The last time we checked in with J.R. Mahon, he was organizing Porn Sunday a day on which pastors were asked to preach about how America s dirty little secret was leading Christians astray.
Now Mr. Mahon, a spokesman for the online ministry Grand Rapids., Mich.-based XXXchurch.com, is embarking on another daunting task he s calling The Starving Jesus Tour.
Starting Aug. 5, he and Craig Gross will visit 40 churches in 40 cities in 40 days, fasting and praying for the duration of their tour.
The goal, he said, is to encourage Christians to get out of the pews and get into people s lives.
There is no specific cause Mr. Mahon and Mr. Gross are promoting; they just want people to do something instead of being lazy Christians whose only accomplishment is warming the pews on Sunday mornings.
To add some visual impact to their effort, Mr. Mahon said he is dragging an old wooden pew along with him as they criss cross the country.
We ll be chaining ourselves to the pew on the Las Vegas Strip for half a day, Mr. Mahon said. We ve got speaking engagements in churches along the way Denver, Philadelphia, New York. ... We want to let people know that it s a really great idea to not live an idle life.
The Starving Jesus Tour starts in Northern California and will conclude in New York City on Sept. 13. The only Ohio stops are in Cincinnati on Sept. 4 and Canton on Sept. 5. It s not that we don t love Toledo here s a big shout out to Toledo! he added.
During their fast, Mr. Mahon and Mr. Gross will consume only liquids juices, broths, smoothies, and lots of water under a doctor s care, following the example set by Jesus in Matthew 4:2.
The radical duo is asking Christians throughout the United States to join them in fasting one meal, one day, one week, or for however long they feel inspired to avoid solid foods.
And do something, anything, for God s sake, Mr. Mahon said.
If you ve got to go paint your neighbor s house, do that. Or help an old lady across the street. Our focus is not singular for any cause, he said.
This will be the second time Mr. Mahon is undertaking a 40-day fast. He completed one about a year and a half ago, he said.
It changed my life, categorically, he said. I felt like I was plugged directly into God, and in very short order too.
He said that when he started the lengthy fast, his motives were not as purely spiritual as they should have been.
To be honest, it was part vanity. Partly I can lose a bunch of weight, and I can see what Jesus went through when he fasted because Jesus was a man. And there was a part of me that just wanted to see if I could do it.
But once he got going, Mr. Mahon said he felt as if he had a long and intimate talk with God.
It was a 40-day talk, a 40-day conversation, he said. It ended with me understanding myself a lot more than when I started. I understand aspects of my sin, of my relationships with those around me, how I physically look at the world, how the world looks back at me. It was hard, joyous, peaceful, restful at times. Of course, without the Bible and prayer I would have sunk altogether. Those are necessities in my life.
At the end of the 40 days, he said he had gone from 170 pounds to 135 pounds. But the biggest changes were not physical.
At the end of my fast, the last week of my 40 days, I mourned leaving it. A lot of people can t wrap their heads around that, but I got in such a comfortable place with God, understanding what he was trying to tell me through prayer and the Word, that I started to mourn that I was leaving the fast. but on Day 41, I ran and ate and stuffed my face, no doubt. But internally, I was torn up about leavin this place I had built up.
Mr. Mahon and Mr. Gross wrote a book titled Starving Jesus that will be published Tuesday.
We talk about praying, fasting, just getting up and getting out, he said. We take some potshots at the church. People will find it a little controversial. But obviously here at XXXchurch.com we never pull any punches. We say things as loudly as we can.
More information is available online at www.starvingjesus.com.