Resolving My Lenten Discipline Dilemma

I love dilemmas that resolve with a win-win outcome. For example, I decided that my Lenten discipline this year would have to do with my online presence and productivity. That, however, posed a dilemma for me. On the one hand, I sensed the need to take some time away from7 Facebook and my blog, as a way to de-tox from all the verbal clutter that has accumulated in my thought processes. So I considered just disappearing from social media for the duration of Lent. On the other hand, I could see how the discipline of publishing a blog post on each of the forty days of Lent could be beneficial, at least to me and maybe a few others.

I have now made a decision, and it’s a win-win (at least from my perspective). Beginning tomorrow (Wednesday, January 20), I am taking a three week “fast” from Facebook and the blog. I will still check for personal messages and will respond to email (including any messages posted to me through the “Contact” page of this blog). But I will not read a lot of Facebook posts, and I plan to post nothing on Facebook during that time.

Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, is three weeks from tomorrow. On that day, I will post the first of forty blog posts (one for each day except Sundays) between Ash Wednesday and 6Easter Sunday. I did something like this for each of the thirty-one days in October. There are some differences this time.

For instance, I called the earlier blitz of posts the “October potpourri,” since there was no particular sequence or progression to the posts. I simply wrote about whatever I was thinking on a particular day. This time, I plan to publish the posts in a sequence that follows a much more intentional progression. In forty blog posts, I will attempt to show how and why and to what extent my thinking has changed—with regard to theology, spirituality, Christian discipleship, the church, the kingdom, and the culture at large—over the past ten years. And yes, I intend to be specific and personal.

The posts will take the form of a serial narrative, and the main character will be my alter ego, Arthur Lough. I’m calling the series “The Road to Easter: Arthur’s Lenten Journey,” and most of the content will ultimately be part of the book I’m currently writing, tentatively titled A New Way of Seeing, which picks up where my first book ended.

I hope many of you will read some or all of this series and will find it helpful, maybe even transformative in some ways. The truth is, however, I am not writing primarily to amass a larger readership or to accumulate “likes.” In this case, I will be writing because I need to put these thoughts on the record and lay this content out in a systematic pattern irrespective of whether that is the most scintillating or most crowd-pleasing approach. It is a Lenten discipline for me. If some of you benefit from it, so much the better.

My plans are to return on February 10 with the first of forty posts. Hope to see you then.

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Here’s what others are saying about my autobiographical novel, The Long Road from Highland Springs: A Faith Odyssey. (Tap the title or the cover image to go to the book’s order page on Amazon.com.)

“In Eric Kouns’ debut novel, a man looks at the progression of his religious faith as he tells Capturethe story of his life. Kouns has created a character called Arthur Lough, whom he identifies as his ‘alter ego,’ as a way to examine his own doubts and struggles. His reflections are consistently compelling. This is a personal novel that presents an engaging examination of doubt, change, and faith.” –Kirkus Reviews

“This is an absorbing memoir… the tender story of a life tormented by disappointment and depression, yet sustained by the unshakable hope for the kingdom of God.”   –From the back cover blurb by David Swartz, Assistant Professor of History at Asbury University and author of Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism.

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