cover image Fasting: Spiritual Freedom Beyond Our Appetites

Fasting: Spiritual Freedom Beyond Our Appetites

Lynne M. Baab, . . InterVarsity, $13 (151pp) ISBN 978-0-8308-3501-0

This slender volume packs a surprising amount of content, with Baab (Sabbath Keeping ) offering both spiritual guidance and factual information to those Christians who want to undertake, or deepen, a fast. One refreshing aspect of the book is its broad understanding of what constitutes a fast, which can range from a full abstinence from food and water to a more limited avoidance of one or more types of foods for a set period of time. Beyond that, however, Baab considers other kinds of fasts that Christians can undertake: refraining from shopping, elaborate clothing, jewelry, television or anything that they have made into an idol. Fasting, she says, calls Christians into closer communion with God by creating time for spiritual discernment, adding greater urgency to prayer and encouraging solidarity with the poor. Baab traces the practice of fasting through the Bible and the Christian church, with an ecumenical openness that embraces Orthodox and Catholic practices as well as her own Protestant traditions. One particularly welcome chapter explores the idea of fasting in community, introducing practices like the round-robin fast and fasting with one or two partners. This excellent resource will help novice Christians dip into the ancient practice of fasting and more seasoned practitioners become more creative and intentional in its observance. (Jan.)