Jesus and Food curriculum

When my wife and I led a teen-aged Sunday School class at our church in a series of discussions we called Jesus and Food, we looked around for information to share.

We found the best resources were the people around us. Often, its difficult to capture attention. When you have people you know, talking from their experience about something which is their passion, people listen.

We found that true in this class with a nutritionist, soup kitchen organizer, church cook book contributor, international missions volunteer, food industry consultant, pastor and others.  We brought in some outside resources: showing a clip from Super Size Me, another from Jesus of Nazareth, sharing some video from Norman Wirzba in an interview he gave us after talking at a local church. We had the class identify stories from the New Testament that connected with food and spent some time discussing them. We found that Luke was a particularly good source of stories for food.

My wife came up with the idea for the artwork. First, the class broke into teams that worked on posters with ideas and images they heard in earlier discussions. Teams then selected an image they worked on in class to paint on canvas.

Through Cokesbury, we found a book by John Gooch entitled At Table with Jesus. We used it as a resource and made its concept of hospitality and Norman Wirzba’s focus on stewardship central to our discussions. The 8 chapter, 96-page book is designed as an 8-week study.

I’ve found several resources since we did this that could help others interested in discussing food:

  • Just Eating – Presbyterian Church curriculum – free download of 73-page book set up as a 6-week study with each week focusing on a topic and offering five daily readings and weekly actions
  • Living the Sabbath – Norman Wirzba – interesting for background, providing a discussion of living up to the Sabbath agreement that we take delight in and accept our roles as stewards of creation; the hammock on the cover is a bit misleading; its not about relaxation.
  • Food and Faith – edited by Michael Schut – 240 pages organized under 10 headings with a series of articles on each heading. Study guide selects readings from the book and provides discussion ideas for eight class sessions.
  • Sharing Food – Shannon Jung – 9 chapter, 161-page book that as subtitle notes focuses on Christian practices for enjoyment.
  • Eating your way through Luke’s Gospel – Robert Karris – interesting for background, though a creative person could use the 8 chapters and 112 pages for discussion.
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