Saturday, January 9, 2010


Meta-Foods: tis my pet name for spiritual metaphors that use food imagery. Have you ever noticed how many spiritual writings use this imagery? Nourishment, meat and milk are favorites to indicate spiritual feeding and sustenance. In Corinthians, Hebrews and 1 Peter, St. Paul was fond of describing new or immature Christians as those who can only handle the milk of Christian teachings rather than the solid food. In his own succinct style, St. Paul conveyed vast and complex spiritual realities in one single, well-chosen metaphor. He cut to the bone of the matter efficiently and with ease in his letters. My kind of Apostle, that.

In thinking on this from Lectio divina, I began to notice that there are many 'meta-foods' used in our daily speech. Roasting in which the person is jabbed with jibes and "honored" at the end of it all. Breaking bread is an older one but refers to having what the younger generation calls a "confab" while eating. You never know what's cooking in someone's stewpot is another that means "don't make assumptions about others". When someone is stewing, they are usually boiling with an unresolved anger.

I wonder if St. Paul ever referred to an angry person as chamin-ing (Hebrew for cholent/stew)? Surely, the master of the meta-food would not have neglected that one.

With that thought, that's me away to set the chicken to stewing on the wood stove.

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