The Crusader Online

April 11, 2014
Vol. 55 No. 21

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Chaplin's Corner

Think you can drink a lot of beer? Consider this: J. Wilson, craft brewing enthusiast, gave up food for Lent and subsisted only on beer (religion.blogs.cnn.com). If that sounds like a college student's dream, it turns out that the all-beer diet had nothing to do with beer pong or getting drunk. Centuries ago, German monks developed a rich, malty doppelbock (a dark and yummy beer) to sustain them in their Lenten fasts.
Combining his love of beer and a desire to deepen his spiritual life, Wilson decided to give it a try. As a family man and father of two, he had no desire to be drunk. So, he paced four beers over the course of each day. After two days of feeling hungry, he writes that hunger was replaced by great focus and a new appreciation of the difference between wants and needs. Wilson wrote: "The benefits of self-discipline can't be overstated in today's world of instant gratification. The fast provided a long-overdue tune-up and detox, and I've never felt so rejuvenated, physically or mentally." That may be a surprising way to reconnect with the foundations of faith, but faith usually means marching to the beat of a slightly different drummer.
This week is both Passover and Holy Week. Passover is the ancient Jewish festival commemorating liberation from slavery in Egypt. Holy Week is the Christian festival commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Both are festivals of liberation, of historical memory combined with active hope in the present. Both Passover and Holy Week have a wonderful and disruptive message: God is living and active and never, ever done with us.
What would it mean to live with such hope? If doing something like subsisting on doppelbocks for 46 days brings you deeper into that question, I say, go for it.

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