I’ve started a summer internship at a local church’s community garden helping coordinate volunteers and food distribution. They started the garden a few years ago and thanks to some committed volunteers, it has grown well and is a beautiful place. In addition to my coordinating, the church be subjected to my theological ramblings and ponderings about matters of food & faith! I’ll be reflecting on various topics as related to our garden and faith throughout the summer. Here’s my first brief reflection:
In an introductory section of her book Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible, Ellen Davis writes, “…I shall treat our lack of recognition as a failure of religious imagination, an inability to imagine that this world could be significantly different, for better or for much worse, than we and every human generation before us have experienced it” (10). She is highlighting the hesitancy of Jews, Christians, and Muslims to engage the Hebrew Bible on matters of creation care; though many reasons can be given to explain this lack of consideration, Davis argues that we lack religious imagination.
As we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, we remember that God has already given us the Holy Spirit, who brought new life, and opened the door to a new way of being for the followers of Jesus. The Spirit gave them the strength and vision to live into God’s Kingdom; it could be said that the Spirit gave them a renewed sense of religious imagination. As this church embarks on another season of growing (in the garden and in other ways), my prayer is that God would rekindle within us an awareness of the Spirit’s work in our lives and amongst our world.
As the summer continues, I look forward to growing in religious imagination with this community. What could it look like for us to engage matters of food and faith, gardening, creation care, and church life with a renewed sense of religious imagination?