Following Rocky Balboa into the Wilderness of Lent

Among the many roots of the season of Lent is the remembrance that Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness at the beginning of his ministry. As we enter into our own 40 days of discipline, it would be good to ask what, exactly, Jesus was going out to the desert to do? The answers in the history of interpretation are varied. To fast, to pray, to reflect—those were certainly among Jesus’s activities, but to what purpose? The best answers and analogies may come not from Bible commentaries, but from mo … [Read more...]

Becoming God Adapted

I like long races--ultramarathons, half-Ironman and Ironman triathlons, hundred mile bike rides.  Endurance, more than speed, is my game.  As any endurance athlete knows nutrition is key to a good race.  I once heard an ultramarathoner describe racing 26.2 mile plus distances as an eating contest with some running thrown in.  Too much, too little, the wrong mix can cause an endurance athlete to fall short of the goal and perhaps even fail to finish the race.  Its for that reason that many endu … [Read more...]

Don’t Ruin Your Appetite: Fasting Through Lent

On Wednesdays and Fridays I am hungry, but it is on those days that I am closest to being satisfied.  On the Wednesdays and Fridays of Lent I fast, following the ancient Christian tradition of abstaining from all caloric foods and drinks twice weekly.  This was a tradition regained by the early Methodists with their efforts to reinvigorate Christianity as a practice—in choosing this twice weekly fast I am in good company.There are of course a number of things I could have taken on to train to … [Read more...]

Fast Day

Today try fasting from all food or caloric drinks, but also try to fast from busyness.  A day of fasting is a day for quiet and contemplation--a kind of rest day for the body and mind.  In this time of frantic holiday life it is a good time to move into this kind of rest. … [Read more...]

A Day for Patience

Fast from all food and caloric drinks until 5 PM.  Among the many lessons of fasting, patience is a key one.  As the day goes on and hunger grows the desire for food will also grow.  But we must wait, we must learn to be patient in the fulfilling of this desire.  In fasting deliberately for one day we are training ourselves to be patient for other times when we must put our desires on hold and wait. … [Read more...]

Friday Fast

Fast from all food and caloric drinks until 5 PM.  Remember that a fast is not something that is meant to weaken us but is rather intended to bring us strength.  Just as lifting weights tears down muscle and makes them temporarily weaker, when we recover from the stress of the lift we are stronger.  It is the same with fasting.  Writer Dallas Willard has pointed out that when Jesus faced Satan in the desert after a forty day fast it wasn't because Jesus was weak--God had been strengthening him to … [Read more...]

Friday Fast

Eat nothing today and don't drink anything with calories or sweetness until 5 PM.Throughout the day, keep a running list of your cravings, both spiritual and culinary.  Do you crave donuts and then find yourself wanting to be entertained?  Do you hunger for bread?  And crave rest?  At the end of the day compare your cravings for food and your spiritual cravings.  What do they have to say about each other? … [Read more...]

Friday Fast

The Exercise:Eat no food and drink nothing with calories until 5 PMThe Why: Fasting helps us to learn to both control our hungers and to redirect them.  It requires a higher level of consciousness to fast, recognizing all of the times throughout the day when we eat mindlessly.  By fasting we make eating an intentional act and we turn our hunger to our first food, which is God. … [Read more...]