Dr. Cynthia Toms, professor of global studies and kinesiology at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., provided a snapshot of our faith through our food and supporting a global shortage.
The day’s theme, “Health for Human Flourishing,” was broken into two parts. Her opening lecture, “Faith and the Global Food System: Eating as an Act of Worship,” came during the morning Chapel service. She concluded her series with a 7 p.m. presentation of “Health for the Nations.”
Toms, the founding director of Westmont’s Global Studies Minor and Fellows Program and Global Health Semester in Uganda, has devoted her studies to better understanding nourishment and how we can be better stewards of what God provides.
“I believe that our relationship with our resources, and how we view and understand them, can have a significant impact on God’s work in the world,” Toms said. “We have an opportunity to serve God through a better appreciation and understanding of God’s gifts.”
Specifically, Toms noted that 30 percent of all food grown in the United States is wasted. The majority of that comes from buying too much or not eating leftovers.
“If we heed Christ’s example and we adopt a view of food that is deeply grateful and doesn’t just see the precious symbol of life that God gives us, but also an approach that more deeply appreciates the process and people that help put food on our plates… would that change the way we use our food as a resource or how much we waste?” Toms said.
She also said that data supports nutrition as a foundational principle in physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. She called on the Church to be a core tenant in advancing human flourishing.
“We’re seeing evidence that the entire economy can benefit when the most vulnerable are healthy.”
The Tabor Exaudio Lectureship in Vocation and Service is an annual academic lectureship in which a scholar is invited to present a meaningful expression of Christian discipleship that arises from their professional discipline. The purpose of the lectureship is to challenge and encourage believers in their individual and collective calling of work and service for Christ and his kingdom. The term exaudio is a Latin word that means to listen, comprehend, and respond faithfully.
The five previous speakers include Dr. David Janzen (2021), Beth A. Silvers, J.D. (2020), and Dr. Lee C. Camp (2019), Dr. R. Mark Shipp (2018), and Dr. Scot McKnight (2017). You can learn more about the event, including archived videos, at www.tabor.edu/exaudio.