“Taste and see that the Lord is good” Psalm 34:8
Culinary artist Gary Stevenson had an epiphany while reading the Bible: “God is a foodie.”
Right from the start, with Adam and Eve eating the fruit of knowledge of good and evil in Genesis, to Jesus being the bread of life, to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb in Revelations, story after story uses food to reveal God’s timeless truths.
Looking for a way to give Christians an opportunity to share their faith using unique edible metaphors, Gary created Theo’s Feast with a handful of Simon Fraser University students. What they experienced was an exceptional food tasting journey that brought to life the story of humanity.
From its humble beginnings to special events in Vancouver, Orlando and Toronto, Theo’s Feast continues to grow as a high-class dining experience that introduces the Christian worldview through a five course meal. The food is meticulously prepared to enliven the senses while provoking opportunities for engaging conversations.
I recently got my first taste of Theo’s Feast at Power to Change in Langley, B.C. Here are two reasons why I loved it.
1. Through food, I experienced a new sense of awe about God.
During the event we were posed with this question: “If you could taste grace, what would it taste like?”
I didn’t know what to expect attending this type of dinner experience. I don’t want to give away too much about what I ate because the surprises were part of the fun. However, two memorable moments for me:
- Eating edible flowers. Who knew those existed? I just ate flowers as a kid anyway.
- Somehow a lemon magically tasted sweet rather than sour. Shhhh, this is a secret.
Each dish had unexpected flavours and combinations. Ingredients I would never think to put together. Discovering the amazingness in the mix of items was part of the adventure and it was a delicious one. God always seems to put some things together that I think, Hey wait, what? But somehow it turns into something wonderful. If you recall some of the previous professions of the 12 disciples: fisherman, zealot, tax collector, tradesman, you wouldn’t have found them working as a team until Jesus came along.
I knew I was hungry as soon as I started to inhale the first dish (after I took pictures, of course). This kind of cuisine should be savoured. It was still good, but I slowed down after that to really enjoy it. Which made me think (yes, in a cheesy way) about how I ingest Scripture. If I take the time to let the words wash over me and meditate on them I get so much more out of reading. If I rush the process, it doesn’t satisfy in the same way.
So, can you taste theology?
They say: You are what you eat
Does that concept apply to what we eat with our eyes and ears? Without realizing it, whatever we read and hear easily can become part of who we are.
Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35) Jesus came to give us life that satisfies our spiritual hunger.
The other reason I enjoyed the evening was the stories that I heard.
2. Food can spark some interesting conversation.
At each table there were prompts for discussion. Awkward in a way, but because it was centred around food, it worked. If you ask a question, people are often willing to answer.
I’m always amazed how much I can learn from others when I go to events like this.
Everyone has a unique experience of God. We often discredit our story when we compare it to someone else’s. We don’t need to wish we had someone else’s story, our story is different and impactful just as it is.
One girl lamented that she didn’t have an “exciting” story. She wasn’t a drug dealer or something like that before she came to know God.
“I’m glad you weren’t a drug dealer first,” one of the guys responded. And as she looked at him surprised she nodded, “Yeah, I guess that is a good thing.” She’d never seen value in her story not being a “crazy” transformation before. As she went on to describe how she’s changed since her twenties that was just as powerful.
I find it a refreshing and beautiful experience to think about Christianity and faith from someone else’s perspective. We can get into a bubble of language, ideas and concepts. When you step out of that and listen to others, you get the opportunity to experience more depth.
What better way to do that than while eating?
Another lady commented that the evening was “extremely creative and unique.” I agree.
The infusion of discussion around culinary art created an intentional time to talk about things that matter in a way I wouldn’t have otherwise experienced. It’s amazing how God uses things we need, like food, to show us more of who He is.
Jesus did this with His disciples at the last supper. Jesus created a food experience that we now call communion and still duplicate today.
What edible metaphors can you come up with to share your faith?
When Gary isn’t creating dishes for Theo’s Feast he works for Power to Change-Students ministry.
Looking for a way to experience the gospel with all the senses? Stay updated on Theo’s Feast by likingÂ their Facebook page.