92210susanblogIf you dare… ask me to talk about my favorite subjects. One would be prayer and the other would be food. Other people like to talk about their kids, T.V. shows, books or politics. I’ll gladly join in on any of the above. But what really gets me going, is great conversation that is spiritual or delicious.

Cathy Brechtelsbauer is an anti-hunger activist in South Dakota. We went out for lunch together and I was oohing and ahhing over a particularly enticing menu. I looked up. Feeling a little guilty, I apologized for being such a foodie. Just minutes before, we were talking about food scarcity among Native Americans in her hometown. She told me that lots of people are drawn to the movement to end hunger, because of our heightened appreciation of food. That’s one smart lady.

The volunteer work I do these days is with the One Acre Fund.  It’s the perfect  cause for an entrepreneur. It was founded by Andrew Youn, a young grad student from Northwestern University Kellogg’s MBA program. He applies business principles instead of charity in his work to end hunger in East Africa. If you want to volunteer for One Acre Fund, you have to create your own job. So I came up with this idea to invite experts to speak to supporters and guests about hunger and food. Professor Robert Paarlberg was the speaker yesterday at a Lunch & Learn I hosted.

His talk was fascinating. He wrote a book on the politics of food.  Among his many good points, was one that I can’t stop thinking about: Foods are engineered to hit our bliss point.  Texture and precise amounts of sweet, salty and greasy is added to our foods, so we will become addicted. I know a little something about craving junk food. White Castle had me in mind, when advertising their square little hamburgers on gray mushy buns, with the slogan “what you crave.”

Naturally, I began to think about my own bliss points. Taking that first bite of a Lou Malnati's pizza is a bliss point for me. Praying with the perfect prayer is a bliss point for me. How can prayer writers engineer words and sentiments, with enough precision to hit a woman’s bliss point? Surely it’s logical to assume, like a commercial food processor, we can take advantage of the brain’s craving for gratification through prayer.

Countless studies have shown that prayer brings contentment and a sense of well-being. Is prayer just another form of self-help or is it something more? Isn’t the great big idea behind prayer to remind us that there is One greater than ourselves? This is what happens when you start talking. Good questions come up and the next thing you know, you’re having a great conversation that’s spiritual and delicious.

With Me

Here beside You, I am known.
You have the words I cannot find.
You know the truths I will not speak.
You offer me peace I thought was out of reach.
You are my warmest companion, my perfect joy.

- Abigail Wurdeman


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