Lent 2017: A Little Farther Down the Path

As someone wisely said, regarding the potential benefits from observing the season of Lent, “It’s not the deprivation, it’s the discipline.” (Oh wait, I think it was me, so it can’t be all that wise. Still, it is true.) The benefits of Lent don’t come from what we give up but, rather, from what we learn—about ourselves, about the world around us, about God and ultimate reality—through some sort of focused, intentional experience.

On the church-year calendar, Lent (from the Old English word for springtime) is the 40-day period, excluding Sundays, leading up to Easter. It represents the forty days Jesus spent alone in the wilderness, following his baptism, during which he was “tempted by the devil” as part of his preparation for the ministry that lay ahead of him. Since Jesus fasted from food for the duration, his followers have traditionally deprived themselves of some commodity or activity as a way of identifying with Jesus and preparing for the observance of Passion Week and the celebration of Easter. Continue reading


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. Continue reading