Food and creed on a snowy day

IMG_1088I keep thinking I want to write something profound, theological almost, but I am not up to it. Instead I meditate. 45 minutes this morning, no problem. And I think about diet and plan carefully for a food-shopping excursion during a brief break in the frigid, snowy weather. It wasn’t really a break but Vic had to go out for a doctor’s appointment so I went along and went around the corner to the supermarket and bought at least 10 meals worth of vegan food. Beans and more beans, greens and more greens.

It is the time of year when I need some kind of stimulation, and I am trying to get it more economically and ecologically than from a meal delivery system like Sun Basket, which I’ve enjoyed off and on for the last year (I started at this time a year ago, for the same reason that I’m experiencing culinary restlessness right now). So I am trying Forks over Knives, which puts out weekly vegan meal plans online and tailors shopping lists accordingly.

I’m experimenting with vegan, seeing how it affects my husband’s sensitive glucose levels. But I have found only a few repetition-worthy recipes in the Forks over Knives plan so far, and those with modifications (the portions are too large and everything is oil free, plus most are too bland). Yet I keep trying to make it work. I like having a ready-made shopping list.

My resolve to get out to the gym to exercise today is quashed by renewed snowfall and temperatures in the single digits. So, too squeamish to step out into the snowy world, I channel whatever creativity I can muster into an earth-friendly, husband-friendly diet. Instead of theology, I write about food. But there is a tenuous link. My motto for some time has been to increase the flow of love in the world, and eating vegan is one way of loving the earth as well as, possibly, my husband and myself.

I do believe in one God and that God is Love. Love is the driving force in the Universe, which is as far as my human imagination can possibly stretch. The result of this Love can be described as simply, scientifically, and mysteriously as Evolution. The whole of Creation straining and groaning toward God. The nature of this Evolution is toward ever-greater complexity/consciousness; toward both diversification/divergence and convergence. The process is neither smooth nor predictable. Resistances and backtracking, dead-ends, occur. Nevertheless, Love keeps pushing, Love keeps calling, Love keeps drawing. Jesus Christ was a glimpse of what is possible, what is real, and in some way that I can’t possibly understand, he is still with us. He demonstrated that death was not the end. He and perhaps others, like the Buddha. All the great mystical traditions express a piece of this reality but I find it most fully realized in the mystical branch of my own Christian tradition.

I do not need to believe in any creed or dogma; rather, I need to–long to– experience and live in this reality. Although the paragraph I just wrote might be called a personal creed, it is not something I adopt because it has been prescribed by an authority. Rather, it has been described by others in a way that reverberates with my personal experience. It makes sense of what I have come to know and experience in the 73 years of my life. I have a consortium of Christian mystics to thank for lining up my thoughts in this way. Teilhard de Chardin, Cynthia Bourgeault, Richard Rohr, Thomas Merton, and many others. I don’t pretend to be an authority on this; I haven’t even read that widely. But what I have read from these teachers finds deep resonance in my soul. And if all this seems murky, read Teilhard–he’s even murkier but in the end very convincing. And the others are more articulate than I will ever be.

I find myself needing to express whatever theology I can these days because of the state of the world, because of the evil I see rampant, and because of the temptation to despair. The idea of progress, of evolution, is not a simple one. Society is, in many ways, in a state of regression. But I believe the regression is a revelation rather than an ultimate trajectory. Over time, probably over big time, deep time, Love prevails. We are seeing dramatic revelations of the resistance to, the zigzag nature of the progress. The proper stance toward this is compassion, protection, healing, patience, persistence, resistance, and a constant realignment of one’s own trajectory toward Love.

So there is some theology but my tummy is rumbling. Time for lunch.


4 thoughts on “Food and creed on a snowy day

  1. Had I the energy to write a creed of my beliefs at this moment, it would read almost exactly like this one of yours…especially the part where we are not adopting the beliefs of these teachers, but rather we find they describe well what we have experienced ourselves. Thank you for this.

  2. Indeed our paths run parallel. Do you have a small circle with whom you can discuss the spiritual quest, the meaning of mysticism, the questions of the agnostic, etc. I’m in a writers’ group, a man’s breakfast group. I’m searching for the kind of group I mentioned. Come on down!

    • I find lots of room for such conversations among Mennonite friends but not always at the depth I’m seeking, except with my spiritual director. I’ve attended several of Cynthia Bourgeault’s Wisdom Schools, where there is plenty of the depth and intellectual challenge, but realize that I also want grounding in a proximal community. Exploring books together, such as Bourgeault’s Wisdom Jesus and The Heart of Centering Prayer, has been a good way to build that community within my home congregation. It hasn’t been as continuous as I would like. There is a Wisdom Christianity, more or less, group in Goshen but it’s a little far for me. Recently Teilhard came up in a conversation with a man at church whom I don’t know that well. Surprise! Also a fan. Nothing to do but seek people out, start groups, read books, offer classes (which I have done), and see what happens.

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