Thursday, February 09, 2006

Vegan Lent

Hey, what do vegans fast from during lent? and do any of you know of any orthodox vegans?


Simply Victoria said...

from chocolate,
from music (I've done this before, listened only to orthodox music for Lent; it helps make it more of a 'time set apart')
I know Brandon/Anastasy, when he was living with his mom, would fast from his beloved books, because his mom refused to cook Lent friendly for him:)

RW said...

I think the idea is to keep it simple. So, cut out the fancy extras...just your basics...don't spend alot of time and energy making elaborate meals that fit with the fast legally...

You want to free up time to focus more on prayer and reading of Scripture.

At least that is what we strive to do.... it is no help to me spiritually if I am spending a majority of my time trying to think of meals we can eat that fit within the fast and then have no time to for extra reading; or for church.

Kai said...

I think they will have to eat little, canonically correct, knack-wursten...and drink lukewarm champagne that has been stirred 13 times.

MatJenny said...

Two words: birch bark.

James said...

Fr. Larry says we could just eat plain boiled vegetables. I think that's a simplified diet for anyone.

rowena said...

I've spent some time being vegan and we are pretty much in that mode right now. It seems like there's no point in making large batches of food with dairy or oil in them because we can't eat them on Fridays or Wednesdays. Abstaining from a vice is an excellent idea- or one of your favourite (vegan) foods? Another idea is to make it a body cleanse and eat only raw foods. As a vegan, you can still eat foods fried in oil so there is still an element of fasting there.

Magdalen said...

Cutting out things that aren't food, like movies, tv, video games, non-Orthodox music (as Vic said) can be a good way of quieting down your life during Lent. Chocolate, or candy or other technically-legal (lenten) foods that you really enjoy is another alternative. I once tried to fast from coffee (as it turns out, a bad, bad idea...)

thomasw said...

as a vegan, i'd think the hard thing would be not to be proud of how self-sacrificing and self-controlled you are compared to others. for this reason during lent, i'd recommend vegans eat loads of shrimp, clams and other shell-fish just to test the state of your moral metal. For what do fast as a vegan? Is it for sake of veganism? Hence, if so, a vegan ought to consider whether they'd be willing to fast on shrimp for the sake of christ, just as I must try to fast on only veggies for the sake of christ. why otherwise ought a man to fast than to break down his own will and succumb to christ's will? if it is because of a false perception of animal meat being unclean or immoral to consume, then it would be shrewd to read more closely about St. Peter's dream in the book of acts.

Kai said...

Wow, you guys are far too serious about this. I'd better take my knackwurst and go to the other side of the room.
You realize of course that jokes are allowed, even during Lent.
And Thomas, you are absolutely, bang on, right on with your comment. Thank you. You got the idea across much better then my feeble knackwurst attempt.
And Magdalen, if coffee is the "bad thing" maybe you should concentrate on that alone and forget all the other stuff...
It's mind over matter, people!

Simply Victoria said...

I know Fr.John used to fast from coffee during Lent, and (from what I hear)he used to make poor Jenny fast as well! gah! can you imagine?
his kind advice to those willing to take on this Lenten podvig?
"the (caffeine-deprivation)headache only lasts about a week"

ugh! I'd sooner give up breathing. I'm not even joking.

pasivirta said...

thats the spirit Kai! mind over matter. don't worry though, I think jokes are allowed during lent, and the knackwursten made me chuckle too. you can still play with us in this side of the room.

5cent said...

Made me smile: Thanks friends!

MatJenny said...

Boy, Victoria, if that isn't proof that rumours are so much bull#%$*, I don't know what is!
I don't remember my husband fasting from coffee (I suppose he did once); in any case he doesn't now (though he does drink a lot less than I do) but he has NEVER 'made me fast' from anything, let alone coffee!!! Not only would it not work, but as he is not my pastor, he wouldn't presume to tell me how to fast. I don't know where this weird idea came from.

Kai -- I think Magdalen was saying that /giving up/ coffee was the "bad thing", not that coffee was!

Thomas -- the last time I checked, vegans didn't eat shellfish in Lent or any other time. If they did, they wouldn't be vegans. It's just a logic thing. And why assume that vegans have a problem with pride? We don't make the same assumption about those who are chaste or who don't drink. People have all kinds of reasons for what they choose to eat or not eat, and some of them could be very personal. It's not for us to presume about whether their reasons are worthy or not!I think a good motto for Lent would be "eyes on your own plate"!

Kai said...

matjenny, that's what I meant. I should have been more specific.
I live and die for a good espresso, that's why I fast from it some times. I want me decide if and when I want it and not it to force me to have it now... does that make sense?
Besides, one can fast from TV, blogging, music, chicken legs and anything that is or tries to control one instead of one controlling it....but me living on vegan stuff would just slowly and painfully kill me... :-)

Simply Victoria said...

but he told me himself that he gave up coffe for lent! perhaps it was just that one time? (and maybe he didn't even make it the whole lent?:P)
either way, I am much comforted.
it feels better knowing it's just as impossible for others.

thomasw said...

jenny: you raised a few excellent points in your reply and I just read them now, on feb.15. I will try to answer you to try to clarify my remarks. please be aware i speaking initially only tongue in cheek, but that your remarks got me thinking much more seriously about the rationale behind what i blurted out. i do think there is some sense to it, despite the cheeky tone in my original reply:) Here goes nothing:

"Thomas -- the last time I checked, vegans didn't eat shellfish in Lent or any other time. If they did, they wouldn't be vegans."

I know vegans don't eat shellfish; that is the point I was trying to make: to give up what you would want to do. Hence my cheeky suggestion. As a carnivore, I don't normallly eat vegetables, but during Lent veggies are what I live on. It is a feeble attempt I make to try and break my own desires and my will. If a vegan were to do the equivalent, they'd try to only eat what they normally don't want or choose to eat, i.e., something other than veggies. So, again, my cheeky suggestion.

"And why assume that vegans have a problem with pride? We don't make the same assumption about those who are chaste or who don't drink."

I admit right away your instincts are holier than mine. I do assume that those who can can control themselves well are quite satisfied that ability. You are quite correct in saying that I assume this 'pride' as a matter of course. Though I will indeed admit that certain specific vegans are not be proud of their amazing self-control and hard-earned eating habits. But I base my assumption on years of experience with other humans, particularly in instructing others. The usual attitude that surfaces when someone is clever or good at something is that they become proud of their ability. There are exceptions, but those very few only serve to prove this general rule. Furthermore, I have found that talented people even tend to get resentful of criticism directed at their ability. Does this not seem to accord with any of your experience? If not, then I am glad you haven't had to deal much with this side of people! But if it does strike you as all-too-familiar as it does for me, then why should it be much different with regard to the ability of self-control? Hence my own suggestion: "As a vegan, i'd think the hard thing would be not to be proud of how self-sacrificing and self-controlled you are compared to others." Again, I apply this to me based on my experience, as stated above, and it doesn't seem to lack any sense. If I had the ability to self-control well --- not only would I be easier on the eyes :) --- I know I would be quite satisfied with this set of habits. And I shamefully write this fact down, even as one who knows that it wasn't really me who did the real work in developing the great virtue of self-control into me. As Dostovesky wrote at the begining of The House of the Dead: "...I am a spiteful man...I think my liver is diseased..."

"People have all kinds of reasons for what they choose to eat or not eat, and some of them could be very personal. It's not for us to presume about whether their reasons are worthy or not!I think a good motto for Lent would be "eyes on your own plate"!"

Please be aware I was not trying to speak directly to anyone so as to lay my judgment on them. I intend my remarks to be taken in more general terms, to provoke thinking about what an orthodox christian vegan theorizes about when it comes to fasting. That motto is wise. So I guess during Lent instead of eating others, all orthodox, even vegans, should really try to eat up our own selves first? :)

MatJenny said...

Yeah, I know what you were saying, Thomas, about the reverse-what-you want-to-do-thing. But although you /prefer/ meat to vegetables, you do EAT vegetables; you don't have moral or conscientious grounds for not eating them. So the analogy is just not there. By this reasoning a chaste man would have to fornicate in Lent. Seems a bit odd.

Now, I am no vegan, not even vegetarian, but I do respect a person who is.

To delve a little deeper (uh oh)into this: I do NOT agree with the idea that meat is categorically wrong. A little untenable for Christians, as we know Our Lord ate fish, at least. But what I can really understand is someone having a problem with the unnecessary suffering of animals, and more so the destruction of habitat and land and the exploitation of people -- people with children, like you and me, so that we in North America can have our three helpings of cow's ass
every day.

Sadly, even shrimp ass, which I love, is not above reproach on these grounds, because for every pound of shrimp caught there are 5 pounds of other species that are killed and chucked away. I simply don't see what could possibly be wrong with taking a personal stand on this (issues of getting in other people's faces aside) as a Christian -- indeed I think that given our RAMPANT abuse of our role as stewards of creation, it is high time we did address some of these things. Or at least give some respect and an open mind to those who are confronting these issues themselves.

I don't think people have a special 'talent' or ability for being a vegan, any more than you have a talent for going to church. It's a commitment, one that is harder for some to make than others, one that is harder at times than at others, but it begins with a decision made in the will. Whether you are proud of it or not, well, with human beings that is likely to happen, but not necessarily to vegans more than others.

Now, I will admit that there is a little bit of a passionate-convert mentality in some alternative-eater types that is its own brand of irritating, but I try to keep a little corner of my brain reserved for the idea that on this one they just /might/ be right and I just don't want to admit it 'cause I love the animal parts. But I'm not there yet.

MatJenny said...

Sorry, Victoria -- my reaction wasn't to the report that Fr J gave up coffee in Lent -- yes, I do remember that happening at least once (he is rather quiet about what he gives up and even I don't realize it sometimes) but just the idea that he 'made me' do it too, which is totally not true. I would know, because if he tried I would move to a Greek island and drink coffee until I burst. And with those little cups it would take awhile.

Nope, the only time I've been off the jo in the last 15 years or so was when I was pregnant, and that was NOT because of any self-control (hah!) but because my body just said NO WAY any time you are in the same room with this stuff it will be to you as a great toxic vapour making your head and bowels wish to explode, yea, simultanously. It seriously said that. But a few weeks after both kids were born, BAM, the vapours receded.

I have my own personal pregnancy test that's free. It's called "Want coffee? No? Then you're pregnant. Have a nice day."

thomasw said...

jenny, thanks for the reply. Your syllogism is very clever:)

the case of chaste man is an interesting point. I think it applies rather differently than fasting from 'what-you'd-like' with regard to foods, in that the chaste man is refraining from smoooching, etc., (especially the et cetera :)) on non-fast days and during fasting days. Whereas the unchaste man, i.e., someone like me, tends to refrain from the 'et cetera' during fast times only and even then, with the consent of my beloved. Hence the great virtue of chastity seems to be a thing like honesty or courage wherein the chaste/honest/courageous man retains these virtues not more or less, but always constantly in spite of whether it is Lent or not. Thus being chaste is absolute and doesn't depend on the calendar, whereas fasting for us is not absolute and is situational.

With fasting from food this always done more during certain times or days. It is never the case that the chaste man or woman is sometimes supposed to be 'more' chaste. So I think the distinction holds between chastity and fasting from certain foods.

Your syllogism had me rolling on the floor laughing with tears, as it was quite clever:)

MatJenny said...

But I was making the analogy in a much more specific way. A vegan practices abstinence from meat and dairy on moral grounds (right or wrong) and a celibate (I should have said) abstains from sex on moral grounds (right or wrong). To expect a vegan to violate their conscience in Lent and eat shellfish (whether they are delusional or not) is the same /in a sense/ as asking a celibate to fornicate in Lent, as though Lent were just one big "opposite day" where the tables are turned no matter what. I am just saying that one must still follow one's conscience in Lent, even if violating it /would/ bring about a certain kind of humility. I believe this was Rasputin's logic for getting a lotta ladies into the sack -- pride is the only real sin; if you are virtuous then you must be proud; therefore, baby, let's get it on! Or have some shrimp, whatever.

Where of course the analogy breaks down is that sex outside of marriage is immoral in an absolute way, whereas eating meat is not. But I do think there is a way of eating that is immoral too, and it is this way, I believe, that we are increasingly complicit in when we refuse to see what our 'tastes' do to the world and to other people. We drink, and eat, iniquity like water.