So Nimm Denn Meine Hande...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


On a day that I'm fasting, of all things, I get talking about this with my prof in class. Apparently we both think Das Dutchmen Essenhaus is the greatest restaurant in the world. What is going on? Sheesh! ARGH! Until Next Time,

The Armchair Theologian


Blogger lewis said...

Christians who facetiously fast in public annoy me.

All of the heros of fasting within the Bible removed themselves from society for the time of their fast. Relying instead on humility and solitude.

1:43 PM

Blogger michael lewis said...

Oops, blogger gets weird sometimes. I'm not hiding in anonymity. You can now see my profile and find my blog.

1:45 PM

Blogger The Armchair Theologian said...

Is a blog public? Seeing that only 7 people read this blog, I thought it WASN'T public. I don't advertise my fasting in public, but I did share a funny situation with the 7 people that read this blog that apparently 6 of them could identify with...

There's 3 in Virginia, 1 in Minneapolis, 1 in Saskatoon (or two), and 1 in Victoria...and yourself in Lethbridge makes 7.

(Nobody in California even KNOWS that I have this blog, except for maybe 4 people [1 of which has ever ACTUALLY been here but doesn't frequent this blog]).

I didn't think that posting on my blog was "blowing my horn" and displaying my rightouesness...if it makes you feel better I failed miserably and broke the fast when my prof kept going ON and ON about the various mouth watering food at Das Dutchmen Essenhaus. I'm a miserable fasting failure.

Just out of curiousity, can you give some scriptural support for your bizarre blanket statement about ALL the heroes of fasting? Beyond that, can you give me any support for the idea of "heroes of fasting"? Does the Bible ever lift people up FOR fasting, or is fasting a means to an end for which they are esteemed?

4:32 PM

Blogger michael lewis said...

At first thought, there would only be three "heros", Moses, Elijah, and Jesus, each attaining heroic status by fasting for 40 days (Moses did this twice). There are others of note, but the shorter fasts are not all that impressive, as it wouldn't really take much to complete them, and when ordered by a monarch or leader, the enforcement of the fast becomes part of a social contract, so fear of breaking the fast of the social contract becomes a greater deterrent than lust for food.

Isaiah 58:5-7 is likely the best guide to fasting. Though by no means is this list conclusive.

Modern fasting may also include medical purposes (fighting/curing obesity, purging or cleansing), which is just as much an oppressive issue as anything to which Isaiah could have been referring. As well many Christians participate in a limited fast during Lent (chocolate, sugar, television, etc.).

The infamously popular 30 hour famine has nearly desecrated the fast, rendering it spiritually impotent. (I do recall a time when this was actually called a 30 hour fast, which is even worse of a label than what it currently has.) Though the good benefits are to raise awareness of the non-first-world continuous plight of hunger, possibly among other social injustices, and to raise money to....I don't know, buy food for Malawian orphans not adopted by Madonna?....the entire event is typically romanticised and made into some fun event, akin to bowling night or laser tag Saturday afternoon.

As with most other youth events, many of the participants return to their selfish hedonistic tendencies within days or hours of being so apparently humble. It's kind of a drug for Christians: the spiritual high of doing some thing that is supposedly of value for others. It's really a smaller problem of a bigger model which the post-modern church adopted from the modern church and never did anything to improve upon the mistakes, instead having propagated those same mistakes.

There is almost a perverse desire in many Christians to set themselves up to fail! It's easier to wallow in misery than to not. A fast is planned at a time when one knows one MUST interact with others. That's just stupid! Blood sugar levels affect EVERYONE. Most people become irritated and cranky when sugar levels become low. Seriously, what is the point of a fast in which you know you will eventually be an ass to someone? Regardless of that, the craving to fail is often just as great as the lust for food! We are taught that it is good to confess our failings to each other, and many do it with such zeal, I wonder if a church ought to start a 12 steps for the repeatedly continuous enthusiastically failed pious Christian!!

As for being lifted up through fasting, refer back to the Isaiah verse. If a fast was commenced for one of those reasons, and the end was met, then I suppose the faster would have been lifted up. Or perhaps humbled that the fast was answered with action on the part of God. But then again, if the fast was not answered, humility would still be felt, but for not being good enough to cause action on the part of God.

The fast of abstaining from food and/or water is not unique to Christianity; it is common to most religions. The reasons are varied, but generally it is in acknowledgement of some festival or holiday, or due to some other event within the community.

And lastly, for the Christian, Jesus included an instruction on fasting within his Discourse on Ostentation, specifically Matthew 6:16-18. Fasting should be carried out as such: first to not let anyone else know that one is fasting, and second, to keep it secret for which one may receive reward from God.

If it's supposed to be a secret and no one else should know, then posting it on a blog defeats those two recommendations, regardless of the geographic location of the people who read the blog.

6:29 PM


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