A Church of Christer Does Lent, Two Weeks
So, far the experience has been interesting. I am not going to spend a whole lot of time here talking about the ins-and-outs of my Lenten experience, but wanted to share a couple of interesting moments, thoughts and experiences.
If you’re just tuning in or forgot what my Lent was, here are the rules.
– This past week, for spring break, four friends and I hopped in Laura the Mazda and drove to East Lansing, Michigan. We were there working for a church and helping them to imagine ways to grow. The road trip up there was fine. I packed a healthy stash of apples and bananas and ate only that on my way there. Once we got there however I was faced with a couple interesting conundrums. For instance, when someone says, “I want to buy you lunch.” Of course you give the obligatory, seemingly humble “Oh no, you don’t have to do that.” To which they reply, “No, I want to.” So here comes the conundrum and the question you have to wrestle with: Would Jesus want religious ritual to get in the way of hospitality and being enjoyable to the people around you. I think not, but that could just be justification.
– Sometimes the above situation happened so I tried to stay as close to the plan as possible: veggie burgers, cheese pizza. Trying to stay as vegetarian as I could.
– I was in a Bible Study recently. It came to be my turn to talk and since I have been moderately convicted about Lent recently, and we were discussing Spiritual Disciplines I decided to talk about that. Lent being about several disciplines over a set period of time. The conversation that came afterwards was short, but one of the questions posed was why nonCatholics have really become interested in Lent in the past decade or so. My friend Derek spoke up, “I think we just need more rituals.” I think there is a lot to that. We have slowly been on a trend away from ritualized spirituality in the past couple thousand years or so. The Jews had symbols for everything. Their prayer shawls had 613 threads, some didn’t cut the hair on the corners of their faces, they strapped the filactory to their heads and to their hearts. Catholicism is the same way, perhaps not as ritualized as Judaism though. For a time non-Catholics looked at many Catholic rituals as wrong or at the least “adding to” the Bible and rejected any possible benefit. I think recently though people are looking in all places for spiritual experience, even backwards in time. Protestants today, especially young people, are seeing that there is merit in the old systems.
– I was talking to a girl recently who said she wasn’t drinking caffeinated beverages. I asked her if it was for Lent and she began a rant that went something like this: “Oh my gosh, no. I am so tired of people talking about Lent and how it is supposed to help you put your mind on God or whatever. I think that these kinds of cultural ploys to seem like a better person or whatever are so dumb. I mean, if you’re going to do something, just do it, don’t look for some stupid tradition or something to help you do it, just do it.” I asked her why she wasn’t drinking caffeine. Her answer: New Year’s resolution.
– This morning I woke up hungry. I opened my cabinet, grabbed an apple and ate it. I began to get a little grumpy with the whole thing so once I finished it, I drove to McDonald’s and bought a breakfast bagel. I knew it was in defiance, I knew that it was braking the rules, but I didn’t care.
– Driving for 13 hours on nothing but fruit and water is difficult. I am a caffeine machine and just need something more to get me through. That being said, I drank a lot of pop on my way back from Michigan. I broke the rules a lot that day.
– I will be running today as penance for eating a bagel this morning. We’ll see how it goes.