Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 2 (Summer 2016) - Page 83

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 2 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE Woman 5: You said Chicago is a lot worse than Portland, but I teach in a school on SE 77th and Flavel and we have had two convenience stores and a Dairy Queen in one direction for years until three years ago, when a Grocery Outlet store opened on that corner, and we were so excited. But Grocery Outlet has horrible produce and low quality meat. You can get canned goods, which are better than they used to be. We still don’t have a full-service grocery store and we’re at 90 percent poverty. Man 9: I think if food is going to be about community, one of the things we need to start understanding and thinking about is, how can food and how can we be a place of inclusion? In our church, for example, we had four really different, extreme allergies. It was a juggle every week trying to figure out communion and what people can have and not have. And there was a lady in our church who started playing around with different ingredients for baking and over a period of a few months she made a loaf of bread, one loaf that everyone in our church can eat. And it’s really good. Every Sunday morning, she bakes two loaves of bread for our small congregation. So everyone can eat this, and we get to take it together. BH: That’s cool. What we’ve been doing at Multnomah for the last few years is providing a gluten-free table when we have the Eucharist. I think it is great because it’s inviting those who are going to get sick eating gluten-filled bread to be part of the community, too. Man 10: A whole different shift from this, but still thinking of food as community in our society, I fall prey to this all the time. I find myself eating alone in my car while I’m going from place to place. I know I’m not the only one. And food becomes that fuel to keep me going from place to place. In our society, we have really lost that. BH: It’s a very non-communal way. Americans are very non-communal eaters compared with the rest of the world. I remember it was in 1982. After I graduated from college in ’81, I went and lived at home, saved up a bunch, put on a backpack, and went to Europe for three months before grad school. I traveled all over Europe and was mostly by myself. When I went into restaurants in many places, most places, at least back then, didn’t have these little tiny tables. There were some. But they often had big tables. Here in America, if you go in a restaurant and see a table with people sitting at it, even if there is space, you don’t go sit at it. You won’t infringe upon them. You do in Europe. You just go and sit down at the table. There’s a sense that you eat in community. Whereas in America, we create these little separate spaces to eat so we can be in private rather than eating in community. We are very non-communal in our culture. 80