To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of Creation. When we do this knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily, clumsily, destructively, it is a desecration. 1
What are we supposed to eat?
Over the last few years, I’ve had an endless amount of conversations surrounding the topic of eating practices with fellow Christians. Amidst the modern influence of factory farming, many Christians realize that it is necessary to take a stand, demanding better care for animals and workers alike. In my life, though, that is where the topic stayed – in conversation, thinking, “Well, what if I am a guest and meat is served to me? Do I eat it?” or “How am I going to afford this?”
Finally, beginning January 1, 2014, myself and a few friends have begun to change our eating habits. We buy only certified organic meat. We buy cage-free eggs. We simply don’t buy meat at grocery stores or restaurants if it doesn’t seem like they are making an effort to supply/make available ethically sourced meat. Buying from a local farm remains the best option – but one step at a time. We added a hospitality clause too, as we take the theme of hospitality within Scripture seriously. If given meat by family, friends, strangers we still eat that without question.
It’s about intentionality
Over the last few months, I’ve had a newfound consciousness for eating meat that I’ve never experienced. Amidst this intentionality, I am able to remember that what is on my plate once was an actual, breathing, living, animal. There was a sacrifice involved and by making a sacrifice on my end (albeit slight) I’ve been able to develop a new appreciation for the source of my food and also the Creator whom I worship. These changes are showing me, as Berry wrote, that intentionality can indeed make the difference between desecration and sacrament.
Making the Change
If you are someone who has thought for a long time about beginning to change your meat-eating habits, I’d like to extend an invitation to join us. We are entering the Lenten season, a season when many Christians change their practices to help them connect with God in some new way. If meat eating isn’t your thing, perhaps something else related to ecology is. For some ideas relating spirituality and ecological practices check out Ashley Babladelis’ post on New Years resolutions.
If you have thought about changing your meat-eating practices, why not give it a try for a short season? Besides, Chipotle is one of the few restaurants that we’ve found passes our standards. Who doesn’t want an excuse to eat more Chipotle?!
Disclaimer: I am aware that each individual’s eating habits are extremely personal and can bring up a slue of hurt and baggage. If changing your habits for a season is not a good fit for you, do not feel pressured and disregard this article.)