Monday, February 27, 2012

The Christian Philosophy of Food - Book Review


I was thrilled to get my hands on a copy of The Christian Philosophy of Food a few weeks ago! This book by Peter Bringe is great food for thought (pun intended). I found this book to be biblical and balanced on this all-important issue of food. This book is not a cook book. It is not a how-to book. There are no menu suggestions or grocery lists. The book is just what the title claims - The Christian Philosophy of Food.

We all have a "worldview." And each of us has a view/philosophy on food. One thing that I appreciate about Bringe's book is that it is enveloped in Scripture. I think he does a great job of balancing Old Testament Law and New Testament liberty. Too many Christians today cling to the Law or to their Liberty without realizing that God expects us to mesh both. Peter Bringe's book shows value for the Law and for his Liberty.

One quote that I believe shows this value and balance of Law and Liberty is this (and I am taking it out of the middle of a paragraph about our approach to clean and unclean foods):
Our external works are only important as much as they are the outworking of an internal faith. (p. 23)

I say, "Amen!" to that!

What I liked most:
 - there are many helpful analogies in the book. One of these analogies has stuck with me and I think of it daily (which is saying a lot in my current sleep-deprived, forgetful state...) I am not quoting it here, because it is more than a few sentences in length and quite original in conveying how we should look at the addition of animal foods to our diet.

- I like his food pyramid diagram, which sums up his whole philosophy (p. 15); foundation of plant foods, then above that "clean" animals, then the smallest amount belongs to (formerly) unclean animals 

- Bringe's book made me realize how much history, food, and culture are tied together. Here is a good quote from that section of the book:
Something as important as history is not to be artificially separated from life by means of a classroom, but it is something to be integrated into our life. Our culture should have a historic awareness about it, and that includes our food. (p. 34)
Very well said. As a primary example of this, Bringe points to the Passover, and says that "it is not a coincidence that Jesus chose food for the elements by which He is to be remembered." (p.35)

- the book is short and easy to read, only 75 pages long. Even the busiest mommy or daddy can snatch a few minutes to read this book. (With a newborn in my house I should be proof enough of that!)

- the author points out our need for time spent together as a family while we are eating (as well as practicing hospitality). Consider this quote:
We have to get it into our minds that simple and ancient things like eating and conversing as a family are foundational to a Christian culture and society. (p. 37)
- the book is written by a young man who is the product of a homeschooling family (p. 8) and I think it demonstrates well that homeschool kids are not all "unsocialized" or irrelevant

- Bringe holds such a high view of food and its presentation that it really raises the bar for a busy mama of six hungry kiddoes. Also, he makes mention of self-control given by the Holy Spirit and a Christian's ability to curb overeating. Good reminders.

- the book includes many well-chosen quotes by various godly men

- you cannot write about food (even from a biblical worldview standpoint) without running into the area of economics and politics. I personally feel like these areas were handled well and I agreed with the points made

You can read more about Peter Bringe's book, The Christian Philosophy of Food, or order a copy  at his blog.

In full disclosure:
I have never before written a book review for an author that I actually know in real life. I was unsure as to whether or not I should mention our acquaintance with the Bringe family. But I decided that it will add to this review and not take away from it to acknowledge our relationship with the author. The best commendation I can give to their family as a whole and to the author of this particular book is to tell you this... A few months ago when Paul and I were trying to think of families with young men who are growing up and have grown up to love the Lord (who would be a great example to Nelson and our little boys) the first family we thought of was the Bringe family. We have shared meals with them, worshiped with them, and enjoyed their hospitality. In short, we think very highly of Peter Bringe and his whole family. And, it was a delight to read this book.

The giveaway is over - the winner is Janet. Please contact me with your information. My email is


Anonymous said...

You know how much I love to compare ideas on healthy eating, especially from Christian authors. This definitely sounds like a book I would enjoy reading.

Elisabeth said...

I would love to win a copy of this book. I am interested first because I knew the author well many years ago and secondly because I heard a radio interview that was intriguing.

Marilyn said...

Thanks for the informative review. I would like to win this book for three reasons. First, I love to get free stuff. Second, Peter is a cousin of mine. And third, I could probably pay more attention to how and what I eat.

NYLass said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NYLass said...

What a great review!! :O))
Makes me really want to read this book - I so value knowing what the Bible has to say about all things... food most definitely included. Most of the books I have real on this subject are not so user friendly as you have described this one to be and I have yet to read one that follows the biblical philosophy of:

"Our external works are only important as much as they are the outworking of an internal faith. (p. 23)"

Intriguing!!! :O)

Will buy to read... but WILL read this book. Thanks again for the review!

Andrew said...

I would love to win a copy of the book. I know Peter and I would love to learn more about food and what the Bible teaches.


Janet said...

I wasn't able to get a copy of the book when Peter was in our town, but have been saving to get one soon. I look forward to seeing his views on what today is such a controversial subject. A fresh perspective on food choices, Biblical interpretation, and today's culture coming from a young, intelligent, and thinking person has me very curious about his ideas and how he arrived at them.

Mark said...

Thanks for the review. I've recently read Noah Sanders' "Born-Again Dirt" and as a new farmer am interested in learning more about biblical understandings of food, farming, family work, etc. Please enter me in your contest. Thanks!
Mark (

Karen McGuire said...

Maybe I missed it, but is there a place where a person can buy this book? I would like to be sure I could read it - as it sounds very interesting!!
Thank you, Peter, for your efforts.
Karen McGuire

Bethany in mid-MO said...


You can order it here.
Sorry that I did not respond sooner.


Bethany in mid-MO said...

The winner of the giveaway is Janet - please email me with your information.