At lunch time, the author and pastor Donna Schaper spoke about creating community and communion through food. She was awesome.
The discussion reminded me of last summer when I taught the the adult spiritual study, “Food & Faith” in the schools of mission at Western Connecticut State University and at Dillard University in New Orleans. I loved hearing people’s rich stories of food memories.
One older woman remembered being on the farm, sitting at a picnic table with relatives of many ages after a barn raising. Food was definitely both a fueling and a feasting. Donna wrote about this kind of communion in her book, “Sacred Chow.”
Food has the capacity to bring us together. But there is also, as Donna mentioned, a divisiveness or a righteousness when we discuss food. We’re right about the way we eat and others aren’t.
There are small, good, spiritual things we can do with food, including writing about food, teaching about food and faith, saying grace, opting out of corporate food manufacturers’ offerings, choosing farmstand foods. We can also remember our childhood dinner tables.
When I was a kid, we took the phone off the hook. All seven of us ate dinner together in the dining room every night. We argued, we discussed the day, we ate. I’m going home to get that party started right now.
Donna Schaper spoke as part of Raising Women’s Voices, workshops on women and health offered by the Interchurch Center. Interesting that the event came on the heels of the healthcare legislation.
Schools of Christian Mission are dynamic adult learning opportunities offered in thousands of venues usually in the summer for United Methodist Women and their friends.