So I feel like I must explain why all my posts about food, cooking, and baking are nestled under “Nearly Ordained Cafe.” The name started out as a joke with my housemates when I was living at the MVS Intentional Community. Most of us were first year seminary students at the time and when we began to feel overwhelmed by the rigors of our theological academic pursuits we would gather in the kitchen and talk about how we could quit seminary and start our own coffee shop/bakery/emergent church called “Nearly Ordained Cafe.” Get it?!? [smile] Maybe its a little cheesy, but all our cleverness was being used up on those awesome theology essays we were writing. Ultimately we joked about it all so much that the name stuck in my mind at least. There are very few times when I bake and don’t think about the silly name we wanted to give our fictional cafe.
Honestly, the meaning of “Nearly Ordained Cafe” has deepened as I’ve continued my theological education. Like my reading philosophy, I hold a high opinion on the power of food, cooking, and gathering around the table. Eating is a beautifully essential part of life and one we too often take for granted. We are lulled by wealth of food choices into mindless consumption. We think not of the many hands that helped to bring our meals to our table nor the gift of having enough to sustain our breathing in and out. The Mennonite cookbook and treatise on eating mindfully, More with Less, quotes a prayer of Martin Penner from Brazil that reminds us this mindless consumption comes at a price. ”
You have heard it said that because of hunger in Third World countries we should not overeat. But I say unto you that the abuse of your body, mind, and soul is never justified.
Another sad consequence of our mindless consumption is that we miss the opportunity to connect in meaningful ways with each other. Eating together reminds us of our shared needs and vulnerability. Recognizing this shared identity means that grace flows in the breaking of bread together and the offering of it to one another. And the conversations that mark our time at the table together only serve to deepen this connection.
I don’t feel completely finished with this reflection, but I’ve been working on it for several days and want to go ahead and set it free in the blog-o-sphere. [smile] I’m curious about any thoughts this post sparks for you. I’d love to continue this conversation in the comments.
PS– Don’t forget to take a moment to explore the newly added “Nearly Ordained Cafe” tab above. I’ve taken a moment to describe my cooking profile and talk about my favorite foods too. Enjoy!