The Great Lent Experiment (AKA "the mutiny against excess") Week one: Food
But here we are.
There are some strange winds blowing, and so many of us are feeling more trapped by our excess than gratified. More of us want to know our Jesus and our neighbors and our poor better, and to live simpler lives in order to be more generous. How exciting is that?
So today is Ash Wednesday, which I know people celebrate in a variety of ways. For me, I am eating breakfast with lots of family and having friends over for coffee. It seems like the perfect way to start off--not by focusing on what I am giving up, but rather focusing on true community.
So today starts Week 1: Food. (For a recap on the reasonings behind this project, as well as a look at everything we will be attempting, go here). ( PS: This Experiment is based on and inspired by 7: an Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. All props to her). (PPS: You can buy the book for $7 for the next several days! Details here).
As a reminder, here is what we will be looking at this week:
Week one: Food For this week, focus on how much you normally spend on eating: going out to restaurants, getting coffee, and even grocery shopping. Much of the world is living on $2 a day, but we spend much more than that on a single latte. Commit to limiting your food choices and your spending, and at the end of the week you should have cleared our some space in your pantry and freezer, and also be left with a nice sum of money (which we would then encourage you to donate to people in need).
Practical fast: No eating out/drinking coffee out Eat from your pantry/freezer Limit grocery shopping as much as possible. If this means several dinners of beans and rice, then so be it. Enjoy the feeling of solidarity with the majority world!
Eat with your friends/neighbors! Maybe have a last-dregs-of-the-pantry-party next Wednesday?
Prayer focus: Pray for those with limited access to food and clean drinking water.
I'm excited to start with food because in the past year I have changed so so so much in the ways that I think about buying, preparing, and eating food. I was always terrified to submit this area of my life because it seemed so difficult and overwhelming: factory farms, famines in Somalia, gluttony, processed foods--you know, all that happy stuff.
But looking back over the past year, it never felt too overwhelming. Small changes were made, one at a time, and now I see the trajectory we are on. One that values all the good things that the good Lord created.
By not eating out (even coffee!) and by not going grocery shopping this week, I am estimating a savings of $50 (this is conservative, I know, but we aren't really in an eating-out-phase of life). At the end of the week, we are going to donate that money here. Jen Hatmaker (author of the book this experiment is based on) set up this specific donation sight to build an anti-trafficking home in Haiti. Let's get this place fully funded by next week! If you have your heart set to donate to other places, by all means do that. But it is so encouraging to come together and be in this for a cause much bigger than budgets or "simplifying" our lives.
Resources that have helped me think some thoughts about food:
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.
Anything (seriously, any book) by Michael Pollen.
The More-With-Less Cookbook: Suggestions By Mennonites on How to Eat Better and Consume Less of the World's Limited Food Resources (so awesome!!!!!)
Food, Inc. (a documentary).
Also, you can read about our theology of the kingdom of God and how that is shaping this whole Lent Experiment here.
I will probably write at some point in the week about our story with food (it involves high blood pressure, Bhutanese refugees, and CSA boxes), and I look forward to hearing you stories of doing without! Please leave a comment with details about your fast/link to your blog. We can all be encouraged by one another.