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Posted in: Community, Excellence, Generosity, Growth, Grow Together

02.10.22 ( Jennifer Elrod )


Today, I lied. 

I told someone I didn’t like potlucks. 

The potlucks I’m referring to are the types where you commit to the easiest item on the list and throw something together at the last minute. 

After a year of learning and teaching food justice courses, I have actually grown to love potlucks. And more specifically, potluck theology. Potluck theology is my jam, or the spread I love!

Potluck theology is coined, in my opinion, by Dr. Joyce del Rosario. At least, it’s her description formed by Filipino culture that I subscribe to, in addition to considering her a Tita striving forward in the career arena. 

“Potluck theology is about bringing our best to the table and partaking of all of each other’s best offerings. There is a fullness that happens when we share our best with one another and try things that aren’t natural or familiar to us. There is discovery and delight that happens. There is a joy when we know that what we bring to the table matters.”

There is something beautiful about bringing your best dish to the table. For me, potlucks used to be about control, assigning what people could bring or taking the main dish myself. The more I’ve learned, the more I see connections between potlucks and the image of us all being a part of the body of Jesus Christ. We all have a role to play and have something significant to offer. It’s also not about committing to bringing the Oreos or the rotisserie chicken (the easiest store bought items) but wanting to bring your best offering to the table, like your grandma’s lumpia or your mom’s brown sugared sweet potatoes, that allow sweet memories to fondly flood your mind. I also want to acknowledge that sometimes you need to just show up to be fed physically and emotionally, and being able to communicate where you are at and what you need presently is both important and impactful. There are many times where I have been invited to gatherings and been told to simply "come as you are," and interestingly enough, it was in those moments where I didn’t have much to offer outside of my presence, and in communicating where I was at, I felt seen, welcomed and fed. 

Potlucks give us the opportunity to make community the center focus, where every person in attendance is the guest of honor. There is beauty and adventure in trying different dishes, expanding our minds and palettes. So I challenge you to take a look at your calendar, schedule a potluck with your community and begin practicing your best or most nostalgic dish that tells a story of significance to you.

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About the Author
Jennifer has been a part of the ONE&ALL Community for over ten years. She has a Master of Arts in Management and currently works as a tax consultant. In her free time, she loves reading Colleen Hoover books, teaching about food justice & racial reconciliation, drinking really good coffee, writing Yelp reviews, and traveling. She loves to laugh, has a huge heart for serving others, and is obsessed with reality television.

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