Sermon quotes on food

Tamar Adler

“Breaking bread” means eating. “Our daily bread” means food. It is also called the staff of life, which I like: bread there, all life leaning against it. Our lives don’t lean against it anymore: we’ve decided that bread is bad for us. Our staff has broken, and that is part of why our diets seem so hard to get in balance.

An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace (New York: Scribner, 2011), 79.

Ken Albala and Trudy Eden

The act of ingestion and digestion involves the incorporation of food into our own flesh. What we eat literally becomes us, and we become it. Logically, therefore, food is among the most powerful expressions of identity, both for the individual and the group.

Food and Faith in Christian Culture, edited by Ken Albala, and Trudy Eden, Columbia University Press, 2011.

Augustine of Hippo

Here below, He who has promised us heavenly food has nourished us on milk, having recourse to a mother’s tenderness. For just as a mother, suckling her infant, transfers from her flesh the very same food which otherwise would be unsuited to the babe . . . so our Lord, in order to convert His wisdom into milk for our benefit, came to us clothed in flesh.

St. Augustine on the Psalms

Wendell Berry

To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of Creation. When we do this knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily, clumsily, destructively, it is a desecration. In such desecration we condemn ourselves to spiritual and moral loneliness, and others to want.  

The Gift of Good Land: Further Essays Cultural and Agricultural (New York: North Point Press, 1981), 281. 

Anthony Bourdain

I’m pretty sure that cheese and sausage are good. Other than that, it’s a world of confusion and uncertainty.

Sergei Bulgakov

The boundary between living and nonliving is actually removed in food. Food is natural communion – partaking of the flesh of the world. When I take food, I am eating world matter in general, and in so doing, I truly and in reality find the world within me and myself in the world, I become part of it.”

Philosophy of Economy: The World as Household (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000)

Jen Pollock Michel

For as long as there is a compassionate Father, there will be a home, a table, and a feast. This was Israel’s great consolation: exile was the middle act of the drama, but it was not the final scene.

Taken from Keeping Place: Reflections on the Meaning of Home Jen Pollock Michel. Copyright (c) 2019 by Jen Pollock Michel. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Ellen F. Davis

Food production entails at every stage judgments and practices that bear directly on the health of the earth and living creatures, on the emotional, economic, and physical well-being of families and communities, and ultimately on their survival. Therefore, sound agricultural practice depends upon knowledge that is at one and the same time chemical and biological, economic, cultural, philosophical, and (following the understanding of most farmers in most places and times) religious. Agriculture involves questions of value and therefore of moral choice, whether or not we care to admit it.

Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan)

“That’s why New York is so great, though. Everyone you care about can despise you and you can still find a bagel so good, nothing else matters. Who needs love when you’ve got lox? They both stink, but only one tastes good.”

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Ellen F. Davis

To eat is to be implicated in a vast, complex, interweaving set of life and death dramas in which we are only one character among many…The moment we chew on anything we participate in regional, geographic histories and in biochemical processes that, for all their diversity and complexity, defy our wildest imaginations and most thorough attempts at comprehension. Th e minute we contemplate or talk about eating, we show ourselves to be involved in culinary traditions and cultural taboos, as well as moral quandaries and spiritual quests. To amend an ecologist’s maxim: we can never only bite into one thing.

Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) & Liz Lemon (Tina Fey)

Jack Donaghy: “We are lovers.”

Liz Lemon: That word bums me out unless it’s between the words “meat” and “pizza.”

30 Rock

Father Zossima [Fyodor Dostoevsky]

“God took seeds from other worlds and sowed them on this earth, and made his garden grow, and everything that could come up came up, but what grows lives and is alive only through the feeling of its contact with other mysterious worlds; if that feeling grows weak or is destroyed in you, then what has grown up in you will also die. Then you will become indifferent to life and even grow to hate it. That’s what I think.”

The Brothers Karamazov

John Egerton

To learn what has gone on in the kitchen and the dining room—and what still goes on there—is to discover much about a society’s physical health,  its economic condition, its race relations, its class structure, and the status  of its women.

Southern Food: At Home, on the Road, in History

Peter Farb and George Armelagos

To know what, where, how, when, and with whom people eat is to know the character of their society.

Consuming Passions: The Anthropology of Eating 

Gary W. Fick

It is a sad but true saying that our biggest problems are ignorance and apathy. It is certainly true of agriculture. With the bulk of the American population two or more generations removed from farming, few of us know very much about the sources of our food.

Food, Farming, and Faith, State University of New York Press, 2008. 

Nicholas Lash

God’s garden, made “in the beginning,” does not lie behind us, but ahead of us, in hope, and, in the meantime, all around us as our place of work.

Believing Three Ways in the One God: A Reading of the Apostle’s Creed (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1992), 124. 

Michael Pollan

So much about life in a global economy feels as though it has passed beyond the individual’s control–what happens to our jobs, to the prices at the gas station, to the vote in the legislature. But somehow food still feels a little different. We can still decide, every day, what we’re going to put into our bodies, what sort of food chain we want to participate in. We can, in other words, reject the industrial omelet on offer and decide to eat another.”

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals


As a child on my aunt and uncle’s farm, I fed a chicken nugget to a chicken. I still feel guilty about that.

Paul Roberts 

Raw materials such as No. 2 yellow corn or BSCB (boneless, skinless chicken breasts) are now handled like any other commodity : produced wherever costs are lowest, shipped to wherever demand is highest, and managed via the same contracts, futures, and other instruments used for timber, or tin, or iron ore. Food-processing companies employ the same technologies and business models of other high-volume manufacturers. The continuous advances in technology and the ever larger scales of production that drive down costs in cars and home electronics are now also standard in the food business, as is the relentless product innovation one finds in clothing and cosmetics.… To an important degree, the success of the modern food sector has been its ability to make food behave like any other consumer product.

The End of Food (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008), xiv.

Marilynne Robinson

To crave and to have are as like as a thing and its shadow. For when does a berry break upon the tongue as sweetly as when one longs to taste it, and when is the taste refracted into so many hues and savors of ripeness and earth, and when do our senses know anything so utterly as when we lack it?

Housekeeping, Picador, 2004.       

Alexander Schmemann

To eat is still something more than to maintain bodily functions. People may not understand what that “something more” is, but they nonetheless desire to celebrate it. They are still hungry and thirsty for sacramental life.

For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1963), 16. 

Source Unknown

Dry is all food of the soul if it is not sprinkled with the oil of Christ.

Norman Wirzba

Why did God create a world in which every living creature must eat?

Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating, Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Norman Wirzba

To grow food and eat in a way that is mindful of God is to collaborate with

God’s own primordial sharing of life in the sharing of food with each other.

It is to participate in forms of life and frameworks of meaning that have their

root and orientation in God’s caring ways with creation.

Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating, Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Norman Wirzba

One of the lasting contributions of Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation is to have shown how a considerable amount of contemporary eating is without mercy or art…To “grab a bite on the go” communicates that people do not believe their eating should occasion the sustained attention or reflection that might lead to greater care of our food networks and more regular celebration of the gifts of life.

Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating, Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Norman Wirzba

When eating becomes a spiritual exercise, it isn’t simply that people will have occasions to become more attentive to each other and the world. They will also have the opportunity to see, receive, and taste the world with spiritual depth.

Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating, Cambridge University Press, 2012.

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