Kendall Vanderslice’s tantalizing We Will Feast showcases the power of food in Christian faith communities.
Most people have experienced intense bonding over a meal, but why and how does it happen—and can eating occupy a central role in a faith community? Such questions drive Vanderslice’s book, which explores food, faith, and the intersection of the two. Rather than focusing on surface-level hospitality, the book digs deep into often uncomfortable spaces like vulnerability and interdependence and the sheer intimacy that eating together entails.
Inviting profiles of dinner-churches highlight faith communities where the meal is not an afterthought—it’s worship. While not every faith community will follow this path, all can learn from the book’s stories about the powerful union of people, faith, and food. Culinary and religious histories are incorporated, as well as sociology and gastronomy, to explore the centrality of meals in the Bible, particularly in the gospel narratives. The book also touches upon gardening, rest, culture, and other topics that crop up around the table.
As societal divisions and loneliness, fueled by individuality and false senses of self-sufficiency, wreak havoc on individuals and faith communities, this book will prove timely. Its stories demonstrate the unifying power of faith and food across ethnic and socioeconomic divides, presenting a practical means for peacemaking and building community.
With a tone mimicking communal meals, the book is open, inviting, and relentless in its positivity, even while delving into the social, economic, and religious complexities that eating together bring out. It handles its racial components with honesty and humility: the dinner-church movement it profiles is predominantly white, but centers on lessons that many faith communities of color have never lost sight of.
We Will Feast is a culinary narrative that paints an inviting picture of church around the table.
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