Luciano Pavarotti on eating

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One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.

— Luciano Pavarotti 

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Who’s Coming to dinner?

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There is a lot of hate in this world, a lot of racism, division, cliques, separation, judgement, and negativity. There are a lot of ideas circulating about how to fix all of those problems, to get rid of guns, or people of certain religions, to intigrate, to seperate, and there is very little agreement about what the right solution is.

I do not have any ideas on how to fix the worlds problems. I do know that eating together brings people together, that having a conversation over a meal can make you realize that the ‘other’ that you are afraid of is really very similar to you, that we care more about people when we love them for who they are, instead of what they are, who they worship, what color they are, where they are from, who they look like, or how they vote.

So my question to you, as wars wage, as Paris is remembered and Orlando is thought of, as political battles wage, and we discuss ideas and differences, as we mourn and we fight, my question is who would you invite to dinner? Would you eat with the victims? Would you eat with your own family members? What if they voted republican? Or democrat? Would George W. get an invitation? What about Obama? Would you invite over the Mormons, or the Muslims, or the fanatic Christian with the picket sign? What if they were homeless? What if they were rich? Would you eat with white people or black people, Hispanics or Canadians? If you wee having a spaghetti dinner tomorrow night and could feed the whole world- who would you exclude?

Maybe we can’t ban all the guns, stop all the terrorist, change all the thinking, or keep everyone safe. But if you could feed everyone tomorrow-would you? Maybe we can’t change the world but we can work on ourselves.

I do not encourage you to try to invite everyone over to your house next week for a spaghetti dinner, the cleanup would be massive! But I do encourage us to be more like Jesus, to eat with those who others wouldn’t be seen with, to break bread and feed everyone that we can, and to remove ourselves to a garden alone with our friends to pray when we are overwhelmed to the point of despair.

Jack King on hospitality and humility

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“Hospitality is not a house inspection, it’s friendship. In an age of ever-increasing loneliness, in a time when Americans eat 40% of their meals by themselves, can I allow myself to value tidiness over community? Sadly, I’m sensing there’s pride lurking across the threshold of my welcoming mat.

So here’s the way of repentance for us. For me and my house, we’re trying to eliminate complications, not add to them. We aren’t going to host people every night of the week (after all, I’m still an introvert), but I want more memories with friends new and old than I’ve had over the past 7 years.

So I begin to ask this question, a good question: what does it look like to welcome people into my humility rather than my standard of excellence? The playroom may not be tidy. Our kids, who are lovely and enjoyable, may become noisy and cranky around 7pm. Dinners may be sponsored entirely by Trader Joe’s frozen section rather than a handmade Jamie Oliver recipe. I might serve Crane Lake wine. Well, maybe not. Pepperwood Grove is still a low budget wine for a few bucks more and so much better. But why would I withhold an invitation simply because I can’t make dinner from scratch?”

–Jack King, knoxpriest.com

Changing the world

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I follow the Vlog Brothers on YouTube and watched Hank Greens recent video about happiness and making a difference in the world, he made a survey that asked people if they would rather be happy or make a difference, it was almost exactly a 50/50 split and people noted that they thought they could not be truly happy if they did not believe they had made, or were making, a difference. His point was that maybe we are putting too much pressure on ourselves not to just make a difference for the people around us but that we had to make a difference for the world.

It’s easy to understand, we are living in a world with big problems. Financial crises, unemployment, climate change, hunger and malnutrition, wage gaps, refugees, and wars. And sometimes when we start to care then we feel overwhelmed and decide not to care about anything. It often feels like it has to be all or nothing, if we aren’t fixing the worlds problems we aren’t doing enough and since we can’t fix the worlds problems, not alone, not today, then we don’t do anything.

I don’t believe I can end climate change or vaccinate all the babies who need it. I can feed my neighbor and have friends over for dinner on days when we all need a little lift and a little hope. I can volunteer at the soup kitchen and the community gardens and read and educate myself more about the issues the world is facing. But some days all you can do is feed the ones you love. And we shouldn’t think that that isn’t significant and important!

Friends of mine, and I’m sure friends of yours, are going through hard times right now, pets are dying, jobs are hard, employees are quitting, husbands and wives are far apart. And I can’t fix those problems either. No matter how much we hate to see the ones we love suffer we can’t always fix it. But we can send care packages full of granola bars and microwave meals, we can make soup and share it with those near and dear who are suffering. These aren’t little things, it’s making a difference, maybe only in the life of one or two people and that can seem insignificant. But those people are important and they influence others and the world is changed. Maybe not because world hunger was solved or we saved social security but because two friends ate together.