Fasting Soul Noise

Fasting Soul Noise

It all started one Wednesday. A group of my friends were discussing the idea of fasting “criticism.” We’d just read an excerpt[i] by author Catherine Marshall on the topic. God impressed on her that she had a critical spirit and was to give it up for one whole day.

Objections crowded her mind. What about righteous judgment? But God brushed her resistance aside. “Just obey Me without questioning: an absolute fast on any critical statements for this day.”

fasting frees the mindAt first she felt empty, as if her personhood had been erased. Around the lunch table with her talkative family, topics concerning the judicial system and the institutional church emerged and she had to suppress her barbed comments. It seemed that no one missed her penetrating observations! She didn’t understand what God was doing…Continue reading



Do you know this feeling?

“When (you, as a teenager) took a problem to (an adult) as we all remember, (the adult) was very likely to explain what you understood already, to add a great deal of information which you didn’t want, and say nothing at all about the thing that was puzzling you. I have watched this from both sides of the net; for when, as a teacher myself, I have tried to answer questions brought me by pupils, I have sometimes, after a minute seen that expression settle down on their faces which assured me that they were suffering exactly the same frustration which I had suffered from my own teachers.”

—C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms

women said, woman listening to gossipAs a teenager, did you feel heard by adults when your heart was churning with questions? Did you only get a few words out before an adult springboarded off your simple wonderings to launch a monologue? Did you feel free to pose ideas contrary to church speak? Or would you face a diatribe of “correct theology”?

Albert Schweitzer wrote, “The teenage years are sometimes a process of unpleasant fermentation working itself off and leaving the wine clear. My religious instruction came through Pastor W. Although I respected him, I kept myself closed up. The good man never suspected what was stirring in my heart. His instruction was in itself excellent, but it gave no answer to a great deal of what my inner self was concerned with. How many questions I would have gladly asked him, but that was not allowed us. He believed that in submission to faith, all reasoning must be silenced.”

—Albert Schweitzer, Memoirs of Childhood and Youth

African-American single-parent familyBecause of this experience, Schweitzer believed that much goes on in the heart of a youth that most adults don’t realize. The problem is—kids don’t have a safe place to sort it out.

As parents, teachers, or adult friends of teens we can offer that context—an open atmosphere where kids are free to air their questions, struggles, and doubts. Spiritual wrestling is a normal part of adolescence. After all, this process is precisely what leads us to a stronger faith.

Christianity can stand up to the test.

two woman talkingWhen was the last time someone—anyone—sat down and pursued your heart, asked only a few questions to get things started, and then listened, really listened to you?Continue reading