The Native Tourist
reformed/biblical observations on Christianity and culture

Friday, December 29, 2006
Fast Times
From an article by Andy Crouch on his Christian Vision Project site:

Frederica and her family fast twice a week, a practice that goes back to the earliest Christian centuries and an ancient discipleship manual called the Didache. Along with Orthodox Christians around the world, the Mathewes-Greens observe this fast every Wednesday and Friday. It's not total abstinence from all food, but rather avoidance of foods that come from animals, whether meat, eggs, or dairy products—what we now would call a vegan diet.

Long before anyone invented the word vegan, Christians called this diet the "Daniel fast"—because it essentially replicates the diet Daniel and his friends adopted upon arrival in Babylon. The Christian version of the Daniel fast does not require us to abstain permanently from meat, Frederica pointed out. But it is a twice-weekly reminder that we are in exile and that our use of animals for food is itself tainted with echoes of the Fall. The Daniel fast is not just a discipline to develop self-control and dependence on God; it is a reminder that the abundance we enjoy cannot, in this life, be entirely separated from the alienation we endure from God and from God's creatures. It is a small act of reorientation, a small act of exilic consciousness in the middle of every week.

I'm not sure about having an "exilic" consciousness, but the idea of the Daniel Fast is intreguing. Anything that promotes deliberate living and self-consciously resisting the pull of anti-Christian culture that surrounds us is worth considering.