Title: Eating as a Christian act of hope

Authors: Chris Doran

Addresses: Pepperdine University, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90263, USA

Abstract: This paper argues that eating can be understood as a profound act of Christian hope. Christian hope anticipates God's act of bringing creation to its glorious consummation and rests fundamentally on the faithfulness and power of God, uniquely demonstrated in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, by modelling behaviour that exhibits at least a pale reflection, as Sallie McFague calls it, of the kingdom of God. Hopelessness, according to Catholic philosopher Josef Pieper, exists around every corner in two forms: despair and presumption. This paper contends that eating and food systems can be representations of Christian hope over against the perniciousness of despair and presumption. For example, eating should remind us daily of our ontological dependence upon God and interdependence with the rest of creation. Furthermore, our intimate link to the soil, emphasised in the creation account of Genesis 2, should compel us to exhibit a certain sort of humility, which should have dramatic implications for how we view the role of technology in developing and participating in sustainable food systems. Moreover, this paper asserts that this Christian understanding of eating virtuously shapes the individual as well as the common good.

Keywords: eating; hope; resurrection; Christianity; theology; Eucharist; food systems; religion; Christian hope.

DOI: 10.1504/IER.2015.071022

Interdisciplinary Environmental Review, 2015 Vol.16 No.2/3/4, pp.193 - 205

Received: 09 Oct 2014
Accepted: 25 Apr 2015

Published online: 05 Aug 2015 *

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