Few, if any, Christians on campus will be participating in the national 40-day fast that began yesterday, and the University Campus Crusade for Christ is not encouraging them to do so.
National CCC founder Bill Bright instituted the fast for the first time this year. He said he expects more than two million Christians nationwide to join him in going without solid food until April 9, according to a Feb. 8 New York Times article.
The University's CCC sent an email informing all members of the fast. However, the CCC is not strongly encouraging students to participate because most students are not experienced fasters, CCC campus director Matt Bennett said.
He explained that the CCC would instead like students to show support for the cause in less dramatic ways. "Many students will be giving up a favorite food or fasting for one or two days a week," he said.
"It is a huge step from fasting two or three days, especially with the rigors of schoolwork," CCC president Mark Matz '98 said.
The purpose of the fast, according to Bennett, is to "heal our country." He added, "While crime rates are dropping, we can certainly do more to improve morality in this country."
The fast, which will last 40 days – in memory of the 40 days Moses fasted on Mount Sinai and Jesus' 40-day fast in the desert – coincides with the season of Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter when many Roman Catholics and Episcopalians fast or abstain from meat.
Bright explained that he organized the fast because it can reinforce prayer. "Prayer has great power, but fasting with prayer has infinitely more power," he said in The New York Times.
Many prominent evangelical Christians, including Christian Broadcasting Network's Pat Robertson, have supported the fast.
"I believe we're in the middle or the beginning of a major spiritual revival in America, and I believe this is the kind of thing that is needed to bring forth a truly sweeping revival," Robertson said, according to The New York Times.
Bright said the fast is part of a larger spiritual movement. "America and much of the world will, before the end of the year 2000, experience a great spiritual awakening," he said.