Invitations to dinner are important. (A-Z Blogging Challenge)

It didn't take me long to learn that in college, invitations to dinner are important.  You can only eat in the cafeteria so many meals in a row before you're ready for a change in scenery.  And if you're a proper college student, you can't exactly afford Olive Garden or McDonald's on a regular basis, so you have to rely on the kindness of others.

But it's really more than that.  Meals are important.  Meals were important in the Bible.  Choosing to eat with someone is significant, even if it's not as significant as it was in the Bible.  You're bringing them deeper into your life.  Working with someone or going to school with someone is one thing, but when you offer or accept an invitation to eat with someone, you're stepping out of previous roles.

If they're cooking, you're stepping into a place of trust.  Hopefully you won't get food poisoning!

But really, you're not going for the sole purpose of eating.  There is conversation--a back and forth of ideas, history, and culture.

Particularly, I think of meals I ate with people not from the United States.  My husband (who is from Barbados, an island in the Caribbean) and I knew several people from Africa, and these people had people over to eat.

This is how I learned the little bit about African food.  Forks and spoons were not allowed unless they had mercy on us.  Everything was eaten with your hands, even if it probably would have been much easier to eat with a spoon

I think the most important thing I learned at these meals is that the world is bigger than what I was used to.  Oh, I knew that, but I'm not sure I really knew that.  Experiencing it in their food, their stories, and their practice opened my eyes to my own life.  Are forks really necessary?  (Yes, I think so.)  Is the way we do church the best or only way to do church?  It also opened my eyes to my presuppositions of how other countries live.  Do Africans see lions chasing dinner outside their front doors?  Maybe some of them did, but others were from large cities bigger than our college town.  So I guess what I learned in the regard is to not make assumptions.  Assumptions make you look ignorant.

What lessons have you learned from eating with other people?

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