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on January 25, 2007
Fasting: Spiritual Freedom Beyond Our Appetites is a wonderful look at the Christian practice of fasting from historical and contemporary viewpoints. As Lynne Baab is quick to point out, "fasting" is not about denial, but about liberation; it is a spiritual practice that brings us into deeper awareness of our relationship to God. We can fast from a number of appetites or habits; not only from eating, but watching TV, surfing the internet, reading the newspaper. As a student re-acquainting herself with Scripture and Christian theology, I really appreciated learning more about the benefits and practice of fasting. This book is both a guide about how to fast in a healthy and balanced manner to enhance prayer, and a means of connecting with a community of Christians who share a variety of fasting experiences with Baab. This subject is important and timely considering the hectic pace of our lives in this information-driven age. Baab's book inspires us to take the time to better appreciate and practice our faith.
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on February 28, 2007
In Fasting Lynn Baab gives a very interesting overview of the concept of fasting and its place in Christian tradition, both past and present. However, for me it addresses a much bigger issue; that of stuffing our lives, not just our faces, until we feel bloated, overwhelmed and unable to enjoy anything. This is a wonderful book for just examining how it might feel to empty out a part of your life and then see what interesting things emerge to fill that emptiness.

There is a common adage that says "when one door closes, another opens." Baab shows us that when we discipline ourselves to close a door on something which has become too central, too desperate for us to have, previously unseen doors can open and a fresh breeze can enter. This is Baab's message, whatever your religious practice. And she delivers it with clarity and optimism.
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on January 26, 2007
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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on May 2, 2007
This is a great, easy, freeing book that brings the Spiritual Disciplines back to their original intent - to connect with God. Thank you for writing this timely, easy to understand book that fits into today's world.
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on September 15, 2007
I just finished reading this book today. I decided to read the whole thing in one sitting, and to do a water-juice fast to boot! What a great day, largely because this is such a marvelously sensible and spiritually satisfying book on fasting. I bought the book because I am interested in the idea of fasting as a means to gain greater control over my desires and to thus allow Christ greater reign in my life. I was intrigued by the sub-title: "Spiritual Freedom Beyond Our Appetites." Yes, that's what I was looking for, and this book delivers! The author provides a wonderfully thorough yet simple guide on Christian fasting centered on the idea that fasting is a means to experiencing greater spiritual freedom and intimacy with Christ. Some things I enjoy about this book in particular are: 1) The numerous "mini" stories from ordinary people who have engaged in all kinds of fasts - their struggles, joys, and lessons they have learned; 2) The equal emphasis on non-food fasts, such as fasts from TV, newspapers, shopping, etc.; 3) The emphasis on how fasting can help us identify with the poor and hungry of the world; and 4) The humble, honest, encouraging tone of the book. There are many books on fasting out there, but if you share the spiritual goals that I have expressed here, this is the book to read.
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VINE VOICEon October 27, 2008
In this book Baab draws out a brief historical and biblical outline of fasting. She focuses on the few verses that are found within the Bible, and, while the verses are extremely limited, her use of them is fairly well done.

She also takes extreme caution in explaining the intricacies of fasting for individuals and communities. She overemphasizes the hazards of fasting for those with eating disorders and other diseases such as diabetes. This got a bit old, but it is a very important factor when considering fasting, so she was better off writing too much about these effects than not enough.

The style of the book gave me the most problem. While I was looking for an introductory book into the ideal/practice of fasting, the way in which the book was structured and written were not quality. It reads like a decently written freshman english research paper. Not too extensive in facts, and very brief in explanations, too many ambiguous examples, and very simple sentence structures.

It did however lay down some of the basics of fasting that I was curious about, but when the author suggested that she fasted from some sort of shiny jewelry, she lost some of her credibility with me. I understand it may be something that really impacted her, but I found that a bit ridiculous.

I made the classic mistake of judging the book by it's cover(which is pretty cool), and came up disappointed. Although, I will say that the references within this book are an ever better re-starting point for me to dig a bit deeper into the subject of fasting. So, this is a mediocre book, and I wouldn't recommend it to anybody who has heard that much on fasting.
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on February 24, 2007
This is a thoughtful analysis of fasting not a sales pitch. I really enjoyed the historical overview and the perspective on how fasting could be a positive or a negative.

It explores the roots of fasting and how those roots might grow in our 21st century lives.

There are ideas for making room in your life for more freedom and purposefulness via various forms of fasting but this is not a book that will make you feel guilty. Interact with this book to form your own mature values around fasting.
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on June 1, 2007
I love the way Ms Baab expanded on the idea of fasting to include so much more than food. She has taken Biblical and historical facts about fasting and brought them into today's world with today's experiences. She shows us how to abstain for anything that becomes too large in our lives, from food to the internet, in order to seek God or a deeper relationship with Him.
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on March 20, 2010
Lynne Baab does a great job with a much neglected subject: Fasting. She works with scripture in a way that is exegetically sound. I like the way she traces the practice of fasting through church history,and she does so in a clear and distinct writing style. As the old saying goes, "She gives us the cream of the crop." I like her sensible approach to the practice of fasting, applying it not only to food but also to other material items in our lives. Lynn has capsuled an approach to fasting that fits our busy and materialistic lifestyle. I especially found helpful her discussions of fasting excesses such as in the case of eating disorders. She does a very good job of analyzing our culture and our addiction to food. Thanks Lynn. I plan to use this to develop a small group study for my parishioners.
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on March 2, 2010
I felt called to fast during Lent this year, but didn't really know the best way to do this. Baab provided a historical and Scriptural basis for fasting as well as information on various ways to fast. In other words, it provided exactly what I needed, including questions for reflection. As a result of the foundation I received by reading this book, I have been able to grow spiritually by fasting and am grateful this resource came into my hands at this opportune time. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in beginning this spiritual discipline.
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