Food is simple
Jesus called us to love our neighbors. It’s a call that we know very well, but often don’t know how to engage. We often think about “community engagement” in terms of volunteer opportunities, leadership positions, and programs that come with added responsibilities or time commitments. Where do I find the time? Where do I start? These are common questions that we ask ourselves. We know that engaging with our community is important, but it can be frustrating to know how to fit it into our daily lives.
Every day, we have the opportunity to love and serve through food.
But that is not the only way community engagement can look. It can be as simple as making a batch of cookies, tamales, or dumplings and sharing them with your neighbor. Seriously, it can be that simple. Every day, we have the opportunity to love and serve through food. While programs and leadership roles come with added responsibilities and time commitments, eating is something we each do on a daily basis, and many of us have food preparation already built into our daily schedules. With Food for Faith, we want to help you think intentionally about how to use existing moments in your day for mission. You can add a mission moment to your day without adding more to your plate.
Food is powerful
Memories and meaning around food can be powerful and revealing. They transport us to moments in our past that brought us great comfort, warmth, and love. Those memories are easily etched in because food often activates all of our senses: the sound of oil frying, the smell of spices, the way dough feels in our hands, the presentation of a finished dish, and, of course, the way it tastes. I often think about the scene from Disney/Pixar’s Ratatouille, where the stony-faced food critic eats a bit of a dish and is immediately transported back to his childhood memories of his mother cooking for him. It completely changes his demeanor and let’s go a big smile. That is the power of food.
Because food can so easily be tied to memories and meaning, food is a great way to build and deepen relationships. It can make strangers feel welcome, friends feel loved, and people feel like they belong to a community. There are people who have made it their call to love their neighbors through food and use the power of food to show the love of Christ. We want to highlight their stories, learn from their experiences, and be inspired and encouraged to do the same.
Red Stallion Corn and Bean Salsa
A fresh-tasting salsa with lots of zip
The story behind the recipe
This was the first recipe that taught me the power of food to gather people together. It was shared with me in Jackson, Mississippi, when I was an intern at the John Perkins Foundation, home of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) founder.
After my summer in Jackson, I attempted to make this recipe on my own for the first time in a cramped kitchen inside my dorm with three friends. Slowly, we caught the curiosity and attention of those walking by. And what started with three friends ended with 30 people from all across the campus eating and communing together. I remember sitting back and laughing at how many people were sitting on counters, on the floor, and spilling out into the hall all because I decided to make some salsa on a Wednesday night.
My hope and prayer for you is that the recipe can do the same for you, awaken you to the impact that food can have on you and those around you.
- ¼ – ½ cup green onion finely sliced
- ¼ – ½ cup cilantro chopped
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can whole kernel sweet corn, drained
- 1 red bell pepper seeded and chopped
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp pepper
- Salt to taste
- In a large bowl, combine black beans, corn, red bell pepper, green onion, and cilantro.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, crushed red pepper, cumin, pepper, and salt. Pour over the black bean and corn mixture and stir to combine the ingredients.
- Serve with tortilla chips.
Join the Food for Faith journey
You are invited to join this food journey as we seek to become more like Christ by loving our neighbors through food. Remember that Christ himself often gathered around tables, provided food for others, and shared meals with friends, strangers, outcasts, and followers. We hope that you come with an open mind, heart, and stomach as we hear stories from amazing people from all walks of life who are loving their neighbors through food, providing resources to take the next step, and delicious recipes you can share with your family, friends, and neighbors.