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Food for Life

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food-for-life-l-shannon-jung-paperback-cover-artFood for Life draws on L. Shannon Jung’s gifts as theologian, ethicist, pastor, and eater extraordinaire. In this deeply thoughtful but very lively book, he encourages us to see our humdrum habits of eating and drinking as a spiritual practice that can renew and transform us and our world. In a fascinating sequence that takes us from the personal to the global, Jung establishes the religious meaning of eating and shows how it dictates a healthy order of eating. He exposes Christians’ complicity in the face of widespread eating disorders we experience personally, culturally, and globally, and he argues that these disorders can be reversed through faith, Christian practices, attention to habitual activities like cooking and gardening, the church’s ministry, and transforming our cultural policies about food.


Product Details

Paperback: 184 pages

Publisher: Augsburg Fortress Publishers (May 1, 2004)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0800636422

ISBN-13: 978-0800636425


About the Author

L. Shannon Jung – director of the Center for Theology and Land, a joint project of the Wartburg and University of Dubuque Theological Seminaries in Iowa.


Surprisingly Relevant

By Pay It Forward on July 9, 2009

L. Shannon Jung provokes a searching awareness of our attitudes toward food, distribution ethics, and a different context for eating disorders that is surprisingly relevant for our time, in Food for Life. Though dealing with important and often sobering realities, Jung’s writing is easily followed and engaging. No idealist, nor “preacher,” Jung leads us through a valuable reflection of our neglect of the whole self while feeding our bodies through unconscious consumption. Highly recommend this book for insights on more intentional and interconnected living…it was not what I expected.


Food for Life is Powerful!

By walt sears on July 4, 2012

Format: Paperback

First, to clear up any misconception, let me be clear. Far from being a self-help book for weight loss or eating disorders, Food for Life, is theology and religious philosophy. L. Shannon Jung’s book is a treatise on food and the physical and spiritual hungers that drive our interactions with God, one another and the world around us. It is a powerful commentary on the social, institutional and systemic ills that pervert our attitudes toward the food we eat and how we can begin to return to a place of moral, spiritual and physical health. Jung tempers his critiques with a pervasive joy of food and eating, and what he insists should be the celebration of God and creation. Jung is a Christian theologian and Food for Life is clearly written from that perspective, but the insights he offers are universal and, in my opinion, provide a welcome companion to important other topical works such as; Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Weber’s Food Inc.


An Excerpt from Food for Life: The Spirituality and Ethics of Eating by J. Shannon Jung

This fine book contains excellent ideas and practices that can be put in service of God’s purposes for food and eating. Here is an excerpt on devotion.

“Practices surrounding food and eating are one of the best avenues for building upon Christ’s injunctions. We can all understand hunger, because we all eat every day. Food makes a direct connection between our beliefs and our daily life. Eating is a practical, easily comprehended, foundational experience. Developing such practices is easy to do; it is a daily routine, and it helps avoid the segregation of religious matters to an isolated sector of life. It encourages a spirituality that is not ethereal or fragmented but pervasive, concrete, and holistic. Furthermore, the Christian faith is replete with practices connected to food.

“We could include here a long list of activities that encourage the appreciation of food and the alleviation of others’ (as well as our own) hunger. However tempting it may be to produce just such a list of ‘things to do,’ I want to limit this to three core practices:

“1. Pray carefully in church and at home. Say grace before meals thoughtfully in a way that recognizes the specifics of the meal and of what is going on in your life. Being specific about what all goes into getting food prepared and on the table helps us not only be aware of this blessing, it also puts us in relationship with God. It helps us recognize that we live in grace.

“2. Find a way of sharing food with others, especially others who cannot share in return. Do this for yourself, for Christ’s sake! Some good ways to do this are by volunteering regularly in a soup kitchen or working in a food pantry or helping to staff a shelter for homeless or otherwise disadvantaged persons. You could begin in small ways to share with those, like children or the elderly or shut-ins, who need food to be provided. At the least we can make certain food is provided through such agencies as the Christian Children’s Fund or Heifer Project International. Sharing face-to-face is better. Get to know individual people. Prepare the meal yourself.

“3. Make it a practice to know where your food comes from and to eat as locally as possible. This may mean growing some of your own food and appreciating what comes close to home. Seek to discover where God is active in your local food supply system. Where does food waste go? Learning about the source of your food and eating (and buying) locally will be a great joy and it will also be a spiritual blessing to expect to find God at work in all the processes that produce food and delight at table. You will not be far from worship at that point.”

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