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Do you do Lent?

 —  February 28, 2014 — 4 Comments

lent3Lent is an odd thing.

For some, it’s their chance to be noticeably religious for 40 days.

For others, it’s a dare to do something zany for that time. How many people have heard another person say, “I’m giving up Mountain Dew for Lent!”

Others write it off as something only a certain group of people do. “Isn’t that a Catholic thing?”

What if Lent could be a season of reinvesting into something genuine with God?

I wrote an article a couple of years ago on it. Here it is: http://www.ehow.com/how_8049745_celebrate-lent-new-ways.html

lent2The ideas I propose include ways to approach it through the “Greatest Commandment” (heart, soul, mind, strength, relationships), or even a day of the week. For example:

  • “Money-free Mondays”: Go through your entire day without spending money on anything.
  • “No-TV Tuesdays”: Turn the TV off, including any screen that involves entertainment or video games, and invest into something else that nurtures friendships.
  • “Weird Wednesdays”: Try new foods individually or as a household that you normally wouldn’t.
  • “Thumbs-Free Thursdays”: Give up all cell phone activity, including text messaging.
  • “Friendship Fridays”: Become attentive to others who are often overlooked.
  • “Something-New Saturdays”: Try something productive that you haven’t ever done before, such as take a class or conquer a fear.
  • “Sacrificial Sundays”: Make an intentional sacrifice to grow with God.

(Read the full article)

Any thoughts or observations on this?

  • What’s been the weirdest or coolest way you’ve seen someone experience Lent?
  • Any thoughts on how we can reclaim this out of it’s traditional, religious stereotype and let the Life of Christ take it over again somehow?

Maybe the goal isn’t to do Lent… maybe the goal is to let Lent undo you?

 

Tony Myles

Tony Myles

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Tony Myles is a youth ministry veteran, author, speaker, volunteer youth worker and lead pastor of Connection Church in Medina, Ohio... and he really likes smoothies.

4 responses to Do you do Lent?

  1. Why does it have to be reclaimed? There are times when I feel like I need to give things up, I don’t get worked up over how long but until I feel released to do so. I don’t wait for Lent. Everything you wrote about would be great rhythms to explore any time of the year, why just for Lent? If it’s not worth pursuing all the time why is it worth pursuing just some of the time? The idea of lent challenges me to think about if those rhythms are evident in my life and if I’m faithfully responded to the Holy Spirit in the different areas He is wanting to work. But the actual practice of Lent itself feels more like religion and tradition to me with there being way more important things to reclaim…

    • Tony Myles

      Fair thoughts, Jimmy. I have a theory about Lent… maybe it’s worth sharing. I’d appreciate your thoughts..

      Maybe you don’t need to reclaim Lent, but I’d offer that many might. It’s an on-ramp to the high-way, but many get off right away after it’s over. Somehow we have to keep them on that high-way.

      I sense Lent is (for American Christians) a matter of timing. By default, I think it ends up being a “Plan B” to our New Year’s resolutions that didn’t quite work out for any number of reasons. For example, for most people when it came to January 1st declarations::

      • They set a vague goal: To give themselves wiggle room, they didn’t get super specific about anything. As a result, nothing super specific happened.
      • They tried trapping others into their resolution: Perhaps they told their family, “All dinners will now be healthy!” After two months of their grumbling, they’re unsurprisingly back to macaroni and cheese.
      • They didn’t do their homework: The average person can only lose so much weight or save so much money in a fixed amount of time. Did they set a realistic or an unrealistic goal? Likely, the latter.
      • They tried humming Rocky music: Only… it didn’t work. Whatever large opponent they were facing down – years of binge smoking/eating/drinking/sex – didn’t run away because they got intense about it one day.

      Now…
      as Lent comes along…
      we imagine it’ll kick all that in the teeth.

      In contrast to the above list, Lent makes you get super-specific, take part in a community who’s into it, only have to last for 40 days and enjoy the victory of how Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross punches Satan in the gut with a great big “BOO-YAH!”

      Is that it? Might something be missing?

      Colossians 2:8 dares, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”

      • Yeah, If I’m honest with myself I’m guilty of what you’re talking about. Last year I gave up Dr. Pepper for Lent. I was having shakes after a few days (that shows how badly I was addicted to it). Since I was only giving it up for 40 days, and doing it for Jesus I was able to stick with it unlike most New Years Resolutions. (Yes, I realize there’s all kinds of theological problems with that logic).

        I’m glad I did, because now I drink a Soda maybe once every two weeks and I’m definitely healthier. And if Lent helps someone break a bad habit or make a lifestyle choice that helps them to serve Christ better, I’m not sure it’s a bad thing. But I also am thinking Lent is a “Don’t show your righteousness in front of others, like the Pharisees.” type of thing…

        If I do Lent to say “Look at me”, or “Jesus, Look what I’m doing for you,” then I’m missing the point. So this year for Lent I may be giving up Lent.

  2. Hey! I made that youtube video my first year in seminary! Thanks for using it! I have been following your blog! It is a honor! Keep up the awesome ministry! Peace.

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