Wednesday, September 05, 2007

In the News: 40-Day Fast

Liberal religious leaders will begin a 40-day fast this week (Sept. 6) to advocate for legislation that would cancel the debts of the world's 67 poorest countries.

Church Groups Push for Debt Relief

Good for them. Notice the religious leaders taking part in this project aren't labeled as conservative. Somehow social activist = liberal Christian nowadays. I'm working on a post about this subject that I will post at a later date, so I won't elaborate just yet.

5 comments:

Kansas Bob said...

I appreciated the link and bringing this on my radar. I kind-of liked this comment on the news:

"I for one have no intention of giving up food (which I enjoy) for forty days so that some countries can skip paying their debts. I think the whole question of countries paying their debts is best left to those who made the loans in the first place, in this case, the governments in question. I think fasting is a useful and Biblical tool, but it is to be used for personal spiritual advancement, not to try to force others to do your bidding. So, pass the hamburgers, please, and let the nations involved collect or not collect the debts owed to them as they are able."

I also struggle with thses kinds of "fasts" and wonder how God responds to them ... will He cause world leaders to rethink their policies ... should He? Interesting thoughts for an early Monday morning.

stephanie said...

I read this very differently from you and the comment you put here. I don't see these leaders doing this to "change God's mind" as the comment implies, but they are doing it to call attention to the bill. The article even states: "to advocate for legislation". As is we could change God's mind... people have tried:

"In the morning some of the Jews made a plan to kill Paul, and they took an oath not to eat or drink anything until they had killed him. They went to the leading priests and the older Jewish leaders and said, 'We have taken an oath not to eat or drink until we have killed Paul'" (Acts 23:12,14).

God didn't allow their plan to work.

But this discussion brings up an interesting question, "Should fasting be used for anything other than this "spiritual advancement" the commenter speaks of?

ptg said...

No, it shouldn't. Fasting just to get a rise out of god is wrong. Besides, it is simply too medieval. Two more days in the lousy hair shirt, Steph.

Kansas Bob said...

What about this from Matthew 6:

" 16"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

I am not saying that I am anti-corporate-fasts ... just think that these often go against the spirit of this passage.

I think that fasting is more about us than it is about God. It can help us to focus and 'hear' better ... but not in a formula-type fashion ... sometimes we fast and nothing seemingly happens.

stephanie said...

I agree that they go against the spirit of the passage. But why must fasting only be a spiritual exercise? Why can't it be a protest of sorts? Why can't it be about getting a rise out of some politicians?

(Maybe I can protest my hair shirt punishment by fasting...)

In the case of this story though, because the leaders are Christians, it's easy to want to define it as being a spiritual exercise. I'm just not sure that's who they are intending it.