Friday, March 10, 2006


Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

I’ve heard if the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy. In a recent column, I mentioned junk mail as a time thief that adds another layer to already busy lives. Sometimes I feel like a tree landed on my home, only it descended in sheets of paper. I wish I could fast from junk mail.

Catalogs, credit card applications, political brochures—in a year’s time reams of paper were toted into our home. Perhaps, someone will invent a mailbox with a shredder. Even pricey, I might invest in one.

But junk mail isn’t the only culprit that crowds taxed schedules. Busyness is sometimes self-inflicted when overdoses of entertainment is preferred to productive work or rest. Television, telephone and computers have a place in life, but over indulgences, become addictions.

A health and science Web site reports the average household has a television on 6 hours and 47 minutes, and that 66% of families watch television and eat dinner. Annually, a staggering 260 billion hours of TV is watched by Americans.

During Lent many people of faith are fasting, but not all are fasting from food. At the first semester of seminary, a professor asks his students to fast from media for one week. Another professor/mentor recommended that a female student fast from dating for three months. The student found time to focus on studies and life direction. Then, the student quarantined herself from dating for an additional three months.

In Lauren F. Winner’s book Mudhouse Sabbath, she tells how she fasted from reading during Lent. Fasting has a purpose. In an article, Ms. Winner wrote, “We give up something for Lent to align ourselves with the heart, will, and experience of Jesus.”

Ms. Winner continues, “Fasting teaches us that we are not utterly subject to our bodily desires. And in sated and overfed America, fasting reminds us, sharply, of the poor.” Fasting is like walking a tightrope—imbalance is noticed. Denial of self may be foreign, but God calls followers to contemplation, meditation, solitude, silence and abstinence.

Lauren Winner also says about fasting, “It is a necessary tool for rousing us from our day-to-day sleepwalking.” Trudging in the trench the world has carved out? Stupored by cultural demands? Feel compelled to answer each time the planet rings your doorbell? Fast from the clamor.

Be quiet. Be still. Know God.

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