Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 2 (Summer 2016) - Page 10

LET THE FOOD FIGHT BEGIN! - Metzger creation.6 Jesus perfects the fruit of the earth—the bread and wine—as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world and makes all things new. It is not simply early church theologians who understood the interconnection of all life, including the relation of spirituality and food. One of our students, Garrett Ka’ili Wells Jr., reflected upon the Hawaiian notion of pono— righteousness and justice involving land—in response to a blog post of mine on the subject of food: The main idea behind a pono relationship with the land is that it gives back what we give it. If overwork it, give it bad nutrients, or otherwise irresponsibly tend to it (or neglect it altogether), then it literally gives us back the fruits of our labors. Talk about the good of the land and sea are understood to be not just for the land, but for the good of people and God, and the relationships between each. To deny the interconnected nature of these three things is to deny the very thing that can help all who are affected by things like swollen nutritious food prices, cheaper and accessible fast food, accessibility of food to the marginalized, GMO’s, etc.7 There’s so much that we modern, “civilized” people have to learn from native Hawaiians as they think through this concept of pono—of righteousness and justice in the land. We must account for their wisdom, as well as the wisdom of the ancient Scriptures and pre-modern theologians, if we are to move beyond barbaric perspectives and practices of production and consumption today. In closing, I would draw attention to St. Augustine who claimed that we become what we consume. No doubt, this is true no matter what we eat. If we devour junk food on a regular basis, our bodies will turn to junk, as the film Super Size Me: A Film of Epic Portions illustrates. The same is the case of healthy food. St. Augustine was referring specifically to the Eucharist. We become Christ’s body, if we consume the bread and wine of the Eucharist in a worthy manner, no matter our view of the sacrament or ordinance of 6. Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies, ed. Alexander Roberts, et al. (Ex Fontibus Company, 2012), bk. IV, chap. 18. 7. See the full comment of Garrett Ka’ili Wells Jr. in response to Paul Louis Metzger, “Food Fight: A Civil Dialogue over Our Daily Bread,” Uncommon God, Common Good (blog), at the following link: 7