At 8:07pm tonight I officially joined the millions of Muslims worldwide in honoring God through the practices of Ramadan, which I will blog my own experiences of at the end of each day. For the next 30 days, Muslims will heighten their God-consciousness through fasting from multiple endeavors from sunrise till sunset, though the ones I have the greatest anxieties about are FOOD and WATER.
I know you’re probably wondering Why would she do such a thing—she doesn’t even HAVE to—she’s not Muslim! Let me be straight with you. The answer is 3-pronged.
- I am a liberal protestant Christian. Of the most progressive kind. And while this niche is a great fit for me, it does not put me naturally in the proximity of a Collective which practices the spiritual disciplines during Lent anymore. Lent used to be a time for many Christians to experience a stirring of unity and longing for God’s realm together. Now it’s easier to find rolled eyeballs at such an antiquated “requirement.” It’s always sad to me when we throw the baby out with the bathwater.
- I have become compulsive and mindless about what goes into my mouth. I could give you lots of reasons why that’s happening in my life to the degree it is currently, but that would likely sound like what’s driving your own life of mindless compulsivity, so why waste your time? Suffice it to say that I need Ramadan to pull me out of the rut I’ve allowed stress to suck me into.
- I am a Pastor of Inclusion. And in my little city of Chelsea, I don’t know one person who embraces the Islamic or Jewish faith. My fellow Chelsea-ites and I don’t have much opportunity to learn what it means to be the People of God when we only have part of the group in our midst. How will we ever live into Jesus’ prayer “that they may all be one” if we don’t know anything about the “others” who are important to our oneness in Christ?
I am not naturally an early riser, but tomorrow you better believe I’m gonna get my crabby corpse out of bed at 5:15am because I need to be done with breakfast by 5:37, which is when the sun peeks over the horizon.
And you better believe I’m gonna pack the protein and hydration on.
I know from my dear friend, Jaye, who happens to be Muslim, that strictness of the “rules” is not the point of Ramadan. If you are challenged in ways that don’t allow you to fully fast, it’s really okay. But still I feel nervous. Funny how when you know that you won’t be able to have access to something completely, your sense of control is threatened and you suddenly begin to crave the security of it.
Like being told it will be 2 hours till you get to the next restroom.
Being told you have 6 months to live.
Or maybe being told you will be recklessly hungry every afternoon for a month—with fastfood signs at every exit ramp while you’re on the freeway, but unable to mindlessly drive thru to yet another compulsive meal eaten while catching up on emails.
Hmmm. Maybe Ramadan is exactly the “requirement” I’ve been looking for.