A number of years ago Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma was on bestseller lists and everyone was rethinking their relationship with food. I was living in the Bay Area at the time and was just beginning to understand and enjoy good food. But my interests really hadn't developed beyond wanting better tastes, excellent table service, and a warm ambience at local restaurants; I hadn't really begun to think about how my eating choices affected soil and water conservation, workers' wages, animal welfare, and even the built environment.
While it may be true, as I read in this article, that eating organic foods can make you a judgmental jerk (because of course all of us can adopt lifestyle choices in order to feel superior to others), for me, I was humbled. Here was a non-Christian who was in many ways thinking more "Christianly" about food, farming, and eating than I was, taking time to consider the ethical implications of one of our most basic daily choices - what and how will we eat?
If the gospel doesn't touch upon something so fundamental to each of our daily lives then why are we bothering with this Christianity thing?
But, it wasn't just Pollan who was challenging me, it was one of the primary subjects of his book - Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms in Virginia. He is a farmer with a big personality and a crazy approach to farming and eating. He is also a committed Christian and was motivated in everything he was doing and promoting by his understanding of the gospel. His approach, and this book in general opened up for me a whole new horizon to think through my relationship with Jesus.
So, belatedly I commend Omnivore's Dilemma to you. You won't agree with everything in it, but aren't those the best books anyway?! And, I commend these videos as well. They are short, engaging, challenging, and it was stumbling upon them this morning that made me think about this post. If you only have a few minutes, start with video #2 and you'll see where he's coming from, and what I'm getting at in this post.