Monday, February 8, 2016

Desert Journey, Daily Bread: New Lenten Perspectives on Food and Fasting *an online retreat*

Desert Journey, Daily Bread: 
New Lenten Perspectives on Food and Fasting

an online retreat

Lent and Holy Week

February 10 to March 27, 2016

Jane Redmont

The retreat

Desert Journey and Daily Bread is an online retreat to deepen Lenten prayer and practice in the areas of food and fasting.

In the Desert Journey and Daily Bread retreat, we will journey through the Christian season of Lent, from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, with gentle guidance, wisdom from biblical, historical, and contemporary sources, and opportunities for prayer and practice.

Our purpose is not to make a fetish out of either food or fasting; they are part of a larger life of faith and practice, of the full life of the body, and of the Lenten journey. Fasting and food are a lens through which we can live the season of Lent, which itself is a path to attune us more closely to God, to God's world, to ourselves, and to our neighbors --and to prepare to celebrate the Resurrection.
The retreat is a call to simplicity, mindfulness, and holiness.

Like the season of Lent itself, it invites us to repentance and conversion, but also to joy.

Note: We are also offering three other Lenten retreats this year, one long, like this one, beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter Sunday (click here for more information on that retreat, which features writings by Thomas Merton), and two short, for those who prefer to make a shorter (or later) commitment of daily practice nine days in a row. (Click here for a February 22-March 1 retreat with writings by Howard Thurman; click here for a March 9-15 retreat with writings by Dorothee Soelle.)
All of the retreats have a structure and a schedule, but they are flexible enough to integrate into your daily life: you are the one who decides when and where to read and pray with the materials in the retreat (day or night, at home or elsewhere) and how to apply the invitations to practice.  
Each week of Desert Journey, Daily Bread will have a theme related both to the topic of the retreat and to one or more of the biblical lectionary readings for Sunday.
This is an ecumenical retreat in the Western Christian tradition, though there will be some references to Orthodox Christian Lenten practices. Though your friendly retreat leader, and Episcopal/Anglican Christian, worships in a tradition using the Revised Common Lectionary, she will also take into account the Roman Catholic Sunday lectionary. We also have much to learn from sister religious traditions (Judaism, Islam) which have practices of fasting and an active spirituality of food in many cultural settings.
Each week of Desert Journey, Daily Bread retreat will feature:
* short readings for our reflection;
* spiritual exercises (which will involve the whole person, body, mind, heart, and spirit, as do all Lenten practices) especially those involving or related to eating, fasting, and food;
* prayers;
* images to contemplate; and
* reminders of the broader context of the Lenten journey in which we practice our praying, eating, fasting, simple living, almsgiving, and work toward the kin-dom of God. Participants can use all of these according to their own context and daily life.
There will be new material three times a week:

1. Saturday evening (in anticipation of Sunday):

Reflection on the theme for the week in conjunction with one or more of the Sunday lectionary readings.
2. Tuesday morning:
The spirituality of food in Lent: wisdom, queries, and spiritual practices related to food and water.
3. Thursday evening (in anticipation of Friday):
Friday is traditionally a penitential day and some Christian traditions focus their Lenten fasting in particular ways on Friday. Accordingly, our Thursday night reflection will prepare us for the greater simplicity of Fridays in Lent.
It will also offer us wisdom and support in whatever fasting practices we have chosen, whether they involve fasting from food or fasting in other ways (from television, from Twitter, from harmful speech, from impulse buying, from online arguments).
An online retreat? How does that work?

* The retreat offers daily resources (the quotes, spiritual exercises, and prayers mentioned above, with some images as well to nourish you visually) online on a blog. More specifically, a closed blog.

* What's a closed blog? It's a blog like this, but it is not public: it is open only to those whom the blog owner-administrator (that's me) has signed in. In other words, it is not open to anybody wandering around the internet. It is not "searchable": random web surfers will not be able to view either the blog or our conversations in the comments.

* Once you register for the retreat, I will send instructions for the one-time-only sign-in mechanism. After that, the blog will always recognize you.

Registration and cost


To register, write me, Jane Redmont, at if you plan to pay by check, and I will acknowledge your registration and send you the mailing address. I will also notify you when I receive your check.


If you want to pay by credit or debit card or with a PayPal account, simply register and pay in a single transaction using the PayPal button below. (You can use that button and its secure connection to pay with a credit or debit card even if you don't have a PayPal account.)

The PayPal payment will record your name and e-mail address and serve as your registration. You will receive an acknowledgment from me within 24 hours.

Payment is non-refundable and due upon registration.

If you are in a situation of financial stress
, please write me and we can arrange for a discount, payment plan, or scholarship. (If you wish to help make more scholarships possible, just check the "benefactor" rate below.)

Retreat fees (choose one)

Conversation, community, and privacy

Like all our online retreats, this one will include, but not require, opportunities for conversation with other participants. Make this retreat your own. It is a communal journey, as is the whole season of Lent, but a great part of it is also your own journey with God in your particular context. The retreat is an invitation to a guided experience with resources, support, and some accountability if you wish, but it is not a competition in holiness or practice. It can be helpful whether or not you are also involved in a parish or congregation in any part of the Christian family.

During the retreat, you can remain private and just read the blog and use the quotes, spiritual exercises, and prayers on your own.


If you wish, you can share your thoughts, experiences, and questions via the comments function on the blog and engage in conversation with other retreatants and with the retreat facilitator.

* * * * *
The theme of the desert journey is prominent in Lent.

We go to the desert, or to some form of desert or wilderness, in this season --not necessarily to a different place, but in some way to a zone of mindfulness and practice that simplifies our life and peels away its non-essentials-- in order to reconnect, deeply, with God, with Christ, with the Spirit at the heart of God's life, our life, and the life of the world.

The desert journey is for the sake of life. Life abundant. Life in God. Life in relationship.

So we clear space, or let God help us clear space, and time, to make room for the God of comfort and surprises and to make room for what is deepest and truest in our lives.

And because we not only live in our bodies but
are our bodies, our practices are not only states of mind but bodily actions and attitudes.

"Spirituality" does not mean "outside the body" or "other than the body."

Quite the contrary.

"Holiness," though it may include sacrifice or restraint, is not a forgetting of the body but really "wholeness," a way of not living a life in pieces. "Integrity" may be another way of thinking of it. In Lent we seek to be whole again, or whole in a new way.

In the wilderness, in a life that is even just a little simpler, a little slower, and little more mindful, we can discover or rediscover the integrity to which the Holy One calls us.

(c) Jane Redmont

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