Fasting: Spiritual Freedom Beyond Our Appetites


"You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God."
Matthew 5:6 The Message

We live in hungry times. Ours is a consumer culture, predisposed to quickly fill the cravings of body and mind. The idea of fasting--the voluntary denial of something for a specific time, for a spiritual purpose--sets us immediately on edge. But Lynne Baab makes the case that anyone can fast.

Fasting is an expression of freedom. Free from the patterns and ...

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"You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God."
Matthew 5:6 The Message

We live in hungry times. Ours is a consumer culture, predisposed to quickly fill the cravings of body and mind. The idea of fasting--the voluntary denial of something for a specific time, for a spiritual purpose--sets us immediately on edge. But Lynne Baab makes the case that anyone can fast.

Fasting is an expression of freedom. Free from the patterns and habits that mark everyday life, from time to time we can move beyond our appetites into meaningful encounter with God.

In Fasting you'll discover an ancient Christian practice that extends beyond giving up food to any regular activity in our contemporary lives. You'll see how taking a break from eating--or driving, or checking e-mail, or watching television--opens us up to discover new things about ourselves and God and the world around us. You'll see that while not everyone should forgo food, anyone can step out of routine to feed the soul.

In a time of great spiritual hunger, God invites us all to a feast: fellowship with the Creator of the universe, where all our truest needs are identified and attended to.

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Editorial Reviews

Rebecca Pippert
"America is a culture obsessed with freedom and rights, so why do so many find themselves in bondage? Jesus came to set us free from sin and death--but how can we live in the freedom he secured for us? Lynne Baab's wonderful book reminds us that Christians throughout history have used fasting as a path to freedom--for it enables God to speak in fresh ways and fills us anew with his Spirit. In a style we've come to expect from Baab, her book is intellectually stimulating, spiritually enriching, historically and biblically informative, and practical. Fasting leaves the reader feeling not I ought to do this but I want to do this!"
Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
"Combining biblical and historical data with the experiences of modern-day people, Lynne Baab offers insights into the purposes, motivations, expectations and results of fasting. In this lovely book discover how fasting from food, or shopping, or reading, or TV, can lead you into a deeper encounter with Jesus! Reclaim this spiritual practice--it may be one of the best gifts you give yourself."
Renee Altson
"As someone who has struggled with slavery to my appetites and desires, and who seeks a life free of them, Fasting was a life-giving breath of fresh air. It is easy in this world of fast food, fast living and fast spirituality to forget that we are holistic creations who need to cease from our striving and spend some time fasting from the things that keep us enslaved. Lynne Baab has created a book that can help us explore our appetites, discover the history behind 'the fast,' and learn how to abstain and seek God."
Christine Sine
"Lynne Baab takes a very insightful and helpful look at the often neglected spiritual practice of fasting. Her suggestions about fasting other than from food are particularly relevant for our culture today. As a physician I also appreciated her practical and helpful tips on how to fast from food. This is an important book for anyone wanting to become more intimate with God."
Natalie Klein
Not a long or difficult read and extremely practical, Fasting will challenge you to rethink your view of this spiritual discipline.
Summer 2007 Congregations
Integrating scholarly research with shared and personal anecdotes, Baab makes a persuasive case for the development of a concept of definitely Christian fasting that is biblically based and historically informed.
Libraries Alive
Baab introduces readers to an inviting and challenging spiritual discipline that is about freedom and produces joyful spiritual growth.
Gail Welborn
This book is an excellent resource to learn about how to fast. It provides details, motivation and encouragement to pursue a spiritual fast, draw close to God, and share intimate moments with Him. I recommend it.
Rosalee Stent
Baab, along with personal stories from many others, truly gives us "an invitation to freedom." . . . A wealth of helpful information, backed with godly encouragement, leaves the reader desiring to include some sort of fasting in their daily walk with God. Recommended.
Publishers Weekly
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.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830835010
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 11/30/2006
  • Pages: 152
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynne M. Baab is the author of multiple books and Bible studies. A Presbyterian minister, she completed a Ph.D. in communication at the University of Washington in 2007 and moved with her husband to Dunedin, New Zealand, where she is a lecturer in pastoral theology at the University of Otago.

Lynne is the author of eight books, including A Renewed Spirituality, Sabbath Keeping, Fasting, Sabbath, Personality Type in Congregations, Embracing Midlife, Beating Burnout in Congregations, Reaching Out in a Networked World: Expressing Your Congregation's Heart and Soul and Friending. She is also the author of three LifeGuide Bible Studies.

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Table of Contents

1. An Invitation to Freedom
2. Food and Fasting Today
3. Motives
4. A Look at Christian History
5. A Photo Album of Biblical Stories
6. Abstaining from Food
7. Other Fasts
8. Fasting in Community
9. Today More Than Ever
Appendix A: For Further Reading
Appendix B: The Challenge of Finding Fasting in the Bible
Scripture Index
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2007

    Fasting as a gracious invitation to re-hear the heartbeat of God

    Surprise: this book is a gracious call to listen to God¿s word to God¿s people and world filled with creative ideas on how to do so. I don¿t tend to like the idea of fasting. Having been raised in a performance-oriented church and family, I steer clear of anything that feels like a `should¿ or a `must¿ related to my faith. Grace is a theme I prefer and one I was pleased to find peppered throughout this book. If you¿re looking for a book to make you feel lousy for not fasting, this is not that book. Rather, Baab reflects upon stories from people around the globe who have chosen to make fasting a part of their lives and have had their faith strengthened by it. The stories of fasting from jewelry, tv, meat or all foods fasting in community or alone in times of trial all made me realize how much my faith would be strengthened by fasting. The surprise was ¿ this book made me want to fast. I want to connect deeply with the heart of God, with the people in this world God loves. Baab writes about how her experience fasting from meat, dairy products and oil led her to both a place of gratitude and to pray more deeply for those who do not have the luxury of eating as richly as we Americans do. I want to live like I know that I do not have to consume in constant abundance to stay alive. In fact this book reminded me that perpetual abundance doesn¿t give me life, but takes it away ¿ whether it be eating too much food or buying too many clothes. Throughout history fasting has been a wonderful way of making space to listen to the heartbeat of God and becoming more closely aligned with God¿s kingdom. I just might be fasting soon so that I too can listen and learn more about God¿s kingdom rather than the kingdom of do-what-I-want-when-I-want.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2009

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