Eating With Intention
The members of my Church of the Village family know that I spend a lot more time that I probably should thinking, talking, preaching, cooking, eating, and now even writing about food. It’s the topic of one of my sermons at COTV, it’s the topic of my thesis at Union Theological Seminary, I (infrequently) blog recipes, and I’ve spent some time cooking for Hope for our Neighbors in Need and other church events, too. Unsurprisingly, my Lenten discipline revolves around food.
When I started doing research for my thesis project (which is on the difference in soup kitchens and potlucks), I started to think about how much of the food I eat I eat without any thought at all. Whether it’s a snack while I’m working on something else (like Facebook), dinner I order from the Chinese place down the street (it’s so easy and the same cost as cooking!), or just junk that gets left out at a bar, a friend’s place, or wherever I happen to be, I mindlessly eat a lot of crap.
I decided that this will not do, so as a springboard into intentional eating, I am not going to eat alone during Lent.
• I will eat breakfast by myself in the mornings, but I will do it in prayer (and not in front of the TV or Facebook or readings).
• When I eat with you, I will happily follow any and all of your dietary restrictions.
• Obviously, some day’s meals will be quick; agreeing to eat with me doesn’t mean you have to block out a ton of time.
• Do you want to actually cook food together? I love cooking food with people! Just tell me, and we will try to make that work.
• If you have to cancel on me, don’t feel bad; I really don’t miss very many meals.
• Do you like praying before eating? Then we’ll definitely do that. Is it not your thing? No problem. You’re in charge.
A reflection 3 days in
Not reading the news, watching TV, or listening to music during breakfast in the mornings has been fantastic, and a little awkward. The prayer component of the meal is great, but it’s really illuminating to see how little attention I usually pay to what I’m eating. Filling the 10 minutes it actually takes to eat breakfast with prayer is way harder for me than it should be.
Eating with people thus far has been easy, because I already had stuff on my calendar. As lent progresses, I plan to do a reflection on what it means to plan my meal schedule around other people’s’ schedules, so stay tuned for that.