Rethinking Your Lenten Fast

On Sunday Seedbed published a blog post by me on the subject of Lenten fasting.  Go check it out HERE  if that sounds interesting.

Here’s the conclusion:

Rather than merely taking a temporary respite from some minor personal pleasure, perhaps we should see this Lenten season as an opportunity to commence a “perpetual fast” from “inferior appetites,” such as food that we know to be destructive of our health. At a minimum, might we not be able to identify one or two things that we know to be harmful to our health, and in the spirit of the solemnity of Lent begin the process of removing them from our lives altogether?

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7 comments on “Rethinking Your Lenten Fast

  1. Bill, interesting point on fasting. I am not one to fast during the Lenten season. During my growing up years it was as you stated with giving up usually candy and gum and splurging on Easter Sunday. Candy was not something I really craved as a kid and I never chewed gum so it was a moot point for me. Over the course of my life I have fasted for spiritual reasons some were up to a week with only water. I’m talking just for me now and not in any way degrading the fasting concept. I didn’t find a clearness of mind or a closer relationship with God. So much of my focus was on being hungry that the main focus on the spiritual aspect was lost. I have not given up fasting but just do it in moderation. I do like your thoughts about reflecting on a lifestyle change with food. Not to just forgo food for awhile and binge when it’s over. That even seems to be the actions of dieters as well. They lose the weight and then go back to the way they ate before dieting only to gain the weight all back.

    Thanks for being the light in a dark world on the subject of how important good food is for healthful living. Have a great Lenten fasting day.

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    • Bill says:

      Thanks Dave. It seems to me that if you consider the things people “give up for Lent” they are often things they ought to give up forever. They choose them because they know they’re bad for them. It seems to me that if we’re going to exercise the discipline to abstain from something, we ought to choose something we want to give up forever, not just for 40 days. I like the idea of “perpetual fasts” from stuff that ought not be consumed ever.

      And of course giving up something like Starbucks or gummy bears sort of makes a mockery of the historic practice of Lenten fasting/abstinence. Consider Ramadan (which many scholars believe derived from ancient Christian practices): Muslims give up all food from sunrise to sunset for a month, just as early Christians once did. I’m not suggesting we ought to go back to that, but it is hard for me to see giving up something like Facebook (temporarily) as a act of piety. But maybe I’m just being cranky. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. avwalters says:

    I understand that recent research on fasting shows that it can stimulate the production of stem cells. Maybe that kind of reflective restraint from one’s usual appetites always had a basis in curative thinking. Sure beats putting a pebble in your shoe.

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    • Bill says:

      That’s very interesting. It makes me wonder about the origin of fasting as a religious discipline. It is practiced in many traditions, not all of which are derivative of each other. We’ve seen our dog fast (voluntarily) as part of her healing process.

      It’s also interesting that people often fast during distress. We tend to lose our appetites during times of emotional distress or anxiety. What religious people may do as a spiritual discipline under those circumstances, others will do simply because they have no appetite.

      Liked by 1 person

      • avwalters says:

        I have fasted for a number of reasons, but mostly, diagnostically, to determine the culprit in food allergies. I can attest to the euphoria that comes with fasting (when you are adequately hydrated.) It does not surprise me that there heretofore unrecognized health benefits AND that it fits into a framework of religious expression.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Well said Sir! You are indeed a man of many talents, Mr. Guerrant…

    Liked by 1 person

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