Our (Tw)interview with Scot McKnight – On his book FASTING [Vol. 2, #26]

June 26, 2009

 

  1. While you wait for the Intrvw w/ @ScotMcKnight Our revws of his 2 most recent bks BLUE PARAKEET http://tr.im/o1er /FASTING http://tr.im/o1fa12:00 PM Jun 10th from web
  2. Welcome to the Englewood Review twinterview with Scot McKnight ( @ScotMcKnight ), professor, blogger, and author of many books…12:00 PM Jun 10th from web
  3. We are talking today with Scot about his newest book FASTING ( @ThomasNelson 2009 ) Welcome Scot!12:01 PM Jun 10th from web
  4. @scotmcknight I know from experience that fasting is difficult for most people. So, why should we even pick up your book?12:01 PM Jun 10th from web
  5. @ERBks I’m hoping this book will shed some light on the abuses of fasting and the misunderstandings that have slipped in.12:03 PM Jun 10th from web in reply to ERBks
  6. Fasting, I believe, is natural and inevitable. When it becomes a chore or difficult something’s gone wrong.12:04 PM Jun 10th from web   
  7. @scotmcknight E.g., most Christians are familiar with fasting (and praying) for a specific end. Why is this view of fasting misguided?12:05 PM Jun 10th from web in reply to scotmcknight
  8. Fasting “in order to get” is an instrumental view of fasting. Fasting becomes something we “use” to get what we want.12:06 PM Jun 10th from web
  9. The emphasis in the Bible is not on “use this instrument and you will get what you want.” Instead, the emphasis in the Bible is different.>12:06 PM Jun 10th from web
  10. There are three elements of every event of fasting: A is the situation. B is fasting itself. C is the result.>12:07 PM Jun 10th from web
  11. Our tendency is to start with B and hope we get to C. In fact, some say you will get C if you fast (B).>12:08 PM Jun 10th from web
  12. The overwhelming emphasis in the Bible is not a B to C movement. This was my most exciting discovering in writing this book on Fasting>12:08 PM Jun 10th from web
  13. The emphasis is on A (the situation) that prompts or even drives the person to B (fasting).12:09 PM Jun 10th from web
  14. So, the way I put it is like this: when the ancient Israelite encountered a grievous, sacred moment — like death, like a famine>12:09 PM Jun 10th from web
  15. like the prospect of war, that person’s natural response was to fast (B). So, A leads to B — and that’s the Bible’s emphasis.>12:10 PM Jun 10th from web
  16. @scotmcknight Yes, this seems to me like a necessary corrective to how we view fasting.12:10 PM Jun 10th from web
  17. There’s a huge implication: we need to avoid motivating folks to fast so they can get something.>12:10 PM Jun 10th from web
  18. We need, instead, to focus on situations for which the normal and natural response is to fast. >12:10 PM Jun 10th from web
  19. The primal example is when someone you love dies. What do we do? We don’t eat. We go into “fasting” mode naturally. That’s the secret >12:11 PM Jun 10th from web
  20. to grasping what fasting in the Bible is all about.12:11 PM Jun 10th from web
  21. @scotmcknight Your view of fasting is built on the unity of a person – body, soul, mind. How do we begin to recognize/embrace such a unity?12:11 PM Jun 10th from web
  22. @ERBks Good question. Let me turn this around a bit: Westerners are by and large Platonists. They draw big thick lines between body and …>12:13 PM Jun 10th from web in reply to ERBks
  23. @ERBks Am I doing this right?12:13 PM Jun 10th from web in reply to ERBks
  24. @scotmcknight Yes, you’re doing great… it will be easier to read though if all posts begin with @ERBks12:14 PM Jun 10th from web in reply to scotmcknight
  25. @ERBks between body and soul. Or between body and spirit. The body is of less value. Soul and spirit are preeminent.12:14 PM Jun 10th from web in reply to ERBks
  26. Platonists have little reason to fast or to inflict the body. Why? The body doesn’t matter.12:14 PM Jun 10th from web
  27. What happened for Platonists was that they fasted in order to suppress — mightily at times — the body of its desires.12:15 PM Jun 10th from web
  28. But this cuts in half the person.12:15 PM Jun 10th from web
  29. The person in the Bible has dimensions not parts. We are body-ish and soul-ish and spirit-ish. Fasting is transformed>12:16 PM Jun 10th from web
  30. from spirit disciplining body when we see ourselves as a unity and organic.12:16 PM Jun 10th from web
  31. Fasting becomes whole body response to a grievous sacred moment.12:17 PM Jun 10th from web
  32. @ERBks In the 2d and 3d centuries, fasting got tied up with the Platonic developments.>12:19 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  33. @ERBks Then fasting became too much spirit punishing body — Jerome is one of the big offenders.12:19 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  34. @scotmcknight If fasting is a natural response to grief, how do we even begin, in a culture of amusement/diversion, to recognize our grief?12:19 PM Jun 10th from web in reply to scotmcknight
  35. @ERBks Wow, that’s an interesting question.12:20 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  36. @ERBks First, we do grieve over death and over losses and over tragedies. So, we’ve got a firm footing in these sorts of events in life.12:20 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  37. @ERBks Let’s then, second, learn to see other events as grief-inducing — like sin and family strife and bad relations …12:21 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  38. @ERBks Then I’m suggesting that we can learn to see fasting as a “response” instead of an “instrument.”12:22 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  39. @ERBks My concern is to recover the “responsive” nature of fasting and to get us back on track in that regard.12:22 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  40. @ERBks It seems whenever I talk about fasting I get hung up in the discussion of whether the Bible teaches an instrumental view.>12:23 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  41. @ERBks I’m not convinced the Bible does teach an instrumental theory of fasting. I’m convinced the Church has made that its emphasis.>12:23 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  42. @ERBks If we can recover the Bible’s emphasis on fasting as (1) response and (2) whole body spirituality, we will be in better shape.12:24 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  43. @ERBks One more: living in a culture of amusement and diversion ought not to make humans non-responsive to grievous moments.12:25 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  44. @scotmcknight Yes, let’s hope and pray that we can recover this perspective on fasting! Next question…12:25 PM Jun 10th from web in reply to scotmcknight
  45. @scotmcknight What is the most pertinent caution that you can offer churches about the practice of fasting?12:26 PM Jun 10th from web in reply to scotmcknight
  46. @ERBks First, no one should fast beyond 12 hours without talking to his or her doctor. Fasting more than 12 hours is not good for the body.12:27 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  47. @ERBks Second, two MDs said this to me: Never teach teenagers, especially teenage girls, to fast. Anorexia nervosa was the issue for both MD12:28 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  48. @ERBks Third, I’d urge us to recover the responsive nature of fasting and subdue the instrumental view.12:29 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  49. @ERBks One more: Let’s try to recover “seasonal” fasting (Lent, etc) as a “response” to something. During Lent, of course, to sin.12:31 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  50. @scotmcknight Yes, I appreciated the sensibility of the medical wisdom that you brought into the conversation about fasting.12:31 PM Jun 10th from web in reply to scotmcknight
  51. @ERBks Thanks. My wife is a psychologist and I’ve lost a student to anorexia nervosa.12:32 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  52. @scotmcknight Maybe you just answered this with your point about Lent, but … >12:32 PM Jun 10th from web in reply to scotmcknight
  53. @scotmcknight Many forms of fasting you describe are corporate but how can a church with no sense of fasting begin to develp such practices?12:32 PM Jun 10th from web in reply to scotmcknight
  54. @ERBks That’s another good one. Thanks.>12:33 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  55. @ERBks Let me suggest that we get the leaders to fast intentionally and to discuss it — so get the leaders into the experienced mode.12:33 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  56. @ERBks Then gather round the leaders those in the church who are experienced fasters for more discussion.>12:34 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  57. @ERBks Out of that experiential and theological basis — and have them read my book! — do some teaching on fasting.12:34 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  58. @ERBks Then the folks can fasting together in an informed manner.12:35 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  59. @scotmcknight (BTW, I have my church in mind here, and I bet others are in a similar place!) 🙂12:35 PM Jun 10th from web in reply to scotmcknight
  60. @ERBks I’d avoid like the plague making folks feel guilty about fasting. This isn’t a high priority command in the New Testament.12:36 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  61. @scotmcknight This bk is in the Ancient Practices series. Is there 1 figure/era of church history that is particularly significant for you?12:37 PM Jun 10th from web in reply to scotmcknight
  62. @scotmcknight WRT fasting, that is… sorry hit up against my 140 character limit…12:38 PM Jun 10th from web in reply to scotmcknight
  63. @ERBks From my emphasis, you can see I’ve focused on recovering the Biblical stuff. But…>12:39 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  64. @ERBks John Wesley was very good on fasting, even if he had one event that caused great consternation.>12:39 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  65. @ERBks And, as I say in the book, Adalbert de Vogue — however you spell it — is very good too. I like John Piper’s book, too.12:40 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  66. @scotmcknight Thanks! Did researching and writing this book change your own practices of fasting? And if so, how?12:42 PM Jun 10th from web in reply to scotmcknight
  67. @ERBks Yes, though I had seen how important the “responsive” element was, this book sealed that for me.>12:42 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  68. @ERBks I began to fast on mornings I was writing as a response to my need for God’s grace and wisdom as I wrote.>12:43 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  69. @ERBks And the notion of heroic fasts — where the emphasis is on how long — lost all attraction for me.12:44 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  70. @scotmcknight If I may, which one of the forms of fasting (body contact,hope,etc) that you describe in this bk is most challenging for you?12:46 PM Jun 10th from web in reply to scotmcknight
  71. @ERBks I don’t do the “body contact” mode of fasting because, for me, it is far too instrumental in approach.12:47 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  72. @ERBks And I should say that I don’t have a routine fasting rhythm: what I call Body Discipline in the book.>12:49 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  73. @ERBks Which means I don’t have one day a week where I fast, or even one day a month. I tend to rely on responding to something…>12:49 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  74. @ERBks as that which triggers fasting for me.12:49 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  75. @scotmcknight Thx so much for talking with us today! 1 last question that I can’t resist as one interested in bks and missional reading:12:49 PM Jun 10th from web in reply to scotmcknight
  76. @scotmcknight If you could recommend one other essential book on fasting, what would that be?12:50 PM Jun 10th from web in reply to scotmcknight
  77. @ERBks One other essential book? I think the book by de Vogue, though too much into a monk’s lifestyel, is the best.12:50 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  78. @ERBks But the best — most complete — is by Kent Berghuis. Rigorous and theologcally sound.12:51 PM Jun 10th from Tweetie in reply to ERBks
  79. Tweetie told me I’m tweeting too much!12:52 PM Jun 10th from web
  80. @scotmcknight LOL! Any last thoughts?12:53 PM Jun 10th from web in reply to scotmcknight
  81. @ERBks Nope, this was fun. I hope it helps some who follow Twitter.12:53 PM Jun 10th from web in reply to ERBks
  82. Thanks again @ScotMcKnight and thanks to all who have been following our conversation! Be sure to check out Scot’s book! http://tr.im/o3dj12:56 PM Jun 10th from web
  83. And if you haven’t seen it, my review of Scot’s book is here: http://englewoodreview.org/…12:56 PM Jun 10th from web
  84. @ERBks Thanks brother.12:57 PM Jun 10th from web in reply to ERBks
  85. Our next twinterview will be with @DavidDark on his book THE SACREDNESS OF QSTNG EVERYTHING Next Monday 6/15 Time: TBD12:58 PM Jun 10th from web