The Feast by Josh Graves
Josh Graves wrote a great book that ushers in a new age of young writers who don't deconstruct the church and the Bible as much as help us imagine a new world of the kingdom of God. Josh asks, What would happen if we truly eat and digest the stories of the Bible, the teachings of Jesus and events of his life?
What he brings to the table is not only a way of feasting on the word but also serving Christ in the world. He tells lots of personal stories that make the biblical stories come alive in Josh and other subjects of his stories.
Another thing Josh does really well both in this book and in his life and teaching is to bring in contemporary or historical activists who have eaten Scripture themselves and faithfully lived out the calling of God.
Here is one of my favorite sections of the book, and Josh here calls for renewed imagination and engagement in Scripture, particularly in spiritually anorexic cultures like America today.
Imagination, in its fullest sense, should enlarge, enliven, and transform—all of us. We face a crisis, in part, because Christians today have lost the ability to imagine the world any differently than it is.
When I was young, I spent hours each day in the driveway playing basketball with my twin brother. We had crazy wonderful imaginations.
We imagined ourselves already as heroes and superstars. We saw ourselves as more than thirteen-year-olds with pimples and changing voices.
I was Larry Bird taking the fade-away game-winning jump-shot at the buzzer: “The crowd goes crazy as Josh Graves has just won the state championship for L’Anse Creuse North High School!”
My brother was the great point guard, John Stockton, who makes the game-clinching steal, the winning basket. This precise scenario actually occurred when we were in seventh grade, in a real game, and he chose to take the game-winning shot while the play was designed for me! (Josh would want you to know here that he’s the one who made the shot, and now that we’re grown up, his brother needs to get over it.)
When we’re young, we’re told to trust our imaginations. We’re encouraged to explore and expand our imaginations, even if that means we end up on the moon! “The sky’s the limit,” they tell us. Until they introduce the all-too-real theory of gravity.
Something happens to us as we grow older. We begin to believe that we can’t trust our imaginations after all. We’re told that certain figures in our early childhood—Santa, our imaginary friends—aren’t in fact real. We’re told that responsible boys and girls don’t practice their jump-shots into the wee hours of the night. Responsible boys and girls memorize algebraic equations and French predicates.
The feast of which you are about to partake dares you to see the world with fresh eyes. Just as Jesus’ friends on the road to Emmaus recognized him in the “breaking of the bread” following Easter Sunday, we home come into Christ’s presence when this food is broken, offered, and consumed.
Knowing that Christ is here, let’s open our eyes. Christianity in the West is malnourished—in need of a feast. I am part of the problem. You are part of the problem. We, together, are invited to a table to hear and digest the stories of our faith once again.
This time, reading not to defend our previously held doctrines, but reading with humility and faith that God is doing a new thing among us. Reading to help us become part of God’s movement. When we feast upon the stories and life of Jesus, we are able to walk to a different cadence, for the childhood maxim of our mothers is correct: we are what we eat. When we eat and digest the words of Jesus, we will find ourselves energized to appreciate, engage, and serve God’s world. Taste and see that the Lord is good, that God is moving and working in our world today.