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Thoughts about food at Gatherings

I have a concern that has been growing for several years about one element of our time together at FGC gatherings. My concern comes with a deep sense of love and expectation. My experience of the dining rooms and my perception of how we are present there have me troubled.

I have had to work hard over my years of trying to be faithful to see those behaviors and attitudes that block me from full movement of the Spirit of Love through me. I have had to ask again and again, “What is getting in the way?” What I have learned is that whenever the imperative of God gets particularly strong, there seems to be an opposing force that wishes to block me. This comes in the form of some behavior that serves to numb me or change the subject in me so that I don’t have to live into that which is shining through. The Holy Bush is burning and I want asbestos to protect me from its heat.

My observation of our relationship to food during our time at the Gathering resonates with and speaks to my experience. I see disproportionate servings to what is required by our bodies to serve us. I perceive a frenzied kind of energy to get “mine” before it runs out. I see many of us not caring for the needs of our bodies in healthy choices in either quantity or type of food we eat. I see us not living into our desire to live more simply in the world so that others and the planet may simply live. My sense is that we are in an environment where the Spirit is breaking through and we are subconsciously or consciously aware of the unsettling nature of this cracking open and are inadvertently attempting to protect ourselves. I see lack of attention and intention in our eating. My perception of the dynamic of the simple meals is very different. Here we have made a choice to eat moderately and carefully, and the energy of the dining room is entirely different.

I hold up an opportunity. I wonder what would happen if some of us made the decision, corporately, to moderate our intake, to study our relationship to food and the spiritual consequences of that? I wonder what energy would be freed to live more fully into our call as a people to witness to God’s love in the world if we were more mindful about our eating. I wonder what would happen to us as a people if we were given the option of a simple meal twice a day, every day at the Gathering, in space dedicated to supporting this spiritual discipline? Could we do this? What canst thou say?

Connie McPeak Green
Lakewood, Ohio

Posted in: Features

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