@GlennBeck is Fasting



On his broadcast this morning, radio talk show host and burgeoning media mogul Glenn Beck shared with his audience of millions that he and his co-hosts were fasting for God’s will to be done during this campaign season.  Oopsy.

You see, fasting is not really supposed to be something you go around telling people you are doing.  The point of a fast is that you refrain from the intake of food in order to spiritually discipline yourself, focus on a particular issue in communion with God, or other things.  You are also supposed to do it in a particular way.

Rather than me tell you, allow me to share with you the way Jesus suggested one go about it:

Matthew 6:16-18 (NRSV)

16 “And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

As you can see, the practice of fasting is one that should be undertaken with seriousness and privacy.  It’s not about “look at me, look at me!”  To be fair, I didn’t see Mr. Beck.  He could very well be keeping up his appearance.  He could also be taking this practice seriously as a spiritual exercise.

However, he should not profit from the practice in any way.  By the very fact that he shared it with his audience, Glenn Beck has gained the further admiration and credibility of his audience.  If this were the only time he has ever done this, I wouldn’t be that upset.  However…

Back in his FOX News days, he began to make this transition from political pundit to politically religious figure.  During the debate over the Affordable Care Act–Spring 2010, I believe–Mr. Beck took time during one of his shows to declare a type of fatwa against Jim Wallis (of Sojourners) and any clergyperson who placed any type of emphasis on social justice or social holiness.

As a United Methodist–and a student of John Wesley, a huge proponent of social holiness–I was a bit offended.  Beck told his audience–a typically pliable and obedient group–that any of them who noticed this type of message being preached or taught in their church should contact higher church authorities to have them punished in some way.  For those who know Beck’s use of fascist analogies in his arguments, you realize how incredible this was.

What’s the point?  Well, I hope you would exercise extreme caution and skepticism before listening to this man on issues of religion and religious expression.  Obviously, his financial interests in media and his ideological bent make his opinions and actions suspect, at best–nefarious, at worst.

2 comments on “@GlennBeck is Fasting

  1. Carl
    October 15, 2012 at 6:58 AM #

    Mr. Beck is trying to inspire the nation to look back to God. Perhaps if you focused more on leading and inspiring rather than criticizing, you would not need Mr. Beck doing your heavy lifting for you and the church.

    • Chris Tiedeman
      October 15, 2012 at 7:38 AM #


      Part of leadership includes correction and accountability. Fasting is pretty universally recognized as something to be done as a quiet, personal spiritual practice. While he MIGHT not have meant to seek a pat on the back for it, he has an audience of millions who are sometimes rabidly dedicated to his particular brand of fervor. They are chomping at the bit to ensure people realize he is an amazing – sometimes messianic – figure.

      If one cannot inspire a “movement” without touting one’s own personal spiritual accomplishments, maybe one doesn’t have much of a message to build a movement on?

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