Thursday, November 6, 2014

Work Meetings and Table Ministries

Today at work, we will have an Academic Affairs meeting where we will likely discuss the Winter 2015 schedule and the new approach to registration for classes.  Then we will eat lunch at the school's restaurant.

To my knowledge, we have never done this before.  When I first moved into administration, our Chairs meetings often had food supplied by Culinary, but it wasn't a real meal.  Sure, it was charming to eat a gingerbread boy while we talked metrics, but it didn't make the kind of bond that sharing a meal would have.

Today's meal may not bond us together either.  But if we did it often?  I bet we'd be more cohesive and more effective.

My church has learned this lesson.  After our success in planning alternative worship services over dinner, we now also have our church council meetings over dinner.

We're lucky to have a pastor who opens his house to us.  We're lucky that he has a huge dining room table.  People who have served on church councils before and are serving now comment on how much better we're getting along and how functional we are as a group.

Why is this such a surprise?

After all, as a church, we have the example of Jesus and his table ministry.  You may or may not recall that many a story in the 4 Gospels shows Jesus having a meal:  with followers, with huge crowds, in people's homes, in borrowed spaces, in huge outdoor areas.

I am not the first person to see the radical nature of this table ministry.  Radical and radicalizing.  It's hard to continue to think of people as "Other" when we've eaten dinner with them.  When we eat a meal together, we learn a lot about each other--thus, it's harder to demonize each other.  It's easier to work as a group when we've broken bread together.

Jesus knew a lot of things, but his idea of table ministry was one of the super-genius ideas.  If they were giving out MacArthur Fellowships then, would he have been recognized?

Do they teach this idea of the value of sharing a meal together in the nation's business schools?

I'm willing to bet that they don't.  What a shame.

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