Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Lent 2011 - Food as Holy Provision and Simple Gift

Lent snuck up on me again this year and I find giving things up without some consideration and time isn't helpful for me personally. Any time I create a vacuum in my life it ends up being filled by something; usually something worse than what I had given up. In previous years I intentionally replaced what I am fasting with a positive practice that makes life more balanced for me - I did not take the time to prepare this year, so I have chosen to use this Lenten season to consider deeply the food I eat, the emotions tied to it and the practices around it.

As a woman with an eating disorder and a long history of body issues I have had some healing and wholeness replace much of the distortion I grew up with around food, nourishment and self image. Far too often though I find that many who do find life long recovery with an eating disorder never find the joy and the celebration in food that I think God intended us to live with. Food is always the enemy, the foe or the temptation. I'm not sure that real healing stops there. I long to find the place of balance, where food is neither my best friend, or my worst enemy. Those around us know that we love to cook and celebrate with food here at the Turner household. We are slowly learning to replace the over processed and restaurant food we were raised on with home made recipes and healthy alternatives. Each layer of healing pulls us more toward the center of who we long to be.

I have also found that far too often that there can be a legalism that creeps into the healthy food mentality - the once "holier than thou" that rubbed me raw in my childhood has, at times, become "granolier than thou" and I bristle at the rigidity that some circles have around healthier eating. I long to find a balance and find the invitation into healthier choices instead of being guilted and shamed into changes I am not really ready for.

To that end I was thrilled to find that Richard Rohr's Center for Action and Contemplation is spending Lent 2011 on this same track -
Lent 2011 is a time for self-examination and reflection. Usually, "good" religious observers eliminate sweets or other foods that distract from God. This year, the Center for Action and Contemplation invites you to discover food and the act of eating as something to embrace and reclaim as a daily and sacramental action.

In 1825, the French philosopher and gourmand Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote, "Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are." Since our culture has commodified food, and eating has been reduced to a consumer act, our hope is that in this daily meditation, we will begin to connect more deeply to food as a soul activity. One that connects us with rain, sun, soil, wind, animal and the farmer who has bent to sow, grow, and harvest the food that nourishes our collective body and soul daily.

Join in here: Lent 2011 - Food as Holy Provision and Simple Gift

And on that same note I awoke to this on my facebook feed. While I know that Hellmen's is owned by Unilever and it is actually part of the problem, not the solution, the information in this video is striking in the way it turns stats and information into tangible, visual understanding:

Image: "Stilleben," Floris van Dyck, 1613

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