Local eating, and the spiritual connection

Dan Harper and Will Shetterly have been writing about local food, food security and the connection between fossil fuel and modern agriculture. This is something I care about, too.

In the last year, I have been buying and eating more food — apples, winter squash, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, cheese, herbs, salad greens, honey, yoghurt, apple butter and melons, to name a few items — grown and prepared within the now-iconic 100 miles of Washington. If I bought fresh meat for cooking at home, I could; I’ve bought, but not yet drunk, local wine. Some things come from Virginia and Maryland, but a conspicuous proportion comes from that wedge of Pennsylvania near Gettysburg and Sharpsburg about 80-90 miles from here.

I just got a letter from the Mercersburg Society, a theological society concerned with the “reformed catholic” movement of the same name, and which draws  members from the UUA and UCC, amond other churches. The Rev. Jeffrey L. Roth, former Executive Vice President, has died.  Peace be upon him. The notice starts with a portion of the Heidelberg Catechism, adapted.

What do we believe concerning the “Holy Catholic Church”?

We believe that the Son of God, through his Spirit and Word, out of the entire human race, from the beginning of the world to its end, gathers, protects, and preserves for himself a community chosen for eternal life and united in true faith. And of this community Jeffrey L. Roth is and will always be a living member.

What does this have to do with farmer’s market produce? First, he served a church in Chambersburg, near Mercersburg and those orchards, dairies and truck farms.

Neither Christianity nor environmental living is about partisanship or provincialism, even if its practices are inevitably local. These share a consciousness that what each does, it does not for its own sake but in community with those sharing the same mind (to a point) and thus the same expression.

A bit overdrawn, perhaps, but realizing that is important — for both the Christian and socially and environmentally concerned consumer — to correct against smugness or pride for doing what one is called to do.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

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