Subversive Table Fellowship

noel_moules 2

In just under a week, Noel Moules, co-founder of the Anabaptist Network in the U.K. will be joining us in Abbotsford to share 2 days of teaching and fellowship.  He wrote a very provocative book last year entitled “Fingerprints of Fire… Footsteps of Peace.”  Below is a wonderful excerpt on what subversive table fellowship is, and more importantly he provokes us into thinking what it could look like in our particular time and place.  Important words, as it is easy to speak that Jesus shared a meal with prostitutes and other such lowly first century Palestinian folk, and not invite those similarly ostracized by our society to our tables.  Myself included.

Needless to say, it is going to be a wonderfully provocative time with Noel Moules here in the Fraser Valley.

Much of his teaching took place during a shared meal; among other things he used its imagery as a picture of the future.  He scandalised public opinion by regularly ‘eating with tax collectors and sinners’, shattering social boundaries, affirming access to God without intermediaries and revolutionising the popular ideas of holiness and purity.

One Jewish scholar has noted that this activity above all others is what marked Jesus out from his contemporaries: ‘He took his stand among the pariahs of his world, those despised by the respectable.  Sinners were his table companions and the ostracised tax collector and prostitute friends.

To sit at table with someone is an expression of intimacy and fellowship, to invite someone to a meal is to honour them and express trust and acceptance.  In this way prostitutes find forgiveness; tax collectors are liberated from their ill-gotten wealth and inspired to distribute it to the poor and the hungry are fed.  this is our example.

What would subversive table fellowship in your neighbourhood look like?

Noel Moules, “Fingerprints of Fire… Footsteps of Peace: A Spiritual Manifesto from a Jesus Perspective” page 168.



  1. Jordan · June 4, 2013

    Dude, are you following Brian Zahnd on Twitter? You should be, and you should listen to his sermons on his church website, Word of Life Church ( He speaks about this a lot – definitely my favorite American pastor right now. A recent tweet: ‘One of the accomplishments of Christ was to shift the center of God’s redemptive work from the Temple to the Table.’

    • Chris Lenshyn · June 4, 2013

      That is a great line! Makes me reflect on who I eat with! Ugh!

  2. Elsie Hannah Ruth Rempel · June 5, 2013

    Noel is with us in Winnipeg today, and yes, you will enjoy your time with him in 2 weeks. Btw, I really like your recent blogs. They connect well with my oldest son’s activities.

    Elsie Rempel
    Formation Consultant
    Mennonite Church Canada

    600 Shaftesbury Blvd.
    Winnipeg, MB R3P 0M4
    P: Toll free: 1 866 888 6785
    For samples of resources I write see:
    Faith Bytes: Elsie Spins a Blog,
    Please Pass the Faith,
    Calling and Growing Congregational Leaders,
    My Worship ‘n Colour Book,

    “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation in Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 3:11

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