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Archive for the ‘food ethics’ Category

This morning on my way out, I rode past a vacant plot of land that has just been cleared of trees. An apple tree had been cut down, and green apples were strewn around and lay in the morning sun – to rot or be eaten by birds and insects. No one had claimed the apples, and no one was cheeky or daring enough to scoop them up. Perhaps also, no one had the inclination?

We live in such a rich society here in Australia. Even with the devastation of recent floods, fires and cyclones, there is an abundance of food around us so that none should be going hungry in the next few months (despite the price hikes in some fruit and veg).

The reality around us plays into our understanding of the wider world, and can influence how we consider this question:

“How do Christians choose between caring for the poor and caring for creation?

This is a frequently asked question directed to Scott Sabin, the Executive Director of Plant with a Purpose, by curious Christians.

In Caring for the Earth Is Caring for the Poor, Flourish authors argue that we don’t have to choose one at the expense of the other.

In Caring for the Earth, Sabin is quoted as saying that his care for the earth grew out of concern for the poor.

While we in the West have more than enough food waiting for us in our supermarkets, the quality of life of the poor is acutely tied to the quality of life on the land around them.

Sabin explains:

…serving the poor – helps to serve the environment and helping to restore the environment serves the poor. Both activities serve the Creator.”

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There is a lot to celebrate at Christmas.

The Incarnation signals a renewed relationship between God and humankind, between heaven and earth, and between the peoples of the earth.”

So says Simon Holt in an Evangelical Alliance article, “Christmas Feast.”

Drawing on his own Christmas culinary cravings, and the work of L. Shannon Jung (Food for Life), Holt challenges us to reposition our understanding of Christmas roasts and all the trimmings into a Christ-centered perspective.

Holt writes:

The real joy of Christmas is found in connection, connection to God and each other.”

Food is a gift. From God. Making it sacred. (So says me reading Holt who read Jung). The problem is that we’ve become distanced from the gift-Giver, and we’ve become disconnected from other people and the earth – with whom, I’d argue, we can share this gift, and better appreciate it.

What am I going to do this Christmas to reconnect food and faith? Do you agree with Holt’s article…if so – how are you going to respond?

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This is my song for the raspberries

It comes without a tune

But my song is a delicious one

Though they’re eaten all too soon.

 

This is a song about raspberries

They’re growing out the back

Safe in a net, hidden from birds

My perfect little snack.

 

I quite like this seedy song

You bitter sweet tang of berry

The tune on my tongue is a happy one

I wish it would last longer – very.

 

Baby face is covered

In tracks of goey fest

The delight in her eyes is a telling one…

Puts my sharing to the test.

 

I hope this song continues

For another week or two

I wish I had a magic trick

To extend this delightful coup.

 

But the berry season just has to end

Like this rhyming wit

I hope you’ll join me in a prayer

In thanks for this classic hit.

 

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I can’t resist asking “What would Jesus eat?” after reading this article on gluttony and our personal sense of wholeness. (See US based campaign “What Would Jesus Drive”? initiated by the Evangelical Environment Network, and also here for a history of the WWJD movement.)

Ryan Andrews challenges us to critically think about our eating habbits in relation to our Christian beliefs. He asks, in “…a society that rejoices in over-consumption…” what does our over-eating say about how we’re seeking fulfillment and what consequences does our eating have on others and the world?

Do we treat our bodies like a temple?

Do we use food or drink to fill that hole created by busy lives – with deficiencies in rest and relaxation…and I would add, relationships?

He specifically points out that his questions aren’t about getting us on a diet. Although he highlights that 67 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese (Australians are in the same league: the National Health Survey 2007-08 found 61 percent of the Australian population were overweight or obese), his concern lies with our behaviour and our relationship to food.

I confess, as I sat here reading this article I felt quietly smug. I’m pretty good at avoiding chips and the junk food section of the supermarket (although I do have a weakness for sweet foods). Yet Andrews argues that even someone who eats mostly healthy foods can be gluttonous. He’s got me there.

This is a thought-provoking article. He draws us to the global implications of what we put in our mouths – for the poor and the environment. One question I’d ask him is where he got his statistics on meat consumption in America: they’re pretty wild stats and, assuming they’re correct, are very challenging.

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