By Jenny (Bower ’05) Pichura
Dr. Megan Morton, a professor of English at Geneva College, likes to give her students food for thought. Literally and figuratively, nothing is off the menu.
“One of my interests in life is food,” she says, adding that the same is true for our culture at large. Because of that interest, and because the Bible itself has a lot to say about food, Morton has made food the theme of her English 101 class at Geneva.
“I wanted a topic that was universal that would also let us apply Christian thinking to contemporary problems,” she says.
The class reads articles by Christian and non-Christian authors on a wide range of issues, from overeating to the ethical treatment of animals. Morton challenges her students to reevaluate the perspectives they bring to each issue. Are their judgments based on personal experience or political views or are they approaching each question by first asking, what does the Bible say about this? In what ways is this contradictory to a Christian worldview?
“I’ve just found that students haven’t necessarily thought about these things, and I love that together we can think about how to follow the command that ‘whether you eat or drink, do it all for the glory of God,’” she says.
And this is the point Morton really drives home with her students. If God commands us even to eat and to drink for His glory, then that means everything we do has an eternal impact and a higher purpose.
In addition to her writing classes, Morton also teaches a survey of American literature before the Civil War, and she and her students recently studied the work of several Puritan poets.
“I love studying the Puritans because these are people who served a living God and a living King, who really thought about Christ enthroned in heaven and tried to put that into practice in daily life,” Morton says.
Not surprisingly, one of Morton’s favorite Puritan poems has to do with food. Minister Edward Taylor (c. 1642 – 1729) never published his poetry, but wrote it for himself as a means of meditation before the Lord’s Supper each month. In “Meditation 8” he reflects on John 6:51, using tangible imagery to illustrate the beauty of God’s sacrificial love in sending His only Son to be our “Living Bread.”
Did God mold up this Bread in Heaven, and bake,
Which from His Table came, and to thine goeth?
Doth He bespeak thee thus, This Soul Bread take.
Come Eat thy fill of this thy God’s White Loaf?
It’s Food too fine for Angels, yet come, take
And Eat thy fill. It’s Heaven’s Sugar Cake.
“When you read the Puritans, it helps you think about what’s eternal,” Morton says. “And it’s fun because some of my students really love Christ and are looking forward to that, but also because some people might not know it and get to hear about the living hope that belongs to those who know Christ.”
Reprinted with permission from The Reformed Presbyterian Witness.