Fortress Press

Food for Life: The Spirituality and Ethics of Eating

Food for Life

The Spirituality and Ethics of Eating

L. Shannon Jung (Author)


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Food for Life draws on L. Shannon Jung's gifts as theologian, ethicist, pastor, and eater extraordinaire. In this deeply thoughtful but very lively book, he encourages us to see our humdrum habits of eating and drinking as a spiritual practice that can renew and transform us and our world. In a fascinating sequence that takes us from the personal to the global, Jung establishes the religious meaning of eating and shows how it dictates a healthy order of eating. He exposes Christians' complicity in the face of widespread eating disorders we experience personally, culturally, and globally, and he argues that these disorders can be reversed through faith, Christian practices, attention to habitual activities like cooking and gardening, the church's ministry, and transforming our cultural policies about food.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800636425
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 192
  • Publication Date May 19, 2004


"Food for Life draws on the resources of Christian faith to help us delight in food and share with people who struggle with hunger."
– David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World

"A clarion call to Christians to heed the ethical and spiritual connection between food, eating, health, community, work, addiction, the environment, and globalization."
– Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, authors of Spiritual Literacy and editors of

"Looking at food through a theological prism, 'Food for Life' begins the probe of personal and systemic eating disorders, finally pointing the way to reverse disorder and move toward personal and social redemption. Jung's many-faceted, delightful exploration of what we might have thought of as common takes us from the table to the world and the cosmos."
– Carol S. Robb, Margaret Dollar Professor of Christian Social Ethics, San Francisco Theological Seminary

"The voice of the faith community is desperately needed to help redeem our food and agriculture system. Shannon Jung provides us with the theological framework and justification for the faith community to take its rightful role in that process."
– Frederick Kirschenmann, Director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa State University

Table of Contents



  1. Hungry for More
  2. A Cornucopia of Eating Experiences
    Forgetting Food, Forgetting God
    A Worldview without Joy
    An Alternative Worldview
    A Range of Hungers
    Hunger and Desire
  3. God's Intention for Food
  4. What Makes Eating Good?
    The Old Testament
    The New Testament
  5. Food and the Christian Experience
  6. Why Consider Experience?
    Developing a "Working Theology"
    Getting Food on the Theological Table
    Theological Models
    Toward a Theology of Eating

  7. God and Eating Disorders
  8. Positive and Negative Hunger
    Types of Eating Disorders
    Eating Disorders and the Doctrine of Sin
    Desire for God

  9. Global Food Disorder
  10. The Interconnection of Sinfulness
    Hunger — The Extreme Disorder
    Domestic (U.S.) Disorder
    Impacts of the Corporate Food System
    Facing Complicity

  11. Redeeming Our Lives
  12. Good Eating
    Trapped in Our Humanity
    Caught between Systems
    The Way Out: Awareness, Confession, and Transformation
  13. A New Vision for the Church
  14. Community Power
    Food as a Communal Expression of Grace
    The Visionary Church
    Food and Public Ministry

    Selected Bibliography
    Appendix 1: Video Resources
    Appendix 2: Educational Resources
    Name and Subject Index