Ethics professor to speak at Faith and Food Forum

04-01-2010 by

Geoff Ashmun

The Reverend Dr. Jennifer Ayres, Assistant Professor of Ethics at McCormick Theological Seminary, will be participating in the Food and Faith Forum at North Park University on April 17, beginning at 9:00 a.m.

Intended primarily for Chicago-area seminarians, faculty and faith communities, the event gathers scholars and activists to explore the theological foundations for faithful, thoughtful eating, and how congregations and other faith-based organizations are addressing issues of faith and food in their ministries both locally and globally.

Ayres will offer an analysis of the characteristics and values of agribusiness paired with scriptural texts from the Old and New Testaments.

“Whereas in agribusiness, the emphasis is on consolidation and fewer and fewer people having control over the food production process, Jesus consistently points his disciples to this idea of sharing,” she said. “In the feeding of the 5,000, for example, Jesus responds to his disciples by saying, essentially, ‘Well, what do you have? Share that.’ And so the question we must wrestle with is whether we’re really living by that model in the way we produce and consume food.”

Scheduled for sabbatical this fall, Ayres was recently awarded a research grant from the Association of Theological Schools for a project she is calling “Grounded: Embodied Christian Practices of Food, Earth, and Justice.” The project examines four social practices through which persons and faith communities respond to environmental, economic, and social challenges posed by the global system of food production, distribution, and consumption. It seeks to understand how these practices inform moral and religious identity over the long term.