A beer-only fast for Lent

Short version of this post: J. Wilson undertook a 46-day beer-only fast for Jesus, followed by a bacon smoothie on Easter Sunday. Holy Doppelbock, Batman!

Over a year ago, on the podcast, I mentioned that I was brewing a delicious doppelbock — and that it was traditionally brewed and consumed by Paulaner monks at Cloister Neudeck ob der Au in Munich during Lent. Here’s a nice legend from Germanbeerinstitute.com:

The longest and most taxing of these periods of culinary abstinence was, of course, Lent, the 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Because the monks believed that liquids not only cleansed the body but also the soul, they would make plenty of liquid instead of solid bread from their grain, and then drink it in copious quantities…the more, the holier. Because the monks were society’s role models in those religious times…as did the monks so did the common folk. The secular verson of the sacred strong bier was called a Bockbier.

The first Lenten strong beer was brewed by Paulaner monks at Cloister Neudeck ob der Au in Munich. The Paulaners had arrived in Munich from Italy in 1627. They began brewing beer for their own comsumption shortly thereafter—exactly when is not clear. Depending on which documents one can trust, the year was 1630, 1651 or 1670. The Paulaners felt, however, that such a strong brew with such delightful qualities might be just a bit too much of an indulgence for Lent. So they decided to ask the Holy Father in Rome for a special dispensation so that they could continued to brew it with a clear conscience. The Paulaners dispatched a cask of Lenten beer to Rome for the pope to try and to pass judgment. During its transport across the Alps and along the burning sun of Italy, unfortunately—or fortunately—the cask tossed and turned, and heated for several weeks—a classic condition for causing beer to turn sour and undrinkable. So when the Holy Father tasted the much-praised stuff from Munich, he found it (appropriately) disgusting. His decision: Because the brew was so vile, it was probably beneficial for the souls of the Munich monks to make and drink as much of it as they could. Therefore, he willingly gave the brewing of this new, allegedly rotten, beer style his blessing. Little did he know…!

Today, I came across a blog from J. Wilson — a homebrewer, blogger, and Christian, who decided to undertake the same “liquid bread” fast this year for Lent. Awesome. To work his way back into solid foods, he drank a bacon smoothie on Easter Sunday. Awesome. I don’t even know if he’s heard about Homebrewed Christianity, but he might have catapulted himself onto the leaderboard for Deacon of the Year. Check out the article on CNN’s Belief blog.

Craig Goodwin’s Year of Plenty: Homebrewed Christianity 99

In 2008, Pastor Craig Goodwin and his young family embarked on a year-long experiment to consume only what was local, used, homegrown, or homemade. In Year of Plenty, Goodwin shares the winsome story of how an average suburban family stumbled onto the cultural cutting edge of locavores, backyard chickens, farmers markets, simple living, and going green. More than that, it is the timely tale of Christians exploring the intersections of faith, environment, and everyday life.

I really enjoyed the interview. Order a copy to read about Craig’s inspiring year of plenty. It even has advice in the back about how to raise chickens and other practical things they learned along the way.

We thought this episode would be especially fitting this year as Earth Day and Holy Week converge.

You can read more of Craig’s take on that intersection on CNN’s Belief blog.


Did they kill him too? Powerful story from This American Life for MLK Day

I love that I’m a part of a worshiping community where the pastor’s four-year-old runs around the pulpit while she preaches. I was supposed to have a staff meeting after, but told her that we need to postpone it because I was mad at her…her sermon on justice stepped on my toes too much. I was kidding of course. But her daughter — one of the cutest little girls I’ve ever known — playing next to her while she preached, reminded me of this story from PRI’s This American Life a few year’s ago.

Bonus related video:

May King inspire all of us today.

Ten popular posts and five podcasts you might have missed in 2010

This is based on a really complex algorithm I developed based on views, shares, and comments on Homebrewed. Actually, I just compared all of these things and threw this together rather arbitrarily. Let us know if I left out one of your favorites and what you want to see more of.

Sorry, no time for commentary on each of these. All of them are well-worth checking out if you missed any. I’m off to ring in the new year on 6th Street in Austin. It was a great year and we look forward to 2011!


1. John Caputo’s Fall 2010 Classes….in audio!

2. Philip Clayton invites Daniel Dennett to a debate: Will the New Atheist Accept or Hide (again!)?

3. What is wrong with ‘Progressive Theology?’

4. A megachurch pastor comes out of the closet, scandal free

5. Stuff Liberal Christians Like: #1 Saying, “I’m Not One of Those Christians.”

6. Stuff Liberal Christians Like: #2 Coexist Stickers

7. Disagree to Agree: Philip Clayton and Daniel Dennett

8. I Survived the Christian Right: Ten Lessons I Learned on My Journey Home

9. What Would Google Do? When a theology class reads it

10. Defining the Secular: Charles Taylor (pt. 3)


1. Anne Rice on Quitting Christianity: Homebrewed Christianity 83

2. NT Wright! Homebrewed Christianity 79

3. Marcus Borg, a “Novel” Jesus Scholar: Homebrewed Christianity 84

4. The Fascinating Life and Music of Kevin Prosch: Homebrewed Christianity 77

5. The Teaching Company Legend Phillip Cary on Homebrewed Christianity!

Douglas Ottati on a Christology of the Heart: Homebrewed Christianity 89

We’re closing out 2010 in a big way by continuing the Christology series with Douglas Ottati. Professor Ottati is the Craig Family Distinguished Professor in Reformed Theology and Justice Ministry at Davidson College in North Carolina. In conversation with the reformed tradition, he takes a mediating position between pure repetition and repudiation of the past that will help us all negotiate our own faith in today’s world.

Recent books include Theology for Liberal Presbyterians and Other Endangered SpeciesReforming Protestantism: Christian Commitment in Today’s World, and Hopeful Realism: Recovering the Poetry of Theology. The first volume of his systematic theology, tentatively titled A Theology for Liberal Protestants, will be available sometime next year.

We have a guest host this week for our intro…our newest deacon, St. Nick.

Music this episode is Ben Bowen King’s “Will the Circle be Unbroken” from the album, “The Shepherd’s Story,” available on iTunes.

Galileo responds to science skeptics

…As therefore, the Holy Scriptures in many places not only admit but actually require a different explanation for what seems to be the literal one, it seems to me that they ought to be reserved for the last place in mathematical discussions.  For they, like nature, owe their origin to the Divine Word; the former is inspired by the Holy Spirit, the latter as the fulfillment of the Divine commands; it was necessary, however in Holy Scripture, in order to accomodate itself to the understanding of the majority, to say many things which apparently differ from the precise meaning.  Nature, on the contrary, is inexorable and unchangeable, and cares not whether her hidden causes and modes of working are intelligible to the human understanding or not, and never deviates on that account from her prescribed laws.  It appears to me therefore that no effect of nature, which experience places before our eyes, or is the necessary conclusion derived from evidence, should be rendered doubtful by passages of Scripture which contain thousands of words admitting of various interpretations, for every sentence of Scripture is not bound by such rigid laws as is every effect of nature…. [Source]

Over the past two years, it seems Scripture is being used to determine whether climate science is adequate in Congress. We shared this testimony with you a while back, which has resurfaced because Shimkus had become a favorite for leadership in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. But it’s going to a more moderate Republican. Hopefully, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hear the words of Galileo.