Forsaking Membership in Magical Church

Imagine a meal set out before a starving crowd. It is obvious someone must take control as there is only so much food to go around and people are eager to grab the food first. To avoid a stampede, stronger individuals or those who get there first, through “altruism,” take control of the food.  They put the food in a sealed room and limit access to qualified members. Those able to sit properly can receive preliminary training so as to enter the Civilized Eaters Society (CEASE). Those who show themselves sincerely interested in eating through their willingness to submit to the authority of Trained Eaters (TEATS) are considered as Candidate Eaters (CANEATS). Through a 12-step program including Forkery (history and use of the fork), Knavery (use of the cutting tool), Spooning (information only for members), one can attain to Novice Eater, Eater Ordinanaire, Eater in Residence, and for those called not only to eating but food control they might be considered for Vocational Eating. These special individuals, called to CEASE Leadership, undergo years of training in food preparation, secret recipes, and incantations, in which ordinary food is rendered eatable.

According to CEASE tradition, an unfortunate eating incident with the Food Supplier resulted in the death of the first eaters. Now the only reliable food source is through CEASE TEATS. CEASE controls unwarranted eating from other sources (small garden plots) by declaring it poisoned ordinary food (POOF).  Only CEASE TEATS have the power, training, recipes, and incantations, necessary to provide life-giving sustenance from POOF. POOF is transformed into the eatable kind at special Bake Offs, presided over by Top TEATS, shrouded in special aprons and tall hats which, according to size and color, mark the Order of TEATS Extraordinaire. 

For some reason this special treatment of the TEATS helps satiate the anger of the Food Supplier who requires that TEATS be highly honored and well fed – at least according to CEASE Tradition which only Top TEATS have authority to understand. To appease the anger of the Food Supplier, food has to be specially blended, baked, and chanted over, by Top TEATS – who, it goes without saying, eat first and most at the Bake Offs. TEATS insist that POOF kills and they point to the fact that the Food Supplier himself came to demonstrate how angry he was by eating POOF, which killed him.

Not everyone is convinced the Food Supplier is placated by the Bake Offs and some have even suggested that there is nothing wrong with the food and that the Food Supplier is not angry at all.  These DEPOOFERS say it was not the POOF, nor that the Food Supplier is angry (let alone committing suicide), but that the very attempt to seize control of the food supply by CEASE and its predecessor (PRECEASE) left everyone starving. The Food Supplier came to feed the hungry and declare the food free and unlimited but was killed by those who wanted to control supply and demand. His death was the seed for an endless food supply. CEASE, according to the DEPOOFERS, cut off access to the true message of the Food Supplier by creating the myth of limited supply which they control through their magic.

Now imagine a different community gathered around another table: Come eat, it is not our food that is offered and it is not our place to debar or keep anyone from eating nor is it our place to invite. It is the Lord’s Table and he is the Host who says to all, come eat and drink all of you.[1]  

[1] For Cash and Sarah.

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Author: Paul Axton

Paul V. Axton spent 30 years in higher education teaching theology, philosophy, and Bible. Paul’s Ph.D. work and book bring together biblical and psychoanalytic understandings of peace and the blog, podcast, and PBI are shaped by this emphasis.

One thought on “Forsaking Membership in Magical Church”

  1. Love this. A hope-filled, Orwellian parable to bring tears to my eyes multiple times throughout the workday.
    Thank you for the reminder.

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