I’ll put the flattering stuff at the top — a stunning black-and-white picture taken three years ago when I was twenty pounds lighter and had more hair — the Portland chic chunky glasses, the smoldering eyes — the author in his natural habitat, wearing his favorite writing shirt (it fit back then), typing away on his old MacBook. And a short bio: I’m the co-author of the forthcoming book “Besides the Bible” (Biblica, November 2010) and a contributor to The Good Books Blog at BesidesTheBible.com (coming September 2010). I currently serve as the Deputy Editor of the Burnside Writers Collective, an online magazine, and I am a regular contributor to Relevant Magazine and Relevant Online. I’ve written articles and editorials for newspapers in Nebraska and California, including the Contra-Costa (CA) Times, the Chico Enterprise-Record, and the Omaha World-Herald. I’m also a founding partner of Cascadia Resource Consultants, a grant writing company with more than $23 million in funded proposals since 2008. I live with my wife and daughter in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Now for the rest of the story.
For more than a decade my relationship with food has been, by any standard, dysfunctional. Besides the year my wife and I co-owned a natural and organic restaurant in Chico, California, when I had convenient access to food that was delicious and conscientiously prepared, I have been mostly disengaged from my eating choices. My wife is skilled in the kitchen (see previous sentence) and loves being there, so I don’t cook much. Then there were the years (years!) I ate fast food an average of once a day. I think I spent at least $10,000 on fast food over the last thirteen years — a conservative estimate. Most of the fast food was eaten alone, often in the car, as I listened to the radio or read a magazine or watched a video on my computer. Those thousands of meals were at once forgettable and addictive, as they are almost certainly engineered to be. Every elicit trip to McDonald’s and Burger King and Arby’s was going to be the last. But it never was. Until now, thank God.
These blog posts are meant to chronicle my re-engagement with what I eat. Writing is how I make sense of the world, and I think there is an extent to which I can write myself into better living. But the journal entries, recipes, photographs, book and movie reviews, poetry and prose, short essays, interviews, and original reporting are only the start, aren’t they?
I’m also interested in using this blog to explore the spirituality of food — buying it, growing it, eating it — in my own Christian tradition and beyond. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Two final disclaimers: First, I write these posts from the position not of the expert but of the learner. Second, the posts will be an important part of my next book, which is about food, the spirituality of food, and my own food journey. I started working on the book two months ago. The decision to move online certain aspects of the research and writing was made with some anxiety. I honestly try to spend as little time on the web as possible. I decided that the potential benefits of the blog – community and accountability (that means you, dear reader) – outweigh the inevitable drawbacks.