Craig Goodwin and his family are pioneers in my opinion. If you don’t already know about the Goodwin family’s first experiment turned book Year of Plenty: “One Suburban Family, Four Rules, and 365 Days of Homegrown Adventure in Pursuit of Christian Living” you have to check it out. If you are familiar with Year of Plenty then you’ll be interested to know that Craig and his clan are at it again with another year of exploring the intersection between food and Christian faithfulness. Here’s what Craig has to say about his latest endeavor on his new blog, Tables of Plenty:
“It’s a new yearlong adventure for the Goodwin family and a new blog to connect with others around the themes of food and faith.
Starting on November 28, 2011 with the Orthodox Nativity fast, our family is dedicating a year to explore the role of food in Christian spiritual formation, one month at a time. Our monthly excursions will include following kosher food laws and eating in the tradition of the early church. We’ll plant community gardens with the Benedictines, go vegetarian with Seventh Day Adventists, and vegan with the Orthodox. We’ll even explore the spiritual depths of potlucks and jello-salad with our own tribe, the White Bread Protestants. We’ll be reading, reflecting, blogging, and eating our way through the year at this Tables of Plenty blog.
It was almost four years ago that I started blogging about our family’s Year of Plenty in which we committed to consuming only items that were local, used, homegrown, or homemade. Here’s the link to the first blog post with pictures of our fated attempt to make a flamingo pinata. It has been four enriching years of learning and writing about food, agriculture, consumerism, the environment, and faith. Our YoP experience has led to wonderful friendships and conversations that have sparked our imaginations for more learning and more exploration, especially when it comes to the role of food in Christian faith practices and spiritual formation.
In recent years I’ve been struck by the strong connection between faith formation in the Bible and food practices. I’ve developed what I call a foodie hermeneutic of the Bible, reading the Bible through the lens of food and food practices, and I’ve been amazed at how central food is to the unfolding story of God’s people in the Bible. It starts with the words to Adam, “You are free to eat,” and ends with the grand vision of a feast. From manna during the exodus to Jesus fasting in the wilderness to Peter’s hunger-induced vision of unclean foods in the book of Acts, the path to following God’s will is often negotiated at some point on food’s journey from field to table.
In contrast to this prominent role of food in the Bible, I’ve been surprised by the relative absence of food as a means of spiritual formation in my experience as a Protestant, evangelical, North American Christian. I never thought much about it until our YoP experiment led us into conversations with locavores, slow food foodies, vegans, sustainable agriculture activists, and others who all seem to understand the powerful role of food choices in the formation of a person. In these communities we have found people fleshing out the meaning of life and embracing food as a central practice in that process. While most of these movements are considered “secular,” they often have a sacred feel to them…”