Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Thinking About Lent

This post was first posted in Feb. of 2007. It caused quite a discussion! The TV, this morning, has been chock full of those beginning to discuss what they are giving up for Lent, so I am re-printing rather than come up with a whole new post. After reading this one I still feel the same in 2011 as I did in 2007.

This is always an interesting time of year, or at least it was when I was teaching. It just also happens to be a topic similar, but in noway the same, to what the Drew talks about over at his blog today as well. This whole season of Lent and sacrifice and proving that you can give somethging up.
I worked with a fella that taught Social Studies and he claimed to be a Catholic, although I guess, as the Drew points out, many Christian religions have this activity at this time of year. He would make it a big point to tell us how he was giving up beer for Lent. This from a guy who was also not very faithful to his wife. In the bigger picture how can the beer get you in to Heaven? I hope it is not that convoluted!! He never attended any church, except at the time of his wedding, but made it out to be a very special time in his life, this whole Lent process, as if the rest of us were infidels.
I have heard others recently talk about chocolate and other food items as their sacrifice. Is it just me or is this somewhat shallow? Isn't the sacrifice meant to be something a tad more relevant and isn't the person supposed to be more repentant? Isn't this behavior something you should follow all year long and not just at the time that leads up to Easter? I was even told, yesterday, that elderly or older people do not have to give up anything for Lent according to one ladies church. If this is so does that mean that once you hit a certain age that you get an automatic pass in to Heaven? What is that age? Does it come with the AARP or Golden Buckeye card?
Also, why does it have to be such a public display? Why does one have to go around and make themselves seem to be so grand and sacrificing because they ARE giving something up? I believe that even the Bible says that when you do your good works that you are not supposed to be bragging. I know many people with good hearts that do good works, but they do them all year long. They scarifice all year long. Are they any less special because they may not ascribe to the whole lenten ideal?
I have been having a personal question and much debate recently with Christianity especially since many others also have the same ideals. I just began reading " The Way to a Meaningful Life" by the Dalai Lama and he speaks about the same guiding principles. I have been to several web sites that say that one should learn of all the worlds religions and take bits and pieces of them all as opposed to ascribing to one particulare faith.
My mom made a big deal about having to go to work early so that she could go get her "ashes" today. I asked her why? She said just because that is what you do. There was no real reason or philosophy, just because it is the outward sign to everyone else that you believe in something. Does it have to be an outward sign or symbol? Can't you believe in something and have it be internal and go about your life and good works without needing the approval or accolades of others? Isn't that the more "Godlike" way? Can't we just do our good works or random acts of kindness without worrying about the thanks we will/or should get? Why does it have to be in the public forum? Can't we just simply be good people and not worry about certain readings and writings etc.?
Why do we have to deny ourselves to prove anything?

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