Eating with Intention – an excerpt from To the Table

The following is an excerpt from To the Table by Lisa Graham McMinn.


Most of us conform a fair bit to the norms of our culture; we can’t help it—norm conformity helps us fit into a community. As a result, most of us twenty-first-century Westerners struggle to balance norms that demand a high level of commitment to work and activities we value for ourselves and our children with a desire for communion and opportunities to forge bonds over food with our family and friends.

Cover ArtHowever, any and all of us can accept the invitation to eat at a common table by being more intentional about what we are eating, more attentive to those who share our table, and more grateful for God, others, and God’s creation that sustains us.

We move toward intention when we do some sleuthing and then make informed and life-giving choices about food we purchase (more on this to come). We move toward attention when we slow down, value, and engage those in whose presence we are eating. We move toward gratitude through the simple discipline of saying grace before a meal and saying thank you afterward.

Being intentional is being neighborly—an outward expression of our faith. It can mean committing to eating only fair-trade chocolate or going without it; it can mean buying eggs produced by pasture-based hens or going without them. Being intentional means learning the true cost of food and then choosing compassion and justice over convenience or thrift.

Being intentional is also about thinking beyond what we eat as individuals to the eating needs of others. I’m not as good at this practice, but I want to stretch toward reflecting what the church has embraced since the beginning: feeding the hungry, eating with the lonely, and taking food to families with new babies or who may be dealing with illness, death, or grief.

©2016 by Lisa Graham McMinn. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.