The theme of the evening was technology and its unintended consequences in human relationships. My wife and I led, citing experts, reading Scripture, and eliciting the occasional laughter. The previous year we had shared with this group insights on married life and sexual purity. We said some awkward things. This year we chose technology because it is an easier and more convenient topic.
- It is easier to send a text message when you're late than to call the person and hear the disappointment in her voice.
- It is more convenient to broadcast your weekend update and assume someone reads it than to meet him in person read his disinterested body language.
- It is easier to turn the television on at night than to sit on the front porch and converse.
- It is more convenient to bring grocery store donuts to college group than bake blueberry muffins and arrange them neatly on Dixie plates.
Blessed is the girl who brings homemade blueberry muffins to college group--we her be remembered when the gospel is preached. She toiled for us for over an hour, cooking and cleaning. Homemade goods are the proof that she values community. I said this last night, and students found their appetite. They wanted to taste the love.
My thinking on meals has been influenced by Eugene Peterson, who writes:
Meals take time, meals are inefficient, meals are not 'productive.' And so meals are streamlined, made efficient, individualized--the personal and relational and communal are abbreviated as much as possible...The centrality of the meal in our lives is greatly diminished. We still eat, of course, but the intricate cultural world of the meal has disintegrated. The exponential rise of fast-food meals means that there is little leisure for conversation; the vast explosion of restaurants is evidence that far less food preparation and clean-up takes place in homes... (Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places pg. 216).His thoughts apply to food in any portion--coffee breaks, midnight snacks, Saturday brunch, bread and cup. The church needs better table etiquette if it wants to bless an obese and dying world.
Unfortunately, too many Christian family's reflect the hurried life of a student who spoke up. "Our family hasn't eaten a meal together in weeks. We usually grab Subway because its the cheapest."
And easy. And convenient. And empty.