Lenten Beans and Rice Fast

February 24, 2012

Charlie and I will be doing a five-day beans and rice fast as part of our observation of lent. We’ll be purchasing our kits from Trade as One. I wanted to tell you a bit about this and invite you in if you’re interested. I asked Lucas Brooks from Trade as One for some details on their rice and beans fast kits, which will be available on March 12th. Lucas provided this description from Nathan George, who is the CEO of Trade as One.

Each $25 pack not only comes with the food that they eat in the 5 day period (basically the staples of oatmeal, rice, beans), but also a donation that buys enough seeds for a person to live on for a year. Daily emails are provided for the five days to guide people’s reflections during the fast. These will likely be written by a thoughtful majority-world theologian/church practitioner to bring a voice from a context outside our own. The packs will also include information on the suppliers of the produce and how fair trade brings a sustainable way out of extreme poverty. At the end of the 5 days people will be encouraged to get together and break their fast, share their experiences, and bring their offerings/donations of the difference between what they have figured out that they normally spend on food and drink in a 5 day period and the price of the packs. Individuals/churches can decide what project to donate towards- whether hunger-related, clean drinking water, etc

So, with that from Lucas and Nathan, I wanted to give you a bit more information.

Why are we doing this?

Solidarity with the poor. Most of the world lives on a very simple diet. I think that Charlie and I will find it difficult to live on beans, rice and oatmeal for five days. Then, I think about those who are living in poverty and are not food secure. The idea of not being able to feed my children makes me heart-sick. We also want to hear how God might have us more deeply involved in poverty alleviation.

What does the Bible say about fasting?

The beans and rice fast is living on a simple diet for five days. It’s not completely giving up food, which is what most people think of with fasting. That being said, you can fast from anything. Alcohol. Chocolate. Coffee. In this fast, we’ll be fasting from our usual diet.

I’m no theologian. But, I’ll share a couple of principles on fasting.

  1. In Acts 13:2, we see Christians fasting as they are waiting on guidance from God.
  2. In Matthew 6:16-18, Jesus instructs us not to act pathetic. Don’t make a production out of it. Paraphrased from the message: ” . . . act normal outwardly. Shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash your face. God doesn’t require attention-getting devices.”

What are the details?

You eat oatmeal for breakfast each day, then beans and rice for your other two meals. The details are up to you. Spices. Sugar. Butter. They’re all peripheral. Do what works for you and your family. If I’m either judgmental or self-righteous, I’m missing the point.

What about children?

Personally, I think that this is something for adults. If your teens want to do it, then they should be included. But, I think it might be destructive to impose this on the children in your household. Fasting should be a choice that each person makes for him/herself.

I would love to do this as a community if there’s interest. I would be happy to do a group order and have you pick up your kits at my house if this would be helpful. I’ll also be happy to provide a link to the order page once the kits are available.

I would love to host a potluck here in Menlo Park on the night that we break our fast, and we could all contribute dishes made with at least one Fair Trade ingredient. It would be great to hear people’s reflections on the experience. If you’re interested in either ordering a kit through a group order or in breaking the fast with a potluck, please let me know in the comments below.



5 Responses to “Lenten Beans and Rice Fast”

  1. Nola Says:

    Count me in, Robin, for both the kit and the potluck! Thank you for inviting me to join you. Blessings, Nola

  2. Robin Johnson Simpson Says:

    Wonderful! It will be great to see you, Nola!

  3. Nola Says:

    Hi Robin,

    Shall I pick up my supply mañana? When are we doing the fast?


  4. Nola Says:

    Hi, Nathan said, “Daily emails are provided for the five days to guide people’s reflections during the fast…The packs will also include information on the suppliers of the produce and how fair trade brings a sustainable way out of extreme poverty.” Where do I access the emails? My pack didn’t include supplier information.

    Here’s to our mutual journey!

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