Friday, February 16, 2007

Lenten Reading

Most of us who keep Lent already have more then enough planned. Frankly, I'm a fan of doing less for Lent, so that we don't arrive exhausted at Easter, unable to sustain our celebration throughout the Easter season.

But just in case you don't already have more lenten reading than you can manage, I want to offer a little bibliography of books that have been helpful to me in thinking about food and faith.

The most basic reader, with a great sampling of articles and chapters, actually has that title: Food and Faith: justice, joy and daily bread. It's edited by Michael Schut of Earth Ministry in Seattle, and available from the Morehouse Group. Published in 2002, it includes a study guide for group use.

Another interesting volume is Food for Life: the Spirituality and Ethics of Eating by L. Shannon Jung. He's a professor at St. Paul School of Theology. I interacted with this 2004 title from Augsburg all over the margins. It's not in the same place as I am theologically - being less kind to science, and paying less attention to a sacramental view of life - but then, I haven't written a book. It was provocative enough that I am looking forward to reading Jung's 2006 title, Sharing Food: Christian practices for enjoyment. Bonus: great covers.

Just a few weeks ago I picked up a little book from Oxford University Press, one in a series on the seven deadly sins. Gluttony by Francine Prose is a tour or art and literature, with witty comments on our society's attitudes toward food and eating. Lots to think about, pictures and jokes - all in a small format.

I'm mindful of the fact that this is the year of Luke, when churches which use the western church's ecumenical lectionary read primarily from Luke's account of the good news of Jesus. Seems like in Luke Jesus is always eating, and often with somebody the powers that be think he shouldn't. Some years ago I wrote a lenten curriculum based on a number of key texts from Luke called At Table with Jesus/Cenando con Jesus.

At the time I recommended a volume called Dining in the Kingdom of God by Eugene LaVerdiere. I'd enjoyed both taped lectures by him, and live workshops at the Roman Catholic Religious Education Congress in Anaheim when I lived in southern California. The 1994 book from Liturgy Training Publications holds up as a survey of Luke's texts about Jesus' meals from a sacramental perspective. It has substance without being turgid or requiring Greek.

Even breezier is a recent entry by another Roman Catholic who has written lots on Luke, Robert J. Karris. Eating Your Way through Luke's Gospel would be great for a study group without much theological or biblical studies background wanting to engage themes of food and hospitality. It was published in 2006 by Liturgical Press. I must have been eating my way through it at a restaurant because there's an envelope of sweet-n-low, something I don't do, as a bookmark!


John Leech said...
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John Leech said...
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John Leech said...

Michael Polland and Jared Diamond have just been added to my Lenten reading list, just behind Joseph Wood Krutch. But what will I do with no cigars or coffee in the house? Breathe.....