Why Would You Give Up Something For Lent?

This is a question I ask myself every year, and if you are among those of us who give something up, the why may be the most important part of your Lenten fast. Do you give something up because your faith community does, and because you always have? Is it a way to jump-start your new diet? Are you trying to quit smoking, overeating or drinking until you blackout? Is there some other habit you want to break and you love the support of a Lent practicing community?? Do you want to undertake some heroic discipline to prove your devotion to God? Do you think if you don’t eat chocolate God loves you more?

The answer to that last question, when we put it so baldly, is an obvious no. God will not love us more if we spend less time on Facebook, don’t eat chocolate or candy, or give up (for the next six weeks) eating green eggs and ham in a box, with a fox, in house, with a mouse, here or there or anywhere. And yet, sometimes our participation in fasts or religious practices feel like it is just us trying to prove our worth to God.

The prophet Samuel’s words to Saul offer us a corrective, “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams” (1 Sam. 15:22). To obey is better than sacrifice. Unfortunately, us post-modern pilgrims find neither obedience or sacrifice appealing and sometimes miss the wisdom in the prophet’s words. Sacrifice was a ritual designed to appease a god. When done right, it reminded the person sacrificing of their own brokenness and the way they wound themselves, others, and God. When done poorly, as Saul did in 1 Sam. 15, it was a way to honor God without submitting to God’s desire for our lives. We don’t sacrifice rams, but our Lenten fast can be a similar religious pretending. We may fast before God when our heart is somewhere else. 

movie-poster-joy-luck-clubBut obedience is a hard thing for us too. We tend to think of obedience in legalistic terms. A slavish following of rules and a harsh authority structure.  One of my favorite movies is the adaptation of Amy Tan’s novel, The Joy Luck Club (1993). There is one scene where Suyuan, an immigrant from China, and little girl June clash over her not wanting to take piano lessons, and Suyuan shouts, “Only two kinds of daughter. Those who are obedient and those who follow their own mind. Only one kind of daughter lives in this house. Obedient kind!” As a father of girls, I quote this to my daughters all the time. And they both ignore me every single time I say it.

The word obey in Hebrew was shema. It means hearing, listening, attending to. The obedient life is the listening life. It is a lifestyle mindful of God’s presence in our lives. To obey is to pay attention to God and God’s desires for us. This is the first and best reason to give up something for Lent: to train our ears and hearts to hear God and listen to him in all of life. If we give something up, it is because we recognize it as a thing that numbs our sense of the Divine. We eschew distraction in order to be more mindful and to listen well.

The second reason we fast in Lent, is because we believe spiritual transformation is possible. It is why I do it. I recognize I am not who I want to be, and I am not who I pretend to be most of the time. I earnestly wish I was more compassionate, braver, more prayerful, and less petty, shallow, and wounded. I believe in spiritual transformation, that as we give our heart to God, he makes us new. I give something up, I fast, I cast off distractions because I hope it will change me.

But our spiritual transformation is not just about personal change. It is about welcoming the Kingdom of God into our neighborhoods, cities, our nation. One of the reasons we don’t see a greater change in our lives is because of our participation in systems and structures which mitigate against God’s coming kingdom.

For example, we all agree racism is pretty awful. People should be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. But we do not live in a post-race society. Our culture still bears the mark of centuries of slavery, a hundred years of Jim Crow, historic redlining and discriminatory policies, mass incarceration of African American males (when white American’s guilty of similar crimes get lighter or no sentence), violence against the Black community, etc.  As a white privileged person, I am part of a system that has benefited me, even in ways I’m not particularly aware, and hurt other people. Our belief in spiritual transformation challenges these systemic realities. It can’t be only about private devotion. Spiritual transformation means welcoming the system overhaul of the Kingdom of God.

The Bible passage that best informs every Lenten fast (or any other kind of fast) is Isaiah 58.  Isaiah  58:6-9 reads:

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

When we make fasting and Lent about ourselves and solely about our relationship with God, we are doing it wrong. Yes, it is good to break some bad personal habits, but how can our Lenten Fast participate in God’s justice? Are the oppressed set free because we gave up Scotch (but not other single malts)?

1024px-fast_dayI try to think about Justice with my Lenten fast. For several years, I have given up, to various degrees, eating meat during Lent. But as I’ve done this, I have also tried to faithfully cross-examine my economic participation in America’s industrial food complex. Issues come up like our cruelty to animals, economic oppression of rural farmers, exploitation of immigrants for cheap labor, environmental stewardship, etc. Taking a step back from my consumption of certain things has given me space to examine my lifestyle and choices. I am not vegan (except seasonly, during Lent), but because of trying to practice Lent conscientiously, I have changed some of my buying practices the rest of the time too.

If you give up chocolate, God doesn’t love you more. But when we recognize that the harvesting of cocoa beans in West Africa exploits child labor and slaves and that our conspicuous consumption (not to mention the demand for cheap chocolate) contributes to untold suffering, we begin to make changes. Our fast unties the yoke of injustice.

So give something up for Lent. Use your fast as a way to cast off patterns of life that distract you. Attend to God’s presence in your life. Believe that spiritual transformation is possible and look for ways to participate in God’s justice.

F is for Fasting (an alphabet for penitents)

Fasting confronts our contemporary, consumerist mindset. We don’t generally do it unless we are doing a juice fast detox or getting a colonoscopy. Lent is an exception. It is a season for fasting and many of us have given up something as part of our Lenten practice. Chocolate, cookies, sweets, Facebook or whatever. Six weeks long we lay aside the things that we go to for comfort or to numb our senses. We focus our hearts and energy on Jesus’ road to the cross. While it may be a struggle for us to not eat ice cream or meat but it won’t kill us. If we did one of those real serious fasts, like giving up all food or all food and water,for the six weeks of Lent, we’d be dead.

But what is fasting and why do we do it? To make God love us? To impress Him? Jesus doesn’t love us any more or less if you aren’t watching Netflix and dying on a cross is way more impressive than even six weeks sans coffee. So why? I think of a couple of things that fasting does at a fundamental level. First, fasting (any kind) interrupts our normal routine and enables us to see things in a new light. Second, fasting reveals our appetites.  When we purposely deprive ourselves of something, we grow more conscious of our desire for it, but we were also freed up to ask “what is this _____ feeding in me?” “What ways does this food or activity numb me to reality?”

There is a real benefit to fasting, but you can interrupt your routines, be self-aware of your appetites and still fail to please God with your fast. Isaiah 58: 5 says:

Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
    only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
    and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
    a day acceptable to the Lord?

The  kind of fast pleasing to God is this:

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. (Isaiah 58:6-8)

I shared in an earlier post that I went vegan for Lent and that part of my fast includes paying attention to ways my appetite for animal flesh has made me complicit in injustice (i.e. animal cruelty, the drain on earth’s resources, pollution from animal waste). Fasting can make us aware of not only our own appetites but the ways your routines cause us to turn a blind eye to justice.

Whatever you are fasting from, use it as a window to see injustice. If you gave up chocolate you could consider how much of the world’s chocolate is gathered unethically (i.e. use of child labor). Coffee? Think about thinking about rainforest destruction and poor pay for coffee growers (there is more fair-trade, shade-grown options these days, but these just highlight the scope of the environmental impact of our consumption).  Did you give up Facebook? Consider the ways social media detracts from real-time relationships and make yourself more aware of the neglected folks in your own neighborhood.

We gave stuff up, our routines are disrupted. We are aware of our appetites and the things that we go to to fill the dull ache within. But God is pleased when the act of fasting brings to fruition repentance and justice. Fasting can make us more aware and able to respond to a suffering world. May the fruit of justice grow in us.



E is for Endurance (an alphabet for penitents)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. -Hebrews 12:1-2

Energy may get you start, endurance is how you finish.

As I write this, we are one week into Lent, so we’re still near the start of our journey. If you made a commitment to fast in any way, or to a new discipline, you’ve likely started to bristle. A shift in habits is hard, especially if we intentionally have laid aside our go-to comforts (i.e. coffee, chocolate, sweets, etc). We are on a journey we didn’t train for. Our inner voice screams, “turn back.”

My wife and I are going vegan for Lent. Part of our this is our desire to use this sacred season to think about systems of injustice. Food systems are one of those places where injustice rears its head. While much of the world subsists on less than $2.00 a day, in America food is big bucks (except for the farmer). And you don’t have to look too hard at the meat and dairy industries to see evidence of cruelty: chickens smashed together in cages, the routine killing of dairy calves, and the slaughter of animals. All this is to say nothing of the environmental impact of factory farms—the resources burned to make the American diet possible and waste it generates. I do not plan to be vegan for life. The six weeks of Lent is as much as I am able to commit, but as I journey with Jesus to Jerusalem, I want to be cognizant of the ways my ordinary habits are complicit in systems of injustice. This is not an easy task for me. I love eggs for breakfast and a good cheese. I  woke up last Thursday dreaming of ice cream. I  already miss pizza (as a father-of-four, it is a regular part of my diet). We’ve eaten well thus far, but it is

The six weeks of Lent is as much as I am able to commit, but as I journey with Jesus to Jerusalem, I want to be cognizant of the ways my ordinary habits are complicit in systems of injustice. This is not an easy task for me. I love eggs for breakfast and a good cheese. I  woke up last Thursday dreaming of ice cream. I  already miss pizza (as a father-of-four, it is a regular part of my diet). We’ve eaten well thus far, but it is a major shift and difficult.

How do we overcome the desire to quit?  As an intermittent runner, I know I can push a distance by slowing my pace so I can push through the pain. Willpower and resolve can help you for some distances. With a Lenten fast, that might be all you need to endure. It is only six weeks; however, the journey with Jesus is not a six-week commitment but a lifetime of following. When our resolve fails, the author of Hebrews gives us a better strategy. We endure because of two things: a great cloud of witnesses and because our eyes are fixed on Jesus.

 The great cloud is our back-up. The pilgrims’ path is well worn by others who journeyed with Jesus through the season. They have shown us what it means to persist in faith. They are a network of support (not just the historic faithful, but the ones we know). They are a system of accountability, helping us fulfill our commitment.

Jesus—the pioneer and perfector (author and finisher)—is the one that makes running the race possible, and the one we are running toward. He is both our example and our ever-present help in times of trouble. We blazed the trail ahead and guides our steps. He carries us when strength fails. He helps us run for prize-communion with God.

If your steps falter, find strength in community and lean into Jesus. If a great cloud of witnesses and the Son of God got your back, you totally got this.

Image source:https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:150919-F-ZE674-261_(21442158410).jpg

The Sour-Faced Evangelists of Lent?

It is Ash Wednesday. Today many us will attend a service to receive the imposition of ashes–a dark smudge across our foreheads. This is just the first thing imposed on us in Lent, a season of self-imposed discipline. We give up chocolate, meat, coffee, alcohol, smoking–or anything that makes us happy.  Jesus suffered in the wilderness and on his long, winding road to Calvary. The Church has deemed that appropriately, we should suffer too. We wander through today our faces marked with soot and scowls. Fasting makes us hangry. Our head throbs from caffeine withdrawal. We snap at others because all our go-to-coping mechanisms are declared off limits.

Is this what Lent is about? Here are excerpts for the top three Google hits answering the question, “What is Lent?”:

What is Lent? Lent is a season of the Christian Year where Christians focus on simple living, prayer, and fasting in order to grow closer to God. (from UpperRoom.org -Lent 101)

Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means “spring.” The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry. (from umc.org- “What is Lent and Why does it Last Forty Days?”)

Lent is a period of fasting, moderation, and self-denial traditionally observed by Catholics and some Protestant denominations. It begins with Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter Sunday. The length of the Lenten fast was established in the 4th century as 46 days (40 days, not counting Sundays). During Lent, participants eat sparingly or give up a particular food or habit. It’s not uncommon for people to give up smoking during Lent, or to swear off watching television or eating candy or telling lies. It’s six weeks of self-discipline. ( from gotquestions.org – “What is the meaning of Lent?)

These definitions augment one another. Lent is a season of self-denial leading up Easter for the purpose of our growing close to God.  Lent is one of the two great preparatory seasons of the church. But whereas Advent is full of announcement of the in-breaking of the Kingdom, Lent reminds us that on Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem  suffering and death await.

I am guided by the conviction that Christianity is Good News.  Christians are God’s Good News People.  We believe that this good news culminates at Calvary where Jesus set us free from sin, death and spiritual oppression. This isn’t just a season of self-imposed suffering, self denial and sour-faces. Here we mark Christ’s confrontation and ultimate victory over the Powers.

So we can take up our cross and follow Jesus because this isn’t just a death march. Jesus wins and on his way to be crucified, he exposes the lies that propped up the political and religious hegemony of his day. Jesus died for us so that we would die to ourselves and rise again with our life in him.  We participate in Lent because we know despite the hard road Jesus walked, the brokenness and violence he suffered, he would bring wholeness and shalom to all who trust in him.

Give up coffee. Give up meat. Give up pleasure and lay aside vice. But don’t do it with a sour face. Don’t do it with the shallow hope of becoming a better you. Do so in the strong confidence that Jesus suffered every shame, every pain, every hurt at Calvary because he had something better for you–abundant life, peace with God, reconciliation and justice for all. Fasting is an appropriate response both to prepare and to mark the sacred moment of what Jesus may be doing in you. He didn’t avoid pain, we shouldn’t either. But in the midst of sorrow we have joy because our salvation awaits.

Jesus is on the road, his face like a flint toward Jerusalem. Whatever holds you in bondage Christ has come to set you free. This is good news.


Deeply Loved: Week 2 of Lent

The weekend is upon us and we are almost finished the second full week of the Lent season. My fast for the season has been from meat and coffee. I gave up meat because I want to be thoughtful about my consumption. Not because I am trying to lose weight, but because I want to eat and drink with justice.  Justice would be a good reason to give up coffee too.  Rain forests have been cleared to support my personal habit and those working on coffee plantations are often paid poorly (even with so-called fair-trade coffee). But honestly, I gave up coffee on a whim. I missed my morning cup of coffee on Ash Wednesday and when the mid-afternoon-headache settled in, I decided to make it count for something.

Of course it isn’t really heroic self discipline if you eat an entire box of Tagalongs on your lunch break. But Lent isn’t really about heroic self discipline. Or at least mine! Lent is about walking with Jesus on the road to Calvary. It is about preparing your heart for Easter and trusting God through moments of weakness. The fasting part of Lent involves us responding with your whole being to God.

But I didn’t just give up food for Lent. One of my positive disciplines has been reading through Keri Wyatt Kent’s book, Deeply Loved (Abingdon Press).  Every morning of Lent I’ve begun my day by  reading one of her meditations and making plans to practice her ‘Presence Practice.’ These are daily practices which help me attune my heart to God’s presence. I have not uniformly practiced these.  This past Sunday I read the entry for Day 12 (“With”). The ‘presence practice’ for the day invited me to read through a gospel in its entirety and reflect on what I notice about Jesus. I worked all day that Sunday and could not make time to do it. I still haven’t. I have done this in the past, but I just didn’t make time to do it this time.

However  I have tried to practice her other suggestions. One day she suggested reading John 14 meditatively, focusing on the promises of God. Another day she gave advice about dealing with the distractions which keep us from turning our hearts to Jesus through out our day. Another day she had me reading through Mark 9 and asking Jesus to show himself to me.   Perhaps one of the most meaningful times for me was meditating on Psalm 42 and letting the longing of the Psalmist give words to my own hunger for God.

What I like about Kent’s practices is that they are truly ‘presence practices.’ She invites us to enter into God’s presence with a variety of spiritual disciplines.  Some of these are challenging to put into practice, which is why I am an imperfect practitioner. But the goal is attentiveness to Christ.  This cultivated attentiveness is part of what I have been trying to do through the practice of fasting. So I have been blessed that Kent has called me to attend to God and my spiritual health. I have been challenged to pay attention to God, to see his wonder in creation and to look to Him for direction.  I am reminded to walk with my God daily and throughout my days.






The First Sunday of Lent

The season of fasting has begun and since Wednesday I had no meat or coffee. Because Sundays in Lent are days of celebration I was looking forward to a morning cup of coffee (Sundays are in Lent but not of Lent because they celebrate the Resurrection). Unfortunately  I seem to have contracted some sort of stomach bug from my daughter which made for a long night. Coffee just doesn’t sound right today.

My experience of Lent has been good. Thursday was Valentines and my wife and I celebrated Thursday and Friday evening. I didn’t break my fast, but it seemed odd to be polishing off a box of truffles, wine and some fancy cheese in a season of self denial. Still the time was a gift (and my stomach didn’t erupt until Saturday night).

My devotional practice has been really nourishing. I’ve been going through two separate devotionals.  Deeply Loved by Keri Wyatt Kent has given structure to my morning devotions. In the evening my wife and I have been reading Seeking His Mind by M. Basil Pennington. Kent is a protestant woman and each day she gives a short reflection on a scripture following by a ‘presence practice.’ The first few days had me reflecting on how I think God sees me, resting in God’s love and remembering Jesus’ loving presence with me throughout my day,  pruning my commitments, practicing the examen and receiving the day. Kent seems to have a gift at presenting the spiritual life as an invitation and not a burden. I have enjoyed her meditations thus far.

Pennington’s book are also scriptural reflections. He presents a scripture and his notes from engaging that passage in Lectio Divina. I am quite certain that Sarah and I are doing this devotional wrong. We ought to practice our own Lectio before reading Pennington’s meditation. We do not, we just read. The first couple reflections seemed to be more about commending this meditative practice while the next couple of readings were more engaged in reflection on the life of Jesus (from early in the gospels). These short meditations before bed (followed by a brief prayer) are our nightly routine.

So far neither of these devotionals (different as they are) have much of a corporate dimension to them. They remind me to seek God and rest in Him but they do not call me to enter into suffering, work for justice and connect with other Christians. I assume Kent and Pennington get there.  Part of my Lenten plan was to also integrate praying through Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals. I have not, but I recognize that that would provide some of the corporate dimension I’m missing.  So far my devotions invite me into a deeper experience of God but I have reflected little on the cross and Jesus’ journey there.  I have not meditated on Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness.  I need to get blogging on the penitential psalms soon! Here is a collect for today:

Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan; Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son my Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Hungry, Hungry Hippo: My life as a Glutton

Hungry Hungry DriscollHistorically Lent has been a time where Christians pay attention to where our appetites have led us astray. So I thought it made sense to start my reflections on the seven deadly sins by examining the sin of Gluttony (for information on my approach, track back to the last post). But another reason for starting here is more personal. I am a 7 on the Enneagram which means I enjoy life and all its various pleasures. When I am healthy, I am enthusiastic, imaginative and full of joy, but the sin I am susceptible to is gluttony. I am someone who left to my own devices avoids pain by self medicating. However I am not really alone. We live in a consumer culture which feeds our personal preferences, appetites and desires at every turn. When things are going well we enjoy the sensual pleasures of a well cooked meal paired with fine wine (or beer). When things are going badly we find our favorite comfort foods: ice cream, chocolate, Tapitio Doritos, homemade chili or spam musubi. We feed ourselves to cope with what can’t be changed and we indulge the guilty pleasures of too much far too often. This is personal issue for me but it is a broad cultural issue as well (statistics on obesity back this up). So while I may be tempted towards gluttony my whole culture conspires against me.

The reason that Gluttony is so prevalent in our culture is that we regard it as no big deal. The Christian tradition regarded Gluttony as one of the deadly sins. Today we regard some of the physical problems associated with over-eating deadly but do not really see Gluttony as a spiritual problem.

So how do you know you are a Glutton?

So I am a glutton, are you? How would you know? The assumption is that we all know gluttons when we see them because we’ve stood behind them at Taco Bell. Yet there is so much more to Gluttony than overeating. Rebecca Konyndyk Deyoung says that in the Middle Ages Gluttony was described with this slogan, “Too daintly, too sumptuously, too greedily, too much. (Glittering Vices, 141). Overeating is Gluttony, But Gluttony is more than just overeating. How much is enough? It includes any sort of practice which involves letting your personal appetites run wild. Catering to your inner-foody or your delicate tastes is a form of Gluttony. As Deyoung observes, “It is possible to eat healthy and appropriate foods in a manner that betrays desire gone awry. The question is not whether we are fat or thin, polite or impolite, but whether we are eating to satisfy our own wants, in a way that elevates our own satisfaction above other goods (Glittering Vices, 145).”

DeYoung also observes that modern inventions such as chewing gum and Diet Coke are ways that we can give into our appetites and personal desires but minimize the physical impact of our choices. The result is that we eat and drink ‘guilt free’ but we are still eating and drinking for our own personal gratification (147). Sin isn’t just crouching at the door; Gluttony is squatting in the stall because we let it in and regard its presence as no big deal.

What to do about our Gluttony

In the Christian tradition one way to become aware of the ways we are enslaved to appetites and unhealthily feeding them is to fast. Fasting reveals to us the things that control us. This is why many of us give up coffee, chocolate or alcohol during Lent. These are all good things to be enjoyed in their place but fasting from them reveals the ways in which we have allowed our desire and dependence on each to rule us. So fasting during Lent is one way to set the reset button on our appetites so we can freely enjoy all these things properly without being mastered by them.

Kallistos Ware describes the value of a Lenten fast:

The Primary aim at fasting is to make us conscious of our dependence on God. If practiced seriously, the Lenten abstinence from food… involves a considerable measure of real hunger, and also a feeling of tiredness and physical exhaustion. The purpose of this is to lead us in turn to a sense of inward brokenness and contrition; to bring us, that is, to the point where we feel the full force of Christ’s statement, “Without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
If we always take our fill of food and drink, we easily grow confident in our own abilities, aquiring a false sense of autonomy and self-sufficiency. The observance of a physical fast undermines this sinful complacency (quoted in Glittering Vices, 157).

The Virtue of Temperance

The goal of fasting is not simply to eat less but to be content in God. While I agree with Ware and DeYoung above about how fasting breaks the bonds of Gluttony in us, fasting is a step on the journey towards finding contentment in God. A severe fast would be an over-correction and would do little to reign in our appetites. The virtue of Temperance implies appropriate self restraint not heroic asceticism. John Cassian records some sound advice from one of the Desert fathers:

We must rapidly ensure that we do not slide into danger on account of the urge for bodily pleasure. We must not anticpate food before the time for it and we must not overdo it; on the other hand, when the due hour comes, we must have our food and our sleep, regardless of our reluctance. Each battle is raised by the devil. Yet too much restraint can be more harmful than a satisfied appetite. Where the latter is concerned, one may, as a result of saving compunction, move on to a measured austerity. But with the former this is impossible (John Cassian, Conferneces-Classics of Western Spirituality, 76).

So I recommend for you and for me that we overcome Gluttony through gentle discipline, curbing our appetites so that they do not master us. I personally didn’t give up anything food related this Lent, but in small ways I am looking for ways to guard against Gluttony and enjoy God’s good things without being controlled by them.

This is not Mark Driscoll