(WSJ) Christians Join Muslims in Fasting for Ramadan

Like 1.6 billion Muslims around the world fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, Jeff Cook has been rising before dawn each morning to have breakfast. He doesn’t eat again until breaking his fast with dinner.

But Mr. Cook isn’t Muslim, doesn’t have close Muslims friends, and has never been inside a mosque. The Christian pastor from Greeley, Colo., is fasting for the 30 days of Ramadan, which ends Friday, as part of a nascent effort among American Christians to better understand and support Muslims.

Mr. Cook posted a photo of himself on Twitter holding a sign that read: “I’m Jeff””A Christian in America. I’ll be fasting in solidarity #Christians4Ramadan.”

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Dieting/Food/Nutrition, History, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Theology

10 comments on “(WSJ) Christians Join Muslims in Fasting for Ramadan

  1. Katherine says:

    Well, his intentions are good, so there’s something. I was surprised to learn in Egypt that observant Copts fast more than Muslims do. They not only don’t eat or drink during the daylight hours of their fasts, they don’t feast at night as their Muslim neighbors do during Ramadan. Christian fasts, whether lengthy or brief, are usually tied to some liturgical season based on the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of the Lord, or on a special fast for a specific prayer need. Ramadan, on the other hand, comes from a pre-Islamic Arab custom having no particular Islamic theological significance, although various reasons and disciplines are proposed by various groups. Basically, it’s an exercise in Islamic identity, which is why many Muslims will fast even though they don’t pray or perform the Hajj. Mr. Cook’s motives and thinking seem to me a bit fuzzy.

  2. Karen B. says:

    Hi Katherine,
    I can’t read the article, as I’m not a WSJ subscriber. But, I too sometimes wonder and worry about fuzzy motives/thinking of those who undertake the Ramadan fast out of “solidarity.” Christians need to remember that Muslims view the Ramadan fast as part of their attempts to earn God’s favor. So we need to be careful not to somehow mislead Muslims into thinking that we agree with WHY they are fasting.

    However, I do totally support some form of fasting & prayer during Ramadan as part of a commitment to pray for and minister to Muslims. Ramadan in the Muslim world (as I know you know well!) is typically a time of real spiritual warfare. God can work through our prayer & fasting to draw Muslims to Himself, and to strengthen persecuted Christian minorities in Muslim lands.

  3. Karen B. says:

    P.S. I meant to add, I also have a problem with the idea of posting a selfie on Twitter saying “I’m a Christian and I’m fasting…”

    I think Jesus said something once about not publicly proclaiming our fasting…

  4. Katherine says:

    Yes, Karen B., fasting and prayer asking God to draw Muslims to Him is a wonderful practice during Ramadan or at any time. As you surmised, the man in this article was doing it in “solidarity” with Muslims and to “understand them better.” Muslims, as you point out, fast during Ramadan as a part of the works-righteousness nature of the faith. They get points with Allah for fasting.

  5. Ralph says:

    What a foolish thing to do, for the reasons stated above.

    Perhaps his next action will be to spend the night in a bathhouse to show his solidarity with homosexuals, and to understand them better. He would certainly learn a lot, much more than he’s ever going to learn from fasting.

  6. Vatican Watcher says:

    1. Katherine, it’s mind blowing to consider just how much ‘eastern’ Christians fast and how long. Occasionally I see historical posts crop up that describe just how strict RCC fasting was only a hundred years ago or less and I feel so discouraged at our modern RCC laziness.

  7. Katherine says:

    Vatican Watcher, my husband survived a very serious medical situation three years ago. In gratitude for that great blessing we have begun the very modest practice of not eating meat on Fridays. Even that is something the western churches don’t ask any more — any of them, as far as I know.

  8. Vatican Watcher says:

    7. Katherine, some do. In the RCC, the rule currently is that Catholics should fast or perform some other form of penance according to the local bishops’ conference. As you note, most everyone dropped the ‘don’t eat meat’. But a few years ago, the bishops of England and Wales chose to go back to the old practice of no meat on Fridays. So it’s not totally extinct and at least in the RCC, the bishops can go back to making it mandatory at any time if they felt like it.

  9. Nikolaus says:

    I can’t read the article and I don’t see my question addressed directly above. As a CHRISTIAN pastor, does Mr. Cook fast during any of the traditional Christian periods of fasting?

  10. Katherine says:

    Hard to say, Nikolaus. His biography says he teaches philosophy at the University of Norther Colorado and pastors the Atlas church in Greeley. This seems to be a trendy gathering in a former theater in Greeley. On the other hand the church website lists the full Nicene Creed as a statement of faith. No way to know if he fasts. According to the article, he got into this after having been impressed by #MuslimsforLent, in which some Muslims tried giving up foods or activities for Lent.