I got this book because I am interested in studying Fasting. I am interested in the discipline, and as my minister thinks that it is unnecessary, it is not taught in my church.
Throughout this book, McKnight's approach to fasting is to examine it as a historical practice of the Church, and as a practice of the people of God that began in the Israelite people. In the first chapter, McKnight notes that fasting is a bodily practice and that many of our problems with fasting - both in not doing it and how it is done when we practice it - stem from our misconceptions of the body.
McKnight argues convincingly that we are biblically to understand the person as an "organic unity." He goes on to elaborate some destructive ways that we come to view our bodies as a result of making a sharp body/soul distinction: "a monster to be conquered," "a celebrity to be glorified," etc. So, he is making an arguement about the body and spirit that I find unnecessary and overly long.
It doesn't get at the whole reality of fasting, but rather reduces it to a "natural, inevitable response of a person to a grievous sacred moment in life". McKnight fails to ground fasting in the person and work of Jesus Christ or in our following Jesus as disciples.
While I appreciate the historical context of fasting, I was hoping for a frank, upfront manual on why modern Christians should, and how they should, fast. I was hoping for more than an obtuse arguement about fasting.
This book is good if you were looking for that... unfortunely, I was not. This is not a bad book, I have not found anything "wrong" with it, and as far as I can tell, it is theologically sound.
But it is not my kind of book.
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