The Art of Being Creatures

On Being with Krista Tippett, Wendell Berry, and Ellen Davis. In this intimate conversation between Krista and one of her beloved teachers, we ponder the world and our place in it, through sacred text, with fresh eyes.

The Art of Being Creatures

Davis: It seems to me that this is the first and maybe the best clue that we have of what it means for humans to exercise skilled mastery amongst the creatures. That we are the one creature that is conscious that everybody has to eat.

Tippett: Right. I mean, you even write about eating as practical theology. So again, I mean, I think here’s a whole new area that Genesis talks to us about eating as part of being human and as part of being a creature. Eating is something we talk about a lot these days in our culture, right, along with words like “ecology” and “sustainability.”

Davis: I think we are beginning to wake up in this culture from a long period of obliviousness about what we eat. And we’re also stepping out of our completely unprecedented lack of awareness that eating has anything to do with our life with God.

Tippett: And you do put it in very vivid and stark religious terms. I mean, you’ve written, “Every day taking our sustenance from the earth and from the bodies of other animals, we enter deeply into the mystery of creation.” You know, you said, “Eating is practical theology because it gives us an opportunity to honor God with our bodies.” You know, when I read that, that has resonance for so many things that we’re coming back to an awareness of again right now in our culture, even obesity, right?

Wendell Berry and Ellen Davis — The Art of Being Creatures