Craig Goodwin, author of my favorite book on Christian living, has launched a new project. After his family’s year-long experiment with Year of Plenty, they’ve now launched into a new experiment called, Tables of Plenty:
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.
Their schedule is:
December – Eastern Orthodox Nativity Fast
January – Getting Kosher with Jewish Food Laws
February – Eating With the Early Church
March – Fasting with the Desert Fathers, Ascetics, and Monastics
April – Celebrating the Eucharist and the Lord’s Supper (Roman Catholic Tradition)
May – Seeking Social Justice with the Mennonites
June – Planting Community Gardens with the Benedictines
July – Eating Vegetables with the Seventh Day Adventists
August – Harvesting with the Hutterites (and Amish)
September – Soul Food with the African-American Church
October – Potlucking with White-Bread Protestants
He’s got an interesting blog post at that site, wondering whether what we eat will be the next spiritual discipline for Western Christians:
Could food practices be the next big thing in the spiritual disciplines and practices of American Christians, especially evangelical Christians? In a fragmented culture where people have a growing awareness of a disconnect between belief and action, could food lead the way to more authentic and integrated experiences of faith? Given the common ground between evangelicals and their secular foodie counterparts, could food practices be a productive place of dialogue and faith sharing for American Christians who are often lacking generative places of engagement with non-Christians?
These are all questions that motivate me as our family launches the Tables of Plenty project. For a culture that is hungry for “food rules” I suspect the church has a rich history of practices to draw from and share. I also believe that evangelical Christians, who are especially prone to being trapped in the modern divide between spirit and material realities, have something to learn from secular and religious food practitioners about the journey of integrating faith and action in the world. I’m excited to dive into these issues in the coming year.