Fast Living: How the Church Will End Extreme Poverty

Imagine a young couple in the labor and delivery room experiencing the birth of their first child. Hear her groans, see the sweat, and feel the anxious tension.

book cover of Fast Living

Now place a bag of potato chips in the husband’s hands and picture him munching away as he watches his wife give birth. As if it were on TV. It’s just wrong!

Or picture the man standing in the baptismal with his pastor. He’s wearing a white robe and preparing to confess Jesus as Lord of his life as he publicly identifies with the death, burial, and resurrection of his Lord in baptism.

Then, out from the folds of his robe, he brings forth the bag of chips and starts munching. Never!

“Who gives this woman to be married to this man?” “Her mother and I.”

Munch munch.


These are sacred moments. And in sacred moments, we do not eat. It seems wrong to eat. We don’t think about not eating in the moment — it simply feels unnatural and unthinkable.

Scot McKnight defines fasting as the “natural response of a person to a grievous sacred moment.” McKnight emphasizes that fasting is a natural response.

Like not eating during your wedding vows because the moment is too sacred. Like not eating as you look into the casket at a funeral because the moment is too grievous.

McKnight emphasizes that fasting is a response to a very serious situation, not a device to take us from a good level to a better level. Did you get that?

Read the rest of this excerpt from Scott’s book, Fast Living, at Outreach Magazine

3 Comments |Add a comment

  1. 4granted October 28, 2011

    I read Dr. Todd’s book and found it so inspiring. While poverty and its causes are complex and multi-faceted, Fast Living helped simplify and clarify the issues. If we call ourselves “biblical” Christians we must heed the words of Isaiah 58, and be willing to not only fast (which many of us do not do) but also to share our food with the hungry. There’s a free group study guide for this book available at:

  2. Gail October 6, 2011

    But we always eat ALOT after a serious event – it’s called a reception, a wake, a graduation party… I haven’t read the book but I wonder how that bit fits in?

  3. Jill Foley ~ Compassion Family October 6, 2011

    I just finished reading this book last week – it’s a great read!

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