Fast

“In an age of Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken, gluttony wins the day.  We medicate ourselves with food and govern our lives around meals…  Fasting returns to god the worship we offer to food… fasting exposes my strenuous death grip on the things of this world.”

-Christian George, Godology pg 82

These phrases resonated with my very limited experiences with fasting.  For me, fasting is also a reminder of how dependent on god.  Food is so easy in our culture.  It’s easy to get disconnected from what a miracle this convenience is.  It’s easy to get disconnected from how fragile and dependent we are.

And that first meal after a fast: that’s a cause for rejoicing in God, even if it’s just a few crackers and cheese.

The thing is, food isn’t the only thing that we offer worship to that rightfully belongs to God.  Food isn’t the only way we depend on God.  Food isn’t the only thing that comes easily (perhaps too easily) in our culture.

And so this leads to a question:

Should we fast from other things?

There are some things which are just bad in general.  Things that we should abstain from all the time.  I’m not talking about them.

I’m wondering if it’s worthwhile to abstain from things as an act of worship, as a reminder of the fact that they are not ultimate, as a reminder that God provides them, as a reminder that we are more than just a bag of our own needs, as an oppurtunity to appreciate whatever gift it is once I resume it.

I sometimes hear people talking this way, and they get general in a way that I don’t think would work for me.  If I said I was going to fast from selfishness, or anger, or whatever, it would just become an exercise in feeling good or bad about myself.  It would be easy to rationalize everything, or nothing, as belonging to the category I’m staying away from.

As Summer Vacation begins I’ve been finding myself looking for ways to make this a Godly, productive time.  I’ve been contemplating some sort-of schedule of fasting.  Maybe I’ll fast from a different thing every day.  Maybe I’ll pick one day a week for my fasts through the Summer.

Some of the things that belong on this list would vary from person to person.  Nonetheless, I’d love some replies to this post.   I’d love to hear what your opinion as on the whole project and if you’ve got anything to add to this list.  Here’s the beginning of my list:

Food

caffienne

the internet

writing

talking

joking around/silliness/ devising puns

reading (I probably ought to exempt The Bible from this)

driving

engaging in politics

blogging

emailing

talking on the phone

watching tv

listening to music

eating junk food

eating fast food

drinking soda

As I contemplate this, it occurs to me that I’m drifting into a sort-of Lent, “What are you giving up?” territory.  I don’t think that this is a bad thing.  I’m on board with the further idea that these tiny little sacrifices might focus my mind some on the cross.  Sometimes this all becomes some weird form of punishment, which would not be my intent, but in the end, these things end up getting a little bit blurry.

What do you think?

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jeffsdeepthoughts

The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

5 thoughts on “Fast”

  1. Uhhhmmm… “yes” to which question?
    Or did you smile your silly grin as you wrote that, amusing yourself by answering “yes” to a post with like 87 different questions?

    On an unrelated note:
    Ironically, or fittingly, or whatever, as I continued to read the book quoted in the beginning of this post, the author covered several of the topics I explored. He holds the position that we should fast from other things and that part of the reason to do this is to remind ourselves of our dependence on God.

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  2. Fasting is never a self-punishment.
    Fasting is never a way to build our heavenly bank account.
    Fasting is an act of worship, giving back what we always knew never really belonged to us, so that God can bestow on us something greater, Himself.
    Fasting is an act of hospitality, cleaning out, emptying some organ or attribute of us, so that God can have more room during His visit.
    Fasting is always a deliberate spending, even wasting, of our lives on the slim chance that we might buy the world for God.
    Fasting is always an act of abandonment, even of desertion, of what we thought or have been told was our post or position in life, in the hope that we will be proven wrong after all, and find that God alone was right.
    Fasting has little to do with food, but we do sometimes forget to eat while we’re doing it.

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  3. Thanks, Marty, for the award!

    If only I had an extra copy of my most famous book, “The Book I Didn’t Write, A History of the Life of the Most Active Man the World Has Ever Seen, From Its Beginning to Its End,” I would send you a personally autographed copy.

    Nah, you probably already have one! (Without my illiterate scribble inside.)

    Greece and pace!

    Romanos

    P.S.: If you can remember comatose, you can remember Romanos.

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