Darfur Fast for Life

We fast in solidarity with the hungry and starving in Darfur and for lasting peace in Sudan

blog 3: day two, letters to the editor

May 12, 2009 By: Admin Category: Jon Foreman

I got this letter today:

This is kinda weird. I’m all for publicity — especially when artists are speaking up for the downtrodden in Africa — but when somebody’s fasting, it just doesn’t seem right to publicize — at least not during the fast. From Matthew 6:16

“And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. 17 But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. 18 Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you”

Please take this in the right spirit. You know I’m a big Switchfoot and Foreman fan, and not just because of their music. I’m passionate about a lot of the same things Jon is passionate about, and I have the utmost respect for him. But this seems like, well, not your typical publicity fodder.

Feel free to tell me to take hike! 😉

here’s my response:

Hola friend,

thanks for your thoughtful email. I think understand your feelings about the publicity element of this fast. I have thought this through and would like to offer a few thoughts of my own.

First off, if the term “fast” throws you off, try a different term- maybe hunger protest. Or maybe this one: hunger strike.

The all-informative Wikipedia says this:

A hunger strike is a method of non-violent resistance or pressure in which participants fast as an act of political protest, or to provoke feelings of guilt in others, usually with the objective to achieve a specific goal, such as a policy change. A hunger strike cannot be effective if the fact that it is being undertaken is not publicized so as to be known by the people who are to be impressed, concerned or embarrassed by it.

Or maybe try this term instead: 30 hour famine.

The 24-hour famine, the 30-hour famine, and the 40-hour famine are all very public attempts (most often within the church), to raise awareness and join in with those who are starving. Literally starving. The Global Food Crisis is in year two… And none of my friends really knows about it; to do nothing at all feels wrong. These are well accepted forms of “fasting” within the church.

If none of those terms work, I understand. Don’t talk at all about my hunger strike if you don’t feel comfortable with it. But instead I ask that you would write a whole article about Darfur. Save every dot of ink and every scrap of page for the ones I’m trying to draw attention to. Fast with me (in public or private). Join in with those who need your help. This would be my ultimate goal…

I thought about matthew 6 before I began this fast and feel comfortable with my decision to make this fast public. Fasting is one of the only ways I could think of to enter into the suffering of darfur. Like I’ve said earlier- I honestly don’t have a better idea! If you or anyone else has any better ideas as to how to end the cycle of violence and despair I’m all ears. Or let me know how to support what your doing over there and I will try my best to lend my songs to the cause.

To bring it back to the specifics of this fast, Darfur remains the United Nations’ largest relief operation. More than 2.7 million civilians have been driven from their homes, and about 4.7 million rely on humanitarian aid to this day.

and that is why I cannot eat…


4 Comments to “blog 3: day two, letters to the editor”

  1. Maureen K. says:

    Well said! Thanks!

  2. Mark McClure says:

    The fast that should not be publicized is a fast focused solely on relationship with God. Fasting for Dafur, for solidaritary, political protest, or any other reason is not in that category. The reward sought in the fast for Dafur or others in need is relief for those who are suffering.

  3. jon,
    I think you and the others who are fasting to bring attention and awareness to this awful plight of the people of Darfur are doing the right thing ! I love your response it was wise and to the point and very elequent which is what we expect from a man with your vision . I also admire how you NEVER capitilize your name jon. I will pray for the people of Darfur & for you and your family , God Bless

  4. Mark nailed it – and I’ll reiterate it. “Fasting” is the best word we have in English for not eating with purpose. The fasts written about in Matthew were an attempt to become closer to God (and my guess is that there were different words used by Matthew for fast for God and fast for any other purpose, just like “love” is 4 different words, but one for us), not to bring awareness about an issue. Two completely different things.