Author Topic: It's funny about fasting  (Read 800 times)

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Offline Schultz

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It's funny about fasting
« on: January 13, 2010, 11:58:38 AM »
So, today, my wife decides that she thinks she would like to do a primarily vegetarian diet because she thinks it might help her feel better (she's got a bunch of minor health issues that add up to fatigue/overall pain sometimes).

"But I already practically do that," I say.

"You do?" she asks.

"Yes.  You do realize that all those Wednesdays and Fridays add up, plus the four main fasting periods, plus the other couple fasting days, to over 200 days a year to no meat.  Most of those days are no dairy, too, although I'm pretty lax about that myself.  We already have a 'primarily vegetarian diet'.  And I'm not a monk so I'm not giving up meat when I can eat it."

"Hm.  I guess you're right.  Let's talk about this more later."

=====================

It truly amuses me how people will come up with all sorts of reasons to fast from various food items but shake their heads in disbelief when Orthodox Christians tell people of their fasting practices.  It also amazes me at how thorough and holistic the Orthodox approach to fasting is and how, if done properly, we reap not only the physical benefits of these "vegan cleansing periods" (as one of my wife's friends does on occasion) but the spiritual benefits, as well.

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Offline EofK

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Re: It's funny about fasting
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2010, 01:11:08 PM »
I was just thinking about this yesterday when a friend of mine was saying she had started a three week fast with her church (I think it's a non-denom church, but closer to the charismatic side).  It seems like a lot of people try to do diets that have some form of fasting that cannot be sustainable for more than a few weeks, which is terribly unhealthy and disheartening when you realize you just can't live on leek soup forever.  I don't fully understand the Protestant form of fasting as I came from a Southern Baptist background and fasting is not having fried chicken one meal.   :laugh:

But yeah, you're right when you say those same people will act like it's really weird when we keep Orthodox fasts.  I think it just comes from the general discomfort of talking about religious dietary rules and trying not to offend someone. 
Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. -- Douglas Adams

Offline Robb

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Re: It's funny about fasting
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2010, 05:12:26 PM »
Fasting is tough for people in our society.  Most were raised to never deny themselves anything that was within their means to have, especially something as easy to obtain like food.  A lot of people, myself included, have a real struggle with any type of self denial.  Fasting may be an ancient practice found in all religions, but it is one that is rarely heard from, even from the religions, in our modern, westernized, culture. 

I grew up an RC and, with the exception of Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and an hour before receiving communion, we never had to fast at all.  The only times we had to abstain were Fridays in Lent (of the great variety).  That's around 6 days a year which one was required to deny themselves any type of food.  At one time, the RCC had very similar fasting and abstinence rules as the Orthodox due today, but these were gradually modified out of existence over the centuries.  It is very hard for a perwho grew up in this type of religious environment to all of the sudden jump into a religion that emphasizes almost constant fasting and abstinence. 

Men may dislike truth, men may find truth offensive and inconvenient, men may persecute the truth, subvert it, try by law to suppress it. But to maintain that men have the final power over truth is blasphemy, and the last delusion. Truth lives forever, men do not.
-- Gustave Flaubert

Offline Fr. George

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Re: It's funny about fasting
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2010, 05:29:35 PM »
When they publish the annual list of Sunday readings, the Ecumenical Patriarchate also includes additional info (how long is the Apostles' fast, when do major Holy Days x, y, and z fall, etc.).  Among them: Meat-eating days.

2009: 60
2008: 69
2007: 49

Although, I think this is taking into account the monastic practice of adding Monday to the list with Wednesday and Friday.
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Offline Fr. George

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Re: It's funny about fasting
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2010, 05:51:20 PM »
^ On second thought, I don't know how they get it.

After taking out Great Lent, the Apostles' Fast, the 15 Days of August, and the Christmas Fast, plus every Wednesday and Friday, I'm still left with nearly 160 meat-eating days.  Even if one subtracts Mondays, one is still left with over 120 days.
"O Cross of Christ, all-holy, thrice-blessed, and life-giving, instrument of the mystical rites of Zion, the holy Altar for the service of our Great Archpriest, the blessing - the weapon - the strength of priests, our pride, our consolation, the light in our hearts, our mind, and our steps"
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Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

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Re: It's funny about fasting
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2010, 09:06:39 PM »
So, today, my wife decides that she thinks she would like to do a primarily vegetarian diet because she thinks it might help her feel better (she's got a bunch of minor health issues that add up to fatigue/overall pain sometimes).

"But I already practically do that," I say.

"You do?" she asks.

"Yes.  You do realize that all those Wednesdays and Fridays add up, plus the four main fasting periods, plus the other couple fasting days, to over 200 days a year to no meat.  Most of those days are no dairy, too, although I'm pretty lax about that myself.  We already have a 'primarily vegetarian diet'.  And I'm not a monk so I'm not giving up meat when I can eat it."

"Hm.  I guess you're right.  Let's talk about this more later."

=====================

It truly amuses me how people will come up with all sorts of reasons to fast from various food items but shake their heads in disbelief when Orthodox Christians tell people of their fasting practices.  It also amazes me at how thorough and holistic the Orthodox approach to fasting is and how, if done properly, we reap not only the physical benefits of these "vegan cleansing periods" (as one of my wife's friends does on occasion) but the spiritual benefits, as well.


Amen!

I've encountered similar reactions from people. They'll change their diet in order to be healthy or to look good, but they scoff at the idea of altering their diets for the benefit of their souls.

Selam
« Last Edit: January 19, 2010, 09:07:13 PM by Gebre Menfes Kidus »
"There are two great tragedies: one is to live a life ruled by the passions, and the other is to live a passionless life."
Selam, +GMK+