Bread. Think about all the different types of bread there are—the mundane, for example, the ironically-named “wonder bread.” Or what passes for bread in our celebrations of the eucharist—little discs of hard, tasteless, baked wheat. Think of the best bread you’ve ever had—home-baked right out of the oven, or crusty French baguette, eaten with olive oil and a glass of wine. Bread comes in many shapes and sizes, made with thousands of different ingredients, deriving from vastly different cultures and culinary traditions. Life without bread is unimaginable, even for those who are gluten-intolerant, or have celiac disease. There are breads made for them as well. Like wonder bread or the hosts we use in the Eucharist, bread can be industrialized and standardized. But at its best bread reflects the baker, the ingredients, the oven, and the community in which it is baked and the community which, when bread is broken, it creates. Continue reading
This past week, I had an interesting encounter with a young homeless man. He came to the reception desk at Grace and asked to speak to me. He said he needed assistance and counseling. I brought him up to my office and began asking him questions, trying to figure out what he was looking for, what he needed. Eventually, he told me that he needed money to go somewhere. The story he gave me was rather flimsy, so I ended up not providing financial assistance.
I remembered that he also had asked for some counseling, so I tried to engage him in conversation around his life, the struggles he was having. Whatever had led him to ask for counseling, by the time he got into my office, he was not about to share anything substantive about his life. So I led him out of the building and sent him on his way. But a few minutes later he was back. This time, he wondered whether we had a computer he might use. Of course, we don’t, but I pointed out to him that public computers are available in the Central Library, and that Bethel has a computer room as well.` Continue reading