The End of Many Books

Fast Like a Girl

by Mindy Pelz

I know I’m not a girl. I don’t have any underlying “girl power” attitude. I don’t plan to fast like a girl. But for a variety of reasons I read this book, and I’m glad I did.

Previously I’d read a book about the benefits of fasting for spiritual purposes. This is about the physical gains. That’s important, as fasting driven more by what one is giving up rather than driven by what one is gaining are different, and the motivations probably matter for longterm success.

Anyway, I have some physical problems (ha!) and maybe fasting will enable some system resets. I do also like the spiritual discipline part of it. And fasting is an attempt that requires no extra money or time. I’ve not got a lot of extra of those, so this matches my calendar and budget.

Though I finished the book today, I’ve already completed 12 intermittent fasts, the longest being 24 hours. I aim to try some still longer fasts over the next few months.

The author is so positive about fasting it almost comes across as spin at times. Maybe we all need a little more positivity. But there’s some biology to learn, some explanation of how the body reacts to various stages of starvation (ha!, she doesn’t call it that, but, I mean, that’s what it is, right?), lists of foods that help complement fasting for helping different systems in the body, a bunch of recipes, and again a lot of encouragement to give the body a little hormetic stress so that it can adapt toward a little more health.

Lord's Day Liturgy

Intermittent Feasting

I know people, they talk to me. I read things; learning is an ongoing process. One subject that has been brought to my attention from half a dozen directions is that of intermittent fasting. Probably the first time I considered the idea (though he didn’t use the term) was in Robert Capon’s book, The Supper of the Lamb, as he counseled a man who was serious about his eating and his weight not to eat for a while rather than eat/nibble health junk food, you know, something like rice cakes. There is at least anecdotal if not researched evidence stressing the benefits to the body of not eating for intervals of time. It not only makes you more hungry when it’s mealtime, it also teaches your body to use the energy it’s already got stored.

Which comes first? Eating in order to work to get hungry, or working and getting hungry so we want to eat?

There’s a sense in which we could think about the Lord’s Supper as intermittent feasting. There is a week between each time at His Table. Do we eat this food for sake of our faith and love so that we can go work, or do we work so that we’re eager for more food? It’s both, no doubt. And there is something about worshipping on the first day of the week that energizes and propels us into our responsibilities, and that’s good.

But for sake of our meditation, consider: when was the last time that we came hungry to His Table? When was the last time that we spent ourselves by faith in love on behalf of others? When have we come desperate, not doubtful, but desperate for this feast to replenish and restore and renew us?

Lord's Day Liturgy

The Nature of Bread and Wine

We know from Psalm 19 that the heavens declare the glory of God so that all men should see His handiwork. We know from Romans 1 that creation reveals the existence and power of God so that all men should honor God and thank Him. And in 1 Corinthians 11 we read that nature makes it so that all men know how long to cut their hair.

What does nature teach about the Lord’s Table? Well, that is probably asking too much. Nature doesn’t tell us about the cross or about the resurrection or about the need to believe in Christ for our sin, and nature doesn’t tell us about either ordinance of the church. We need special revelation, which we have.

But does this mean that nature does us no good whatsoever when it comes to the communion meal? I don’t just mean the physical elements, or the embodied persons who partake, though those do argue against any kind of gnostic or dualistic priority. While recognizing that Christ instituted the Supper with words and that His apostles delivered the instruction, and while recognizing that Christ’s pattern was the Passover meal provided by God’s Word to the Israelites, there is a created nature of the meal that belongs with the revealed intent of the meal.

What does nature teach about bread? Eat! It’s good! What does nature teach about wine? It’s a gift! Drink! Let your heart be glad! And what does even nature teach about a table of bread and wine? It is meant to be shared, and shared in joy.

There are occasions for corporate quiet and contemplation, but even nature recommends fasting for such sobriety. Nature commends feasting in fellowship for stirring up thanks and gladness.

To be sure, Paul could not commend the Corinthians for their communion practice. But that is because they were divided and because they were selfishly indulging themselves. I would argue that not only goes against the gospel, that goes against nature.