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Theology of Food, or Why Eating is Good for our Souls

I have been reading through the book Distracted by Maggie Jackson.  In it, she talks a lot about our culture and what has caused us to not be focused.  Looking at media, busyness, etc. and exposing some of the perils in how we currently live.  It is a fascinating book and very thought provoking.  

In this book, one of the things that has struck me as I read the last couple of chapters is how the way we eat both mirrors our lives and influences our lives.  She quotes a recent study at UCLA that states that only 17% of families sit down regularly for meals.  17%.  That is a very small number.

She also talks about the way foods are now prepared and “designed”.  The makers of food have changed their approach to food.  Rather than fresh food, that can be messy and must be eaten with a fork while sitting at a table, food makers/preparers are opting to do away with the fork in favor of food that can be eaten with the hands, but that is not messy enough to get on our clothes.

Around 30% of people, when asked to prioritize their day and plot out how much time is spent in various activities fail to list food consumption at all.  This is a great indicator of the fact that we are eating on the go to get the food in our bellies, but not taking time to really sit and eat.

Where have we gone as a society when we fail to sit down and eat?  What does this tell us?  

Sitting down for a meal is a way to connect face to face.  In a world where we so easily hop on facebook and twitter to check out what the latest is in our virtual world, sitting down and shutting down this digital noise is essential for our relationships.  I am not an alarmist who believes that all digital media is bad.  Quite the contrary, I embrace much of it, and feel it is an incredible tool in life.

However, the way we multi-task ourselves right out of real face to face conversations and relationships seems very dangerous.  Central to who we are as humans is the idea of relationship.  If we miss out on these relationships that are so valuable to us, how can we make them up?  The fast food of virtual friendships will not satisfy our longing for the old fashioned sit down meal and conversation that our lives desperately crave.  In our wired world, the allure of our technology for the ease of use and speed of connection can dupe us into believing that we have consumed adequate nutrition, but in reality we may have an inbalance of nutrition in our lives.  Perhaps we should sit down and consume a meal with friends, slowly, allowing interpersonal communication to take place.

And by the way, I am proud to be a part of the 17% of families who eat dinner together.

Comments

My wife and I recently got rid of the dining room stuff and made it into a lounge w/ wing back chairs and artsy "Anthropology" looking stuff all over. We rarely used it as a dining room, so we figured we wouldn't miss it. We're pretty proud of it, and made it with the purpose of filling it with people and enjoying life face to face. I didn't even think about food when I made that room. I'm WELL outside the 17%. But I did think about relationships, friends, family, face to face encounters, a place to welcome guests into... we intentionally put NO ELECTRONICS into this room (although laptops are approved when no guests are there).

Tuns out having a unique, creative space that's non-traditional is a great place to share meals with friends. I'm not sure how it'll work out w/ kids, but despite our lack of planning, the room caters nicely to sharing meals, and it's a good thing, cause everything you wrote about it is absolutely true.

There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up. I offer the thoughts above as general inspiration but clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where the most important thing will be working in honest good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged around things like that, but I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a fair game. Both boys and girls feel the impact of just a moment’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives daily deals deals in bali promo diskon villa resort indonesia..

Food is vital to human health. Whether it is food safety and security, food is intricately connected to well being and human health. - Mallory Fleming

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Phil is a Professor, Ph.D. Student, Musician, Husband, Father, and Cultural Observer.


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