhealthy calories that lead to high blood pressure and diabetes, and exploiting animals in the process. What does it mean to be Christian and to work with one another in creating a healthy environment for both human beings and animals?
He then discussed the history behind a local organic meal based on Joey Salatin’s intentional sustainable farm in Southwest Virginia. This model is based on the notion of Christian agrarianism, which is quite the opposite of industrial farming. Rather than the land losing its fertility overtime, Salatin’s farmland becomes richer and more fertile where cows and chickens live in conditions that God intended for them. What does it mean to feed cows and chickens food their bodies can handle so we can eat food that will nourish us as well? Edie offered suggestions and named the tensions that are hard to overcome because they are so systemic. Many students were very engaged and wanted to further discuss the topic but due to the time constraint, only some of the questions could be taken.
“The issue of how we eat and what we eat is an issue of justice.” Dr. Edie
“This is an issue for Christians because we are the body of Christ who is fed, so we can go feed the world and meet the hunger needs of our neighbors.” Dr. Edie
When I asked a student at Camp Chestnut Ridge how moving rocks out of the horse pasture (a service project we were given to protect the horses) was theological, he responded, “Hmm…it’s like we’re casting the first stone?”
Today we departed from our daily schedule in order to spend some time at Camp Chestnut Ridge, a United Methodist affiliated camp and retreat center just thirty minutes outside of Durham. When we arrived, we immediately split off into three groups to do service projects with various the camp staff members. Overall, some spent time on the farm, others in the pasture, and others in the forest. Following, we worshiped at the outdoor chapel on the lake. Alaina Kleinbeck preached a powerful word by challenging us to step back from our need for efficiency to see God’s overarching call and work to serve all with love and mercy, even when it is not always a clean and efficient process. This tied well with Edie’s call to creation care. Then we had lunch, sat in plenary session, and had fun outside! We ended the night back on campus with Tracy, our artist in residence, beautifully interpret and tell Bible stories. Games and popsicles were a pleasant ending to our Saturday.
Submitted by Laura Tardie, Mentor