Monday, March 07, 2011

Something Old, Something New...(sort of)

This week marks the beginning of Lent. It is a time of preparation as much of the Christian world looks ahead to the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. Lent is not a time that is generally observed by most evangelical denominations; nor is it observed by some Protestant denominations.

Having grown up in a Roman Catholic home, deciding what to "give up" for Lent was always a matter of concern.  It's been a long time since I've observed Lent through any type of self-denial. However, while many of my Baptist friends may not understand or see any purpose in it, this year I intend observe Lent through that particular tradition.

I feel that I need to get refocused spiritually and have a strong feeling (like a compulsion or conviction) that this is what I need to do.

To remind myself of the abundant blessings of God and the plenty and prosperity that I live in:

I am going to greatly reduce the food that I consume. 
So much of the world around us starving or surviving daily on a small portion of what we eat in a single meal...or throw away in a day. I know that my not eating food that I have doesn't do anything thing to feed people that don't have food, but it does remind me that there are people that need help--people that I have the means to help. I'm not sure what my diet will look like; maybe oatmeal in the morning, something like a can of tuna or a salad for lunch, a modest dinner, no snacks...not really certain.   Even as I write this, it sounds lame...but it's a start.

I am going to take a break from drinking sodas.
Much of the world today lacks the simple basic necessity of safe drinking water. It's hard for most of us to even imagine that there are places (lots of them) where there is little or no safe water to drink.  Here, in the good old US of A, you can go to any gas station and drink the water directly from the outdoor spigot. In a land where drinking water is available everywhere you go, we often choose to pay $1 for a .5ltr bottle of water! (Think about that the next time you complain that gas is creeping up to $4 per gallon. You're already paying $8 per gallon for your bottled water!) So my body gets a break from the chemical crap and artificial sweeteners for a short time as I make the switch to plain old H2O.  For me, it just serves as another reminder of one of my many blessings that I've taken for granted.

I'm going on a Facebook diet.
I like Facebook. I've reconnected with friends from my past and am able to share comments with friends and family across the country and around the globe. BUT...I fear that social media via the internet is quickly taking the place of personal relationships in our society. I am going to restrict my Facebook time each day and make the effort to make personal contact with people and work on building personal relationships with people.

So much for the self-denial and the "don't" side of things.
On the "do" side:

I need to get back to blogging. 
I've noticed that Facebook and Twitter have greatly reduced the amount of time that many of us once gave to blogging.  With the "set in stone" number of hours per day at 24, when more time goes to one new thing, it has to come away from on old thing. Hopefully, the Facebook diet will allow me to get back to posting more often in the coming weeks.

I don't know what the effect of this exercise will be. I don't know if I'll get more focused on what's important, how I've been blessed, what I need to be doing in ministry, how to better serve my God or if it will all turn out to be a brief exercise in futility. If I do stay with it for the 40 days (it's a weird count), at the very least I'll come away a little thinner, a little healthier, with some closer friends and maybe a few more coins in my pocket.

Tomorrow is Mardi Gras--Fat Tuesday.  Guess I should take advantage of it this year!

John <><


Mike said...

Good luck with 'no snacks'. I don't know if I could make it one day.

Amanda said...

Since the priest mentioned Ash Wednesday on Sunday, I have been thinking of what I'll do for lent. I converted to a 'do' list several years ago because I thought it would do more for those around me. Still, haven't decided on what I'll do this year - need it to be something that can last the entire time.