As the American holiday of Thanksgiving is celebrated we often will hear some bit of the story of the Pilgrims and their “First Thanksgiving.” Regrettably, their story is often boiled down to the basics and we lose some of its fullness. Here I want to flesh out a small part of the story concerning the Pilgrims’ work in agriculture.
“People have, age after age, starved to death in lands with small populations and rich soil, and also lived richly in heavily populated areas…Much of the world has rich soil, but little of the world has the free men to make use of that soil.”~R.J. Rushdoony (Law and Liberty, p. 184-185) http://www.thechristianphilosophyoffood.com/
An accident reveals an early 20th century advertisement – one that says much about man’s trust in science and it’s ability to provide for health artificially. Peter Bringe, author of The Christian Philosophy of Food, tells the story and provides an analysis of the deeper issues.
While there may be exceptions, our ‘communities’ have largely become depersonalized and non-relational. The problem is that people are still personal. We haven’t become impersonal, but how we think of people and their ideas has been corrupted. So what is the solution? And what does this have to do with food? Food has much to do with this because it is an integral part of hospitality. And hospitality is a large part of the solution to our mess.
Too often we want to break things down to the specifics and forget that life is interconnected. Instead we can, and should, discuss economics, nutrition, aesthetics, community, etc. all under the subject of food.
While it is good to strive for goodness and beauty in our food, if we are unthankful, we will defeat our own efforts. Unthankfulness is a refusal to praise God, a refusal to enjoy Him. Selfishness is the opposite of thankfulness, and if I had to pick one thing that is wrong with the current view of food, selfishness would be a top choice.
When we consider food we should not isolate and examine it apart from life. We live in a world that is interconnected, that is not necessarily put in neat isolated boxes. What we do with food is very connected with the rest of life. One example is the connection between history and food.
Think of the typical picture of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve are lounging around somewhere, conveniently behind some foliage. They are enjoying the uncorrupted paradise of Eden watching the leaves and plants whirl in the wind. They do not seem to have a care in the world. They simply sit back, petting some of the plentiful animals around them in this wonderful wilderness.