Better living through discipline

7 Disciplines of A Leader

I attended ladies’ group this week at temple. I’m an Orthodox Christian (I was baptized into the church on June 3rd 2017). Orthodox Christians fast more than half the year. The fast closely resembles the Mediterranean Diet. Hmmm… Better living through ancient church beliefs about eating rituals? Yes. I admit to not being very strict when it comes to the fasting rule. with my food allergies and health issues, it seemed I would be exempt from the fasting rule but I did not WANT to be exempt. I understand the health, and spiritual, benefits of fasting and gaining control over one’s fleshly passions. Food is a passion for most people. If you disagree, take note of how many cooking shows and movies are food based. How many blogs there are JUST about food, cookbooks, Pinterest pins, etc. and you’ll see what I mean. But then… look at how few gyms there are around town and how few food/workout programs exist in health care.

In the case of my husband, only ONE 1!- doctor recommended he change his eating and workout habits to improve his health. His cardiac doc only recommend working out AFTER he had had the stent put in his heart and then it was only as part of the follow up protocol to the procedure and it’s called, ‘cardiac rehab’. Twelve weeks of working out to help strengthen him and help him to lose weight. He still has not signed up for it. Sigh.

In ladies’ group this week, we discussed holy week and the upcoming Lenten fast. Father made an interesting point: ‘If a Buddhist fast for religious reasons, they are applauded for their virtue. If a Christian fasts for religious reasons, Christianity is too legalistic.’.

What a true statement. Before I became orthodox, I would ask around to Protestant pastors about keeping a fast. Very little information was available. Responses varied and there were no set guidelines.’It’s between you and God.’ was the standard answer. Ok, I get that… but in scripture, Jesus said ‘WHEN you fast…’ not IF you fast so I would think that there would be a more clear and distinct explanation on how to do something so important than, ‘just wing it’. In Orthodoxy, there are set guidelines. Thank you for the set guidelines. I need more direction for such an undertaking and here they are; Usually, Orthodox fast on Wed. and Fri. unless it is a special no fasting week. We fast from; eggs, dairy, meat, oil and fish with a backbone, and wine. Sometimes there are more restrictions, sometimes less. all of these are given up for the Lenten fast and the Nativity fast (oh yeah, we fast in the weeks leading up to the birth of Christ).

Discipline brings about freedom. Fasting from food and sex (yes, you are supposed to refrain from sexual activity during a fast) brings your body, and your bodily passions, into submission. BTW? That IS a good thing to do. Giving into one;s passions is not freedom, it is bondage. The world would tell us otherwise, but what does the world know? Scripture tells us that there is a way that seems right to a man but it leads to death. It would seem right that I should be able to eat whatever I want and to never suffer any health issues because if it if I would just have more faith and pray a bit harder, but that is a childish and undisciplined interpretation of the bible. That kind of interpretation of scripture is what happens when you do not have 1500 years of holy and ancient tradition upon which to lean. That is what happens when you think you got this whole ‘Christian thing’ and you do not need anyone to tell you what to do cuz you’re not under the law. Yawn. You are also not under any kind of self, or scriptural, discipline if you are out there ‘winging it’ with self interpretation of scripture. Too many times have I sat in a Protestant church meeting listing to some guy who skipped seminary but thinks he has it has it all figured out tell the congregation that they can eat that chili dog and ‘pray off the crop’ (the consequences) because Paul had the power to shake off the poisonous bite of a snake.

Frescoes of Paul’s Ministry, Part 29: Paul and the Snake | hermitsdoor
In scripture, Paul takes a bundle of sticks and places them in a camp fire. A snake was in the sticks. In the process of escaping from the heat of the fire, it bites Paul on the hand. He shakes it off back into the fire and suffers no ill effects despite it having been a poisonous snake. Some people have erroneously interpreted that passage to mean they can eat and drink whatever the wish and suffer no ill effects if they have deep enough faith and pray hard enough. This is NOT what this passage is saying. Such misinterpretations can cause a great deal of harm to the uninformed. God ALWAYS advocates discipline, self denial, and our overcoming of passions in order to grow as Christians.

What we eat and drink matters. When my husband went through his heart issues, and because I do desire to participate in the fasting seasons and days in the church, we have adopted a modified Mediterranean Diet. I say modified because we do not eat the large amounts of grains it advocates. We are also concentrating on reduced caloric intake. About 1200 cals per day. I am already seeing a drop in weight in myself and a difference in the composition of my fat and muscle cells. Weird but true. My fat seems softer and my muscles more dense and slightly more defined. When I eat I feel satiated but not bloated and stuffed. I am having a bit of a hard time digesting all the roughage; green leafy stuff. all in all however, I am feeling better and I think hubby is too.

Well, that didn’t last I AM BACK ON PALEO. Read why HERE.



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