I think a lot of how I view things is shaped by my childhood. I guess that’s pretty obvious and true of everyone, but every time I notice it, it’s interesting to me.

Sharing a meal together is a big deal for me. If you eat separately, do whatever you want, but if you eat together, it’s a little more meaningful for me. I don’t know how other families were, but my family always ate dinner together. And you didn’t do other things at the dinner table. No reading, no watching TV, except for very special circumstances (e.g. 49ers on Monday Night Football). And we almost always ate together. Even if me and my sister just sat there and listened to my parents talk, we ate together.

I don’t know, I think that had a big effect on me. In my mind, eating together represents community and communication. And to this day, it bothers me when I’m eating with people and they’re doing something else. Sometimes Jieun cooks for me and she’ll tell me to start eating while she’s finishing something up or something like that. It’s hard for me to do that. I obviously appreciate it, but I dunno, we’re eating together so I want to eat with her, even if we’re not talking, just enjoying each others’ company as we eat. I don’t want her off somewhere else while I eat. It’s a big deal for me.

The number one thing that bothers me though is watching TV while people are eating together. I don’t know, I just don’t get it is all. I mean, maybe this isn’t the point for other people, but like I said, to me eating is about communication, about fellowship. How the heck can you do that while watching TV? I dunno, it kind of defeats the purpose of eating together to me, but again, that’s wrapped up in the way I feel about eating together, I guess.

I remember this happening once at a YAG home fellowship. We just watched TV while eating. I dunno, it bothered me. The absolute worst was one Thanksgiving where we did the same. Thanksgiving of all times is a time for fellowship, for talking together and being together, not fixating on a boob tube. I don’t know, it’s something that really bothers me.

So yeah, dunno if you noticed this about me, but if there’s ever a situation where I’m eating with people and people are watching TV while eating, I’ll almost never join in and watch TV. Almost always I’ll go somewhere else, a separate table or a separate room or something and talk to whoever. Maybe that’s rude of me, but I feel pretty strongly about this. Just, especially in a fellowship setting, if people eat together, they should talk together. It’s a big deal to me.

Anyway, yeah, what I realized is that I attach a significance to eating together that I don’t think everyone has, and when I think about it, I think some of it has to do with how I was raised. But it’s important to me. I pushed hard in the beginning for our small group eating together each week. I just feel that eating together is really important for building community. I can’t fully explain it. I should also say that that’s not my idea, it’s my dad’s. Eating together as a group. Important.

Anyway, you’re going to think I’m insane but I think that idea is in the Bible. A lot about food. Like, Jesus’ first miracle involved providing drink at a wedding feast. OK, maybe that’s not a good example. But the Bible, and the New Testament in particular, does say a lot about eating, and eating together.

Like, a big part of Jesus’ ministry, and something the Pharisees objected to, was the fact that Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners. In Matthew 11:19, Jesus talks about how the Son of Man came eating and drinking. There were the two mass feedings he did, and each time he doesn’t want to send them away for lack of food, but wants to give them something to eat. He on occasion talks about the feast in the kingdom of God.

There are other interesting small tidbits also. When Jesus raises the girl from the dead, one of his first instructions is for them to give her something to eat. When he appears to the disciples and shows his hands and feet, he asks them if they have anything to eat. In John, the third time he appears to the disciples, and Peter et al catch a grip of fish, before really saying anything to them, Jesus cooks breakfast for them and they eat together.

In Acts 2, it’s twice noted that the people ate together, in verses 42 and 46. And the first deacons in Acts were appointed to look over the daily distribution of food.

And of course, one of the main sacraments Jesus commanded us to observe, the Eucharist, is wrapped up in eating, and eating in community.

Anyway, yeah, I think food in general, and eating together, is significant in the Bible. I don’t know if I really have a theology of food yet. I say this because when I took a Social Justice class in high school, it seemed to me that the Catholic church had a much more developed theology of food, with their abstention from meat on Fridays and everything else they do and think, and how it applied to social justice. This class is where the importance of food in Scripture was really brought to my attention and a lot of those examples above were from that class, although I’m not really doing justice to explaining it.

Whoa, that was a digression. I don’t really have a point, just when eating together with people, it’s important to me that we eat together, if that makes any sense.

Didn’t think so.

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