Friday, March 11, 2011

Not Abstaining from Lenten Observations

As an adjunct to our provocative Lenten observations, we offer the essay on C. S. Lewis's view of feasting and fasting offered by Asbury University English professor Devin Brown at Christianity Today.

Lewis had much to say about rightly enjoying God's creation, which he offered as in part as an antidote to the church's neo-Platonic hangover. The good food/bad food motif in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is familiar enough (though the movie blasphemously ruins it with the Beavers' presentation to the Pevensie children of an unappetizing, burnt fish), but Brown nicely lays out that and others of Lewis's expositions of the notion. Lewis, in sum, was an avid advocate of the feast.

In that light, Lewis argued that the fast is a temporary measure to pursue the proper ordering of our relationship to the creation. We think so, though we aver that such is not, as far as we can tell, a biblical notion of the fast as such, though it is just as much not an anti-biblical notion. Call it a revision and right-sizing of an historic Christian practice that lost its way early on.

Where does SWNIDish blather fit into this? Our point is that even with Lewis's right-sized understanding of the church's fasts, if all we're doing is reordering our relationship to creation, which we affirm is not an unimportant matter, then we have mightily missed something that is mightly important, squandering an opportunity to embrace the core implication of the good news. To wit: we are not reordering our relationship to others.

Some do so reorder. Indeed, many probably do. But more should.

Instead of or in addition to "giving up," we urge "reaching out," as in spending time and energy and treasure to make someone else's life better. And in more than 1/9 of the year.

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