3.08.2011

This is my cynicism shining through.

Lent starts tomorrow.

But I'm sure you're already aware of that fact. If the celebratorycries of "Happy Mardi Gras" haven't alerted you to the fact, I'm sure the endless status updates and tweets and blog posts of "oh no, what am I going to give up for Lent this year!" have made sure that you don't forget what these next forty days are about.

Because they are, of course, for you (not actually "you", but you get the picture) to groan and complain and applaud yourself for giving up *insert inconsequential food and/or activity here*.

I don't like this season.

Wait, let me rephrase that.I don't like what people have made this season to be.

Granted, like I've mentioned before, I'm not a particularly religious person, so my opinion on this matter might very well be meaningless.

I understand the purpose for giving something up. It's supposed to bring you closer to God, which is perfectly admirable in my eyes. But I don't need to hear about how much misery you're in because you gave up Diet Coke or desserts. Or Pringles. Seriously, I knew someone that gave up Pringles once.

According to Wikipedia, "There are traditionally forty days in Lent which are marked by fasting, both from foods and festivities, and by other acts of penance. The three traditional practices to be taken up with renewed vigour during Lent are prayer (justice towards God), fasting (justice towards self), and almsgiving (justice towards neighbour). Today, some people give up a vice of theirs, add something that will bring them closer to God, and often give the time or money spent doing that to charitable purposes or organizations."

What happened to the other two acts of penance that Wikipedia {not necessarily a reputable source, but a good summary nonetheless} suggests? To me, they sound just as important {honestly, probably moreso} than giving up chocolate. But you don't see any tweets about how much they've prayed today {well, I don't see them, anyway}.

I'm not going to tell you how you should celebrate Lent. If you want to use these forty days to give something up to bring yourself closer to God, then good for you. But boasting about it all over Facebook seems slightly counterproductive in my eyes. And it's annoying.

That's all.

13 comments:

Em said...

Oh dear! I could see why the constant status updates would get so annoying. I seem to be the only one of my friends who is aware that it is lent for now! - thank goodness. I'm sure I would never hear the end of it.
Maybe you should suggest that they give up facebook for lent! ;-)

Your insights on this season are lovely. You're absolutely right- people seem to take lent on like it's some kind of fad (pringles?!).

That being said, I actually love the season. I figure that it it inspires one person to quit smoking or something of that nature, it's all good.

I don't think you're being cynical at all! Honesty rarely is :-D

Beka said...

i've never done lent; but the definition you have posted here sounds really great. a couple years ago, my best friend (6 hrs away) and i went on a 3 day fast from everything but water. we called each other every day... the first day was awesome. not worrying about food and having that on my mind made space to think about God more and read and pray... second day, good also. third day, we talked about food up the yin-yang. it was crazy.... and halfway through the 3rd day, i drank a glass of milk with lots of ovaltine in it. in secret. of course i confessed to it later, but MAN oh man was it heavenly. ahem.

all i've heard about today so far is mardi gras. blech.

Laura said...

I have not been on facebook much so have not seen what's bugging you. However, I understand your frustrating about people bragging about what they are giving up, how hard it is, etc. Unfortunately these same people probably do not fully grasp the beauty that lent and fasting can be. As I was reading your post this verse came to mind:

Matthew 6:16-18 (New International Version, ©2011)

Fasting

16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Don't worry - the posts should die down soon!

Maggie said...

I totally agree! the whole "I gave up ___ for lent" has no meaning if you aren't religious. it drives me nuts! glad i'm not the only one =)

Maggie said...

PS: the new layout is GORGEOUS!

thobeka said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
thobeka said...

I couldn't agree more! Things which are done for personal reasons, should be kept 'personal' to a certain extent.... really appreciate your honesty :)

everyone calls me bon bon said...

Your blog is so pretty! Totally agree about Lent...do it, but don't broadcast to everyone how you will be suffering without facebook or tv for 40 days. Oh funny people:-) xoxo

Married In Chicago said...

It has always seemed to me that most of the women friends who celebrate Lent use it as motivation to stick to the diets they were already trying to be on.

Jenny said...

haha, this is funny because I gave up facebook for Lent! So you won't see me bragging about it ;)

Krista said...

My favorite thing to do at the party on fat tuesday was to ask people what they were giving up for lent the next day, hehe. Just a little uncomfortable mood killer for my amusement :)

NotestoMyself said...

Totally makes sense, the season is more around what you can give than give up, isn't it ? We usually try to go to church..

Quick update, you're now featured on my blogger showcase for March at Love Moments Love Life :) and the post will be out tomorrow... thanks a bunch!

Lindsay said...

Couldn't agree more!!