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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Connections: Rachel Marie Stone
Aug. 11, 2013

A Ministering Family

In her book Eat With Joy: Redeeming God’s Gift of Food, Rachel Marie Stone emphasizes that God wants His followers to enjoy food in a variety of ways. Stone, 31, recently talked to Pentecostal Evangel News Editor John W. Kennedy by phone from Malawi, where she and her husband teach at a theological seminary.

evangel: Your book indicates maybe church potlucks aren’t such a bad idea after all.

RACHEL MARIE STONE: The Early Church really centered on a meal. There’s something to sitting down and sharing a meal together with our brothers and sisters in Christ. My husband and I started a tradition of potlucks every other week at a small church in rural California. Even people who didn’t feel comfortable attending services would show up afterwards and share a meal. It’s a nonthreatening way for people to participate in the life of the church.

evangel: Because many early Christian gatherings involved food, should that be a pattern for us?

STONE: It’s great to include food in our gatherings, but we need to be mindful of when it’s too much. The coffee hour can include too much junk food. If there is a big dinner at church, why not include a container for donations to the local food bank?

We don’t need to give in to every craving we have. We need to discipline our appetite and remember our neighbors might not have enough to eat.

evangel: How do diets relate to God’s plan for eating?

STONE: There will always be people who need to restrict what they eat, so I don’t want to say diets are always bad. But in our culture we often are told to follow a certain diet — for weight loss, to reduce bloat, to improve your skin. Diets make it difficult for people to eat together. One person is not eating gluten, another is not eating meat, and another is avoiding dairy. A diet makes us look at food as a collection of calories or nutrients; we need to look at food as God’s gift.

evangel: Why is a good home-cooked meal worth the time and effort?

STONE: Research shows children from families making mealtimes a priority are healthier. Eating together helps us moderate our eating — whether that is people leaning to eating disorders or people who overeat. We also seem to enjoy food more and digest it better when not alone. More than that, eating together is good for our spiritual and emotional health, especially if we are in a community of believers.

evangel: You fought an eating disorder for a decade before you learned how to eat with joy.

STONE: Beginning at age 14, I bought into the mentality that it was up to me to make my body perfect in all the unrealistic ways the media tells us we should. I began to heavily restrict my eating for five years. I never got so out of hand to the point of hospitalization, but I became ill enough it limited my growth. Even up to age 23 I was sort of terrified of food. When I gave birth to my first son I suddenly realized I’m going to impact my child if I don’t eat right. My messed-up relationship with food was affecting my relationship with my husband and other people.

evangel: How can eating be a form of worship?

STONE: The Bible uses food as a metaphor for our dependence on God and Christ. Jesus says, “I am the Bread from heaven.” Every day we get to participate in this act that links us to God. When we recognize food as a gift from God’s sustaining hand, we can’t help but be pointed toward our dependence on Jesus for eternal life. Food is pleasurable because God offers it as a gift, and God is the source of pleasure.


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