Simple Meals – Plural

The tradition at FGC Gathering is to have a simple meal on Wednesday at lunchtime. It is a time of solidarity with what Bob Barnes calls “the Two-Thirds World,” the portion of the world’s population living in poverty, many of them in hunger or at imminent risk of hunger.

One night when I couldn't get back to sleep, I wondered why we don’t have simple meals two-thirds of the time. Then we could really feel in solidarity. And we could really mean it when we ask other people in our country and the world to give up the privilege of high per-capita energy and food consumption, having done it ourselves.

Then, the last meal of the week could be what has become the standard contemporary American college cafeteria fare found here: meat dishes, vegetarian dishes, pizza, bagels, sandwich bar, salad bar, soft drinks, soft ice cream, hard ice cream, coffee, lattés, tea, juice, and cold cereal: bran, granola, puffs, crunches, flakes.

As a result, we could see it as the amazing cornucopia of riches that it truly is by world standards.

It would be a little taste of the banquet table of heaven. Everyone welcome.


Liz in the Mist said...

How funny it is to leave a comment and know you may be in the same building as me!

Liz Opp said...

Interesting idea, Chris! I think having 2/3 of our meals be "simple" (i.e. beans and rice) would create a much smaller, more intimate Gathering... but it might keep the cost of the Gathering down, too. smile

It would certainly be an exercise for me personally--in more ways than one--to participate in such a meal plan, but I am becoming increasingly aware of how... "token" and symbolic (read: empty) this one-time simple meal has become, which is sad.

(Hmm, maybe having it as a meal-plan option though would attract a group of Friends to participate in such a witness while at the Gathering....)

Great to see you at River Falls, and I'm glad we had a chance to chat one-on-one.

Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

Chris M. said...

@L.L.Liz: Yes, we may have been! Good to meet you at the Gathering.

@LizOpp: While it's true that it may have become token or formal for many people, I talked to one father who said his 10-year-old had been really upset and unhappy with the simple meal. That gave them both something to think and talk about.

And thanks again for the conversation.

-- Chris M.

Suzy said...

I suppose it would be much to ask of whatever institution is hosting Gathering, but I like the idea of more simple meals. On the other hand, what was served daily is pretty close to the kind of food that America eats: high in starch, mushy vegetables, lots of fillers and gravies ...

On a related note, I met someone earlier this spring, who attends the local Mennonite church. I asked her if she was born into that church and she said, No, we are 'cookbook Mennonites.'" Apparently, those are people who join because of the More With Less Cookbook.

Nice to have met you last week.