Book Review: Eat with Joy

A graduate student part of the Emerging Scholars Network prays before a free exam week dinner offered by the Christian Medical Society (CMS)/CMDA at Penn State Hershey College of Medicine.

Tonight as the first year medical students of Penn State Hershey College of Medicine prepare for their final Anatomy and Physiology exam (on Friday), the Christian Medical Society (CMS)/CMDA will host another free exam week dinner.

What inspires upperclass students to bless first years with an every-other-week potluck during the stress of “proving themselves” (and even for some, a “finding” of their identity) during their first class? Eating good food is important for medical students and their graduate student colleagues (who are part of the mix as graduate students and TA’s) for encouragement and growth as a community. Furthermore, if one does not develop the discipline of eating early, one’s body take a hit during the intensity not only of study, but also vocation (in medicine, higher ed . . .). AND wasn’t it great to have upperclass students who blessed you during your first year :)

But even more, we must embrace that we are Called to Care, to love God with (and offer to God in service) our head, heart, and hands, e.g., Loving God in the Flesh in the Real World. Let us consider how Bob Trube’s review of Eat with Joy: Redeeming God’s Gift of Food (Rachel Marie Stone. InterVarsity Press, 2013) applies to our particular contexts. Read. Share. Review.

Note to all our readers: As I have done previously, I encourage you to read a book before you comment upon it :) It is my intention that reviews such as those offered by Bob will not only provide opportunity for dialogue by those who have read the material, but also serve as teasers — helping our readers discern what books to place in their personal and book discussion group queue. If you have books you desire to review and/or have reviewed, please email me. Thank-you to those who are in process of reviewing Minds, Brains, Souls and Gods: A Conversation on Faith, Psychology and Neuroscience (Malcolm Jeeves) and Wisdom & Wonder: Common Grace in Science & Art (Abraham Kuyper). ~ Thomas B. Grosh IV, Associate Director of ESN, editor of ESN’s blog and Facebook Wall.

Eat with Joy: Redeeming God’s Gift of Food (Rachel Marie Stone)

Most often, the integration of faith and learning in my experience has taken the form of a cognitive exercise asking how Christian doctrine relates to the questions and practices of a particular field of inquiry.

Rachel Marie Stone contends that we are often conflicted about one of the most basic of human activities — eating! We all get hungry, we all want to eat good, tasty food, yet we complain about weight, calories, the kinds of things in our diet. Following authors like Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver, she adds a Christian perspective on food as a gift from God to be enjoyed in its appropriate place in our lives. What I love about this is that Stone emphasizes things like the healing power of sharing food in community, the richness that comes to our experience when we slow down to really enjoy the taste and texture of the things we eat, what is added to our lives when some of the food we eat is food we’ve grown ourselves or otherwise has not been processed before we’ve prepared it. She also writes thoughtfully about becoming aware of how our food is raised and produced and particularly the care of animals that produce our milk, eggs, and meat.

What I also like is that this author is realistic about how change occurs — in baby steps. She does not call for drastic steps or make one feel guilty about what they are not doing. Rather, she suggests practical steps like starting with one “prepared from scratch” meal a week.

Each chapter concludes with wonderful prayers that can be used before meals, several recipes, and action points from the chapter. At the conclusion of the book, she quotes Norman Wirzba, saying that food is “God’s love made edible.” Reading this book just may make that love more real to you.

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BONUS:

Eating Well on a Grad Student Stipend – Katie Shives. Inside Higher Ed. 9/5/2013.

A Theology of Eating: An Interview with Rachel Marie Stone – Jonathan Merritt: On Faith & Culture: Religion News Service. 9/4/2013. I “happened” to come across this via a post by Ed Brown, Director/CEO of Care of Creation, Senior Associate for Creation Care for the Lausanne Movement, and contributor to the Emerging Scholars Network blog (http://blog.emergingscholars.org/author/ed-brown/). Thank-you Ed! What a joy to share such resources with the people of God.

Updated Bonus features. 9/10/2013. 2:51 PM.

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Bob Trube

Bob Trube is Senior Area Director for InterVarsity's Graduate & Faculty Ministry team in the Ohio Valley (Ohio, West Virginia, and Western Pennsylvania) and leads the ministry to graduate students and faculty at The Ohio State University. He resides in Columbus, Ohio, with Marilyn and enjoys reading, gardening, choral singing, and plein air painting.

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