Fasting: fasting as Body Talk in the Christian Tradition
The Ancient Practices Series (Phylis Tickle series editor)
315 KB mobi edition
Thomas Nelson, 2009
Fasting isn’t a popular spiritual discipline. It’s not the sort of thing people get excited about: feasting, yes; but fasting, no. Particularly at this time of year!
This excellent book by Scot McKnight, part of The Ancient Practices Series under the general editorship of Phyllis Tickle, takes a fresh look at fasting.
Is fasting a form of trying to twist God’s arm? Is it a way of showing God how serious we are? No. McKnight stresses that fasting isn’t a manipulative tool that guarantees results. Indeed results are not important. This approach is refreshingly contrary to many other books on fasting that focus on the benefits and rewards of fasting. McKnight rightly stress that fasting is a response - a response to a grievous 'sacred moment'. These moments include death, grief, impending or actual disaster, the absence of justice, a lack of holiness and so on.
The book is in two main parts: Spirituality and fasting and Wisdom and fasting. The first looks at different aspects of fasting as ... the second at fasting and... . He notes that fasting is not something we should do lightly as it is potentially damaging to the body. The first part looks at the theology of fasting and the second the practice of fasting.
For many fasting is a way of denying the body so they can focus on the so-called ‘spiritual’; it is for many an outworking of a nature/ grace dualism. However, McKnight contends that that fasting is not popular because we have exiled the body from spirituality. He is wanting an embodied form of spirituality. A spirit/ body dualism has denied the body and so fasting, a bodily function, has been ignored. Rather than denying the body, the kind of fasting that McKnight stresses is one that embraces the body.
There is a brief study guide and a list of recommended reading.
This is certainly the best book I've read on fasting.
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