• (Please refer to "Fasting for the City and the World, Part I for the introduction to this piece.) Why was it so difficult to get into the swing of a 24-hour weekly fast? "Primarily, it's that I had become used to the luxury of eating when I want until I am full," said our nonetheless determined striver. "So the first time I fasted, it felt like I was suffering a lot. I was intensely aware of feeling faint. Everything I looked at reminded me of food. It seemed that so many of my thoughts and actions were attached to the idea of food---making food, buying food, meeting people for food...It was overwhelming. "The first time I tried fasting, I just gave

    Dec 31,
  • Fasting is a devotional discipline shared throughout history by the three major Abrahamic religions---Judaism, Christianity, and Islam---and by some of the world's other spiritual traditions as well. In the Jewish faith, fasting is mandated for Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, at which time people strive to cultivate the heart of confession and repentance. Throughout the month of Ramadan, many Muslims the world over engage in ritual fasting in an effort to draw the mind away from the mundane, and into deeper and more continual communication with God. A certain New Testament passage, Matthew 6:16, indicates an assumption on the part of Jesus that his own followers will fast as a matter of course, and there is ample biblical treatment of

    Dec 29,
  • If you were thinking "What should we do today?" - Brick's 4x4 Off-Road Park has a thought for you...GET MUDDY!!!!! Open Dec 29 - Jan 1st for your muddin' pleasure. And don't let not having a 4x4 or ATV. Spectating is just as fun (and less muddy). And if you are the adventurous type, they still have a few campsites available for you as well. For more information, check out their web site.

    Dec 29,
  • I have not been one to repose great faith in the "New Year's resolution" concept. This is because, due to the hectic pace of the season in which they are made, resolution lists seem cobbled together as a feverish afterthought, or as a party game on the libation-drenched night of December 31st, when the guacamole dip is running low and the beer commercials aren't. Typically, people reel off a series of wildly varied goals requiring the monitoring and completion of long-term processes, though few will acknowledge that such work is critical to the attainment of their stated goals. "I'm going to quit smoking," someone will say. "I'm going to be a better son." "We're going to have more frequent and loving family dinners

    Dec 28,
  • Not too long ago, I observed from a distance a wiry, bearded, and poorly-dressed middle-aged fellow in the grocery store. Clearly, circumstance had dealt harshly with this one-time "flower child" over the years: The appearance of his skin, eyes, and teeth suggested health that had been systematically compromised by some rather poor choices in his time. Standing in the doorway, this man seemed quite upset about something; others were avoiding him. I approached him and we talked. Somewhat unusually, given the setting, we also, in time, elected to sing. On the off-chance you were there, you may remember having seen us; we were the unique pair covering Chicago's '70s mega-hit "Colour My World" while strolling down through Frozen Foods. An

    Dec 22,

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