NTN4320EN - Global Perspectives on Health, Illness, and Food

Course description

Introduces cultural perspectives on food, and its relationship to health and illness. Using visual presentations, group discussions, and readings, students gain basic knowledge of assessing food customs and nutrition. Students will participate in a cross-cultural meal / food custom, and present findings related to health and ministry implications.

How this course benefits students

Everyone eats! Food can become an important bridge to, or hindrance for, sharing the Gospel. By investigating specific food-related beliefs and customs, students learn terms, and gain insight into health, illness, and nutrition expressions. Readings provide references and current research findings. Students engage in a food custom with the aim of increasing their awareness of and appreciation for diversity in food-related choices and practices.

Why this course is important

Food is essential, as well as symbolic. Jesus actively engaged in Passover, and encouraged his followers to keep Communion. Respect for customs and practices involving food can serve as a bridge for, or a barrier to, sharing the Gospel. By understanding the social and cultural reasons for food choices, Christians can connect with people at a foundational level. This course is designed to assist the lay person interested in creating and/or assisting with food and/or health related ministry in a cross-cultural setting.

Credit hours
3 hours
Subject area
Educational level
Learning type
Upcoming terms
* Schedule subject to change. Please contact the Registrar's office with schedule questions.

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

This course approaches food consumption from a biblical perspective, including appropriate social interaction and respect for cultural practices.

Missionally driven

Food customs are approached from a mission focus, using them as a bridge for the Gospel.

Contextually informed

Social, political, and economic influences for the food custom are explored, as are the nutrition implications.

Interculturally focused

Course content looks at specific food customs in their cultural context.

Practically minded

Course will provide practical considerations and strategies for harnessing food beliefs and customs to advance the Gospel.

Experientially transformed

Students will engage in a food custom, compare it with personal practices, and apply content to a health and/or food ministry scenario.