Friday, January 7, 2011
Thomas Nelson, 2009
Read for the Ebook Challenge
Source: Received as a free ebook from booksneeze in exchange for an honest review.
I wanted to read this because I've been thinking about my relationship with food lately and because I didn't know much about fasting, biblically and in more modern times. I was hoping to learn a lot more through reading this book--and I did!
First McKnight outlines why we fast. There are two main reasons; one is in response to a grievous spiritual moment such as a recognition of our own sin or death of a family member. The other main reason is through scheduled weekly fasting. Early Christians generally fasted on Wednesday and Friday to distinguish themselves from Jews fasting on Monday and Thursday. The most important point is to not fast in order to get something from God-that is exactly the wrong mindset to have. The idea of weekly fasts really intrigues and I'm thinking of implementing that this year.
Another point McKnight makes is about how many Westerners experience a disconnect between body and soul which hinders them when practicing this spiritual discipline. Oftentimes the body is considered unimportant and thus fasting is not practiced. This is wrong, argues McKnight; we need to bring the body and soul together, something that fasting can do.
Of course, fasting can also be dangerous and McKnight includes a chapter about the health risks excessive fasting can impose. It might be wise to fast from breakfast to dinner, which is how I'm going to start, rather than just jump into long-term fasting. That would be dangerous to your health! If there are any health concerns, a doctor should be consulted.
Overall: An intriguing and illuminating look at the ancient practice of fasting: how it was practiced and how we might practice fasting now. I want to incorporate fasting in to my spiritual journey.
Cover: I'm not a big fan of the picture; I chose the book solely based on the concept.