PRESS RELEASE: Bad Food, Good Food: Christian Ministry Casts Vision for Food Reformation
SAN ANTONIO, TX — July 18, 2012 — More than 1,300 gathered in San Antonio on July 12-16 for the Reformation of Food and the Family Conference and Specialty Cooking Classes which wrapped up on Monday night. Sponsored by Vision Forum Ministries, the food conference and cooking school issued a clear message — Christians should be wise stewards of the food they eat — even as event organizers confronted various controversies such as FDA overreach, dieting fads, the fast-food lifestyle, GMO’s, and a host of other thorny topics — all from a Biblical perspective.
“We are suffering from the accumulated consequences of many generations forsaking Biblical law and prudence on the issues of food and family,” noted Doug Phillips, President of Vision Forum Ministries. “There’s an unprecedented rise in diet-related disease. As a Christian, if you could change your lifestyle and your diet to prevent disease, isn’t that a battle worth fighting for?”
The conference and cooking school featured food-baking contests, a Ladies Tea at the Menger Hotel with Michelle Duggar, an eclectic array of food vendors — and more than 50 workshops covering a smattering of food controversies relating to food and the family.
“Our goal at the Food and the Family Conference was to address some of the great food controversies of our day which affect the family,” Phillips observed. “From gluttony to glutens; from genetically modified organisms to grass-fed meats; from statist control over the food supply to sustainable lifestyles; from the poverty of the fast-food lifestyle to dieting fads — we were pleased to be able to tackle these and other raging food debates and to refute two dangerous extremes: the apathetic ‘anything goes’ mentality concerning food, on the one hand; and the divisive, fad-oriented food movements that pit Christian against Christian, on the other — to bring sanity and charity to today’s ‘food fights.’”
Among the questions addressed were: Is big government and Marxist policy the answer to our impending food crisis? How should informed Christians wisely prepare to provide healthy sustenance for their families in a world of big government-regulated, genetically-altered, lowest common denominator, marketing-driven food supplies?
Featured speaker Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms challenged the FDA’s overreach into food policy as well as other statist assumptions pertaining to personal liberty and food: “If the government owns my body, and they are responsible for my personal health, then the government has an obligation to tell me what I can and cannot eat.”
Salatin continued: “If we don’t have the freedom to choose the food we eat, what good is the freedom to bear arms, the freedom to pray, or the freedom to peaceably assemble if we’re not allowed to fuel our body as we wish?”
Phillips commented on the destructive effects of our culture’s food choices on the whole: “We are not eating the same food our great grandparents ate. Over the last fifty years, through government manipulation of the food economy, efficiency-driven corporate policies that do not take into consideration Biblical principles of management and stewardship of animal and plant resources, and unwisdom in the genetic manipulation of the food supply, we have erected a dietary Tower of Babel that threatens not only the health of Americans, but the future of food in America.
“The domination of pre-processed, steroid-rich, genetically manipulated food in our diet is a reflection of the priorities of modernity — ‘live, eat, and die fast, and don’t think too much about what you are doing.’”
In addition to identifying negative food trends, the conference organizers presented a positive and joyful look at the Bible’s teaching on the role of food for fellowship; food as a spiritual picture; food as blessing; food for feasting, health, and discipleship; as well as the centrality of the family table.
“We are the first official generation that has grown up without the Family Table,” commented Phillips. “It’s the centerpiece of the vibrancy of Christian households. Psalm 128 is the picture of a blessing of a man’s wife and children gathered around the table. This is not something from the Victorian age, but transcendent truth. As a result, we have an embarrassing and ineffective witness in the church.
“In the Bible, we see the family table as a place for feeding the body and the soul, as a beacon of hospitality, and as a centerpiece of godly culture,” continued Phillips. “It is time to put away family-segregating lifestyles and return to family mealtime. It is time to turn off the technologies that are preventing us from having meaningful conversations and to restore the beauty and power of the family table.”
In his keynote address, “The Joy of Food in the Christian Home,” French Chef Francis Foucachon remarked: “Eating is not just about filling an empty tank with fuel. It’s about resting, relaxing, and enjoying God’s good gifts of food and relationships. . . . The structure of having meals together brings a framework that family members can hang on to when things get tough. The family meals are like landmarks as you travel through your day.”
During a panel discussion on hospitality, Nancy Campbell of Above Rubies explained how the family table can be used for evangelism: “When you invite people into your home, it gives you a platform to share Christ. Invite them to sit around your table. What an opportunity to share with others what God is doing in your lives!”
Donna Foucachon, wife to Chef Foucachon, added, “You can’t give away what you don’t have in your own home. You need to give time at the Family Table to your children. Have a refuge for them that you can then share with others, inviting people into your refuge.”
Another major topic covered at the conference was toxins that affect the body. Dr. Michael Bernui of the Center for Restorative Medicine gave an informative address entitled, “What is Making Me Sick: Understanding Seven Types of Toxins and the Proper Response to Them.” Gary Powers of Ortho Molecular Products offered two complementary talks, “What You Need to Know about Detoxification” and “Gluten Intolerance, Fact or Fiction: How Do I Know If It Is Me?”
Powers also give a gripping keynote address, “Christian Manhood and the Seven Pillars of Exceptional Health,” in which he called on men to lead their families in the area of food and exercise. “Pay your grocer, not your doctor,” Powers stated. “It’s a lot less expensive to eat well than to fight higher medical bills.” He also urged for men to be consistent in their exercise routines. “You need to exercise. Being sedentary will take a couple of years off of your life. . . . If you make a commitment to run 3 miles 3 times a week at 6:00 a.m., then do it regardless of the temperature or the weather outside.”
Historian Bill Potter discussed the history of feasts and famines and gave an interesting overview of tea which he titled: “The Leaf that Changed History — Twice.” Professor Joshua Appel offered an historical contrast to Potter’s talk on tea with his own discussion on coffee: “Coffee: The Epic History of a Commodity.”
Vision Forum also sponsored two Specialty Cooking Classes on July 16 at the Culinary Institute of America. The first was “The Joy of a French Cuisine: How to Prepare a First-Rate French Meal,” hosted by acclaimed French chef, Francis Foucachon. Born and trained in Lyon, France, the capital of French gastronomy, Chef Foucachon gave a six-hour course on the foundations of French cuisine. The second class was “The Raw Cooking Revolution: Learn to Prepare Delicious, Cancer-Fighting Raw Meals and Treats,” taught by Carmen Torres, who discovered the transforming benefits of incorporating raw foods into her own diet after battling her own cancer-related health issues.
To interview Doug Phillips about the Food and the Family Conference, contact Wesley Strackbein by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (210) 340-5250, ext. 222.