Eating to God's Glory

It is hard for me to imagine a more informed, balanced, and fair treatment of the issues surrounding food and faith than Leslie Leyland Fields's "A Feast Fit for the King" [November]. It is too easy for Christians to become obsessed with eating food that is green, sustainable, and local, or contrariwise, to dismiss the whole discussion as distracting from our goal to spread the gospel. Both need to be kept in mind. Leslie has opened up a fruitful topic for thoughtful discussion. I hope this engenders more of the same.

Luci Shaw
Bellingham, Washington

I applaud Fields for asking us to think critically and prayerfully about what we eat. I'd add that the case for food integrity becomes more compelling given the persistence of human slavery in the supply chains of many grocery stores and restaurant chains. Consider the seven sets of federal convictions for human trafficking in Florida agriculture alone in the past decade. Like the Christian church of the 18th century, we need to remember the high cost of inexpensive goods.

Rick Herder
Minneapolis, Minnesota

What about all the Scripture passages that address feeding the hungry? Through the green revolution, involving chemical fertilizer and other modern farming techniques, countries such as India have become more self-sustaining in feeding their populations. If I were a farmer and knew parts of the world depended on my production not to starve, it's clear what my moral obligation would be.

Also, what about keeping food affordable for the poor, especially the working poor? It's one thing for those who can afford to be picky about what they eat. It's another to tell the working poor that their food dollar is not going to buy as much because someone mandates shutting down chicken factories. The mandate to care for the earth includes a mandate to care for the neighbor.

Bill Newcomer

The writer of Ecclesiastes says, "Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes" (7:18). It's essential to remember that the first rule in the Christian walk, besides loving God with our whole hearts, is loving people. I have made the mistake of being so ascetic in my eating habits that I've hurt people who tried to bless me. If someone serves you spaghetti made with white flour noodles, inhumanely raised beef, and marinara loaded with highly processed soybean oils—well, eat it with a smile.

There is a way that seems right to a man but in the end leads only to destruction. The way of Christ is to prefer others above ourselves.

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Adrienne Michelson
Rome, Ohio

College Bound

My daughter, who has an intellectual disability, will begin her first year at Shepherds College this August ["Why Not College?" November]. I can't begin to express how excited she is and how grateful we are. The program, staff, and students far exceed our dreams for a program that could help Daniela achieve the most independent and satisfying life possible. I will be sharing Christianity Today's report with everyone we know.

Christina Goldstone
Charlottesville, Virginia

Reaching the Leavers

Drew Dyck's superb article "The Leavers" [November] struck a chord. I graduated from college two years ago and already feel myself swept up in my generation's status quo. For most people my age, church is an afterthought, an awkward weekly event that usually ends in boredom and is thus abandoned.

If the community of Christ really wants to curb this growing trend, it needs to embrace this unique life stage with relationships that go deeper than pizza and movies. We don't want to be branded, ignored, or micromanaged. We want to be challenged, mentored, and discipled.

Mike Stamat
San Antonio, Texas

"The Leavers" introduced me to the troubling terms de-conversion and de-convert, originally used in the 2009 American Religious Identification Survey.

Those of us who hold to the doctrine of eternal security believe de-conversion is a scriptural impossibility. Once-believing souls who fall into the valley of dry bones need only the breath of God (and a little preaching) to finish the work the Lord has begun. The biblical terms apostasy and heresy cover the bases well and avoid possible discord amongst the brethren.

Phillip Grant
Heath, Massachusetts

Tucked away at the end of Dyck's article are two statements that address the church's greatest need: "Seeker-sensitive services and low-commitment small groups … cannot replace serious programs of discipleship and catechism"; and churches should "strive to mature every believer."

Two of the most neglected words in today's church are discipline and accountability, the two ingredients in a program of discipleship. Many pastors shy away from anything that smacks of accountability or discipline. Discipleship is a hard sell.

Yet believers who are intentionally and systematically discipled are far less likely to leave. Seems we are better at defining the problem than we are at defining the solution.

Charles Lake
Greenwood, Indiana

A Humble Mind

Thank you for CT's wonderful tribute to Vernon Grounds ["A Man for all Evangelicals," November].

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My first encounter with him was at the ymca, where he always seemed to be exercising. Years later, he led a retreat for our adult Sunday school class. At one point during the weekend, his wife mildly scolded, "Vernon, your brains are showing." Grounds immediately glanced down to where the largest Phi Beta Kappa key I've ever seen dangled out of his pants pocket, and he quickly stuffed it back in.

In recent years, Grounds remained an inspiration as he continued to serve into his 90s. I hope that 40 years hence, I can look back on a life half as well lived.

Russ Kyncl
Wheat Ridge, Colorado

What got the most comments in November's CT

42% A Feast Fit for the King by Leslie Leyland Fields

34%The Leavers by Drew Dyck

4%A Man for all Evangelicals by Scott Wenig

Readers' take on "A Feast Fit for the King"

38% Yay

62% Nay

Worth Repeating

"As long as people want to love and be loved and show that commitment publicly, there will be marriage."
Sabrina Messenger, questioning headlines about the death of the religious and cultural institution.
"Marriage in Obsolescence,"
by Jim Daly

"If Jesus Christ had taken such an approach, we would all be hopeless."
You're Kidding Right, taking issue with theologian Soong-Chan Rah's statement that "before grace can be extended, forgiveness must be asked."
"Boost Your Cultural IQ,"
interview by Trevor Persaud

"We've reached a point where posting a Facebook status update or wearing a color is considered an act of caring. It's not. Thanks for reminding us."
Sheila, noting that most breast-cancer awareness campaigns are superficial.
Her.meneutics: "Don't Think Pink,"
by Gina Dalfonzo

"Christians … are allowing the hypersensitivity of others to silence us. When we allow that, souls perish. Offense is going to come. Let it come."
Julie Canny, on the importance of preaching the gospel in an easily offended society.
SoulWork: "Blessed Are the Unoffended,"
by Mark Galli

"The concept of poetic license is lost on some people—and the heart of a Pharisee is not the heart of a poet."
J. D., lamenting debates over the theological content of beloved Christmas carols.
"Away with 'Away in a Manger'?,"
compiled by Ruth Moon

Related Elsewhere:

The November issue is available on our website.

Letters to the editor must include the writer's name and address if intended for publication. They may be edited for space or clarity.


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