Lenten Thoughts – Take One

During Lent — which starts today with Ash Wednesday and continues until Easter, and which is meant to prepare Christians for Jesus’s suffering, death and rebirth … or perhaps to purge us of anything that’s not God and/or anything that is God (ala a-theist Peter Rollins) — I’m going to post other people’s thoughts about the season, those that meet me this year where I am.

First up is Jim Papandrea’s Why is it Called Fasting When it Goes so Slowly? at his blog, Spiritual Blueprint.

I like his ideas:

“[F]asting is not just asceticism for the sake of asceticism. Ideally, one fasts to remove an obstacle to focusing one’s attention on God — it’s a reality check, a time to reorient one’s priorities – maybe even to reboot and start fresh.”

I like the mimetic theory tie-in here of removing the obstacle, the stumbling block perhaps, that both attracts and repels me, that creates a rival of the other and keeps me engaged in violence.

“I know that I want to take the focus off my own stomach, and reorient it toward the stomachs of folks who are chronically hungry. … I’m going to try to give up whatever I see that someone else needs. That’s my plan. It’s a tentative plan at best and I pray God will lead me in the details. But I want my Lent to be active, not passive. I don’t want to simply give up something, I want to give something.”

What I like about the second thought is that giving someone else what they need requires that I be fully alive and aware in each moment, so I can listen and watch for the needs of those around me — and by “those,” I mean people, animals, the earth, anything or anyone that needs something I can give.

Thanks, Jim!


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