Many Christians still long for belonging and liberation. Those who are privileged enough, find it at abundant communion tables where they can nourish their bodies and consciousness. In a world of disordered eating, hunger, farmed animal suffering, environmental degradation, unjust food systems and more, very seldom are the politics of what is consumed considered at these gatherings. Aline Silva, Executive Director of CreatureKind, in partnership with Vincent Lloyd and Jacques Linder at Villanova have invited brilliant and compassionate scholars from North and South America to lead this conversation for the Political Theology Network,.
The contributors engage in conversations about the lives, plight, and flourishing of their non-human counterparts and kin, ritual and liberatory prayers sung and uttered tables around the world, hunger experienced by marginalized communities in overexploited countries (Brasil and Mexico), as well as the ways in which our food ways and means of productions is suffocating the earth and every beloved living in it. They invite the reader to consider the liberation of those at the table, those on the table, those servicing and serving the tables, those raising, tending and harvesting for tables, and those without access to any table at all.
Allison Covey writes on the moral commitments of Christians asking if our tables can indeed testify of the God of liberation sharing their Good News to all, especially those crushing under the weight of today’s capitalistic hierarchies. Leaning on the words and works of Pope Francis, she invites us into solidarity with non-human animals, the very earth, and the poorest and most vulnerable of human-animals. She concludes that solidarity with the marginalized means taking action on their behalf, and that means, at the very least, abstaining from consuming foods that are products of injustice and oppression.
Bianca Mendes Rati takes a strong stance against religious fundamentalism, pointing its interconnectedness to the far-right, Jair Bolsonaro, agribusinesses, colonialism and imperialism, forming what she calls Christofascism. She explains, these powers are the force behind food insecurity and hunger constantly generated in Brasil. At the cost of real lives, neoliberal policies focus on mass and profitable productions, destroying any and all standing in their way. While looking at the Historical Jesus, she explains that his invitation to eat with those in need of solidarity is a form of resistance to the empire and religious fundamentalism of his time. Finally, she proposes the Christian table as a discerning place away fascism, eradicating hunger and prioritizing the flourishing of Christ’s beloved.
Tallessyn Zawn Grenfell-Lee takes us on an intimate journey with her family and daughter. Empowered by Wesleyan tradition, she calls Christians to experience God’s Grace at every meal. She asks, “ [what if every meal was encountered as] a resurrection feast that nourishes our bodies and souls”? By so doing we can welcome Love Divine, Christ, into our lives with hope, honor, abundance, and gratitude.
Ángel Francisco Méndez Montoya’s piece, Food Symbols of Emancipation and Solidarity in the Theopolitical Imagination of Jesus in the Gospels, invites us to create communal tables of resistance and transformation for a hungry world. The Bread of Life, satisfying the body and providing for all their emotional, political, as well as spiritual needs. Can our tables and foodways center justice? Are Christians able to form theologies and policies that prioritize inclusion of all God’s beloved? Is it possible for our food practices to become a perplexing source of sustenance that make positive and nourishing transformations at micro and macro planetary dimensions”?
We hope these thoughtful essays will lead you ever so gently in considering your next political move as it will almost certainly impact the lives of all CreatureKind, especially the marginalized and those in much need of liberation.