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Reform Magazine | May 23, 2024

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A good question: Lent: Have we given up giving up? - Reform Magazine

A good question: Lent: Have we given up giving up?

One question, four answers

Eugenia Constantinou
‘Fasting is not just about food’

We should give up giving up. I suppose that seems strange coming from an Orthodox Christian. But yes, you should give up giving up because Great Lent was never about giving up something for God in the first place. Deprivation itself is not a goal…

Eugenia Constantinou is Adjunct Professor of New Testament at Franciscan School of Theology, San Diego. Her books include Thinking Orthodox: Understanding and acquiring the Orthodox mind

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Richard Church
‘Jesus denied himself food to devote himself to prayer’

I think that life finds its meaning as it is lived with Jesus Christ. Yet this entails a developing journey of faith which provides obstacles as well as encouragements along the way. To undertake this journey is to be challenged to live more freely. I can’t claim to be free if all the time I am craving other people’s praise or alternatively wanting above all not to be noticed…

Richard Church is a retired minister and Chair of URC Spirituality

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Anjum Anwar
‘I am spirituality charged during Ramadan’

The Qur’an says, ‘O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may develop God-consciousness.’ (2:183)

For me, fasting is much easier when the fasting period falls in the winter months, as days are shorter. Whereas in the summer our fasting time can last up to 20 hours…

Anjum Anwar is a teacher. She worked as Dialogue Development Officer for Blackburn Cathedral from 2007 to 2016

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Charissa King
‘Yes. I take action for Lent’

I think so, yes. I couldn’t tell you the last time I gave something up for Lent. I’m sure that when I did give something up for Lent, I did so with the questionable belief that it was what ‘good Christians’ did.

None of my friends, family members or colleagues tell me that they regularly give something up for Lent. People I have known who do tended to be serial dieters, health enthusiasts, or keen to sandwich the fact with statements about how ‘not religious’ they are…

Charissa King (@cktypes) is a magazine editor and Christian writer

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This is an extract from an article published in the March 2023 edition of Reform

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