Letting Go of the Goal of a Hardcore Lent

I'm at Aleteia today to talk about picking small sacrifices for Lent, and staying open to unplanned, unanticipated disciplines (all of which is hard for me as a big scheduler and organizer!).  Here's an excerpt:I wanted to find something to give up, or some rule to follow, because as a (still fairly new!) convert, I can have a tendency to feel somewhat unsettled in the faith. Sometimes it’s a long stretch from Sunday to Sunday, and even though I’m keeping up with some daily prayers, it feels … [Read more...]

Palms Transfigured Into Ashes

Today's the day that everyone lists what they gave up for Lent (I'm taking on time for lectio divina and giving up going to bed after 1am), but , for me, the more moving sacrifice happened this weekend, on the last Sunday in Ordinary Time.I changed my mind about Christianity the night before Palm Sunday last year, so I've never experienced Ash Wednesday as a believer before.  The first Mass I went to as a Christian was the jubilant Palm Sunday, the welcoming of Christ into Jerusalem and the b … [Read more...]

So how did that Lent stuff work out?

Before Lent began, I committed to two behavior changes: one to curb a vice, the other to cultivate a virtue.  In brief:I stopped taking advantage of the free food opportunities near my office in the hopes that I could stop feeling like I was taking advantage of people and feeling pleasure in pride in getting one over on someone I tried to overhaul the way I donated to charity in order to be more responsive to the people around me, instead just kicking in sporadically to malaria nets. (I … [Read more...]

No ‘Healthy Outlet’ for Bad Habits

Remember you can vote once per day for the About.com Atheism Awards.  I'm one of five nominees for Best Atheist Blog.  More details here.This is part two of my response to Brian S. about my choice to give up free food during Lent.  The first focused on why I glommed on to Lent in the first place.  Now we're addressing the substance of the change I'm trying to make.  Brian wrote: I disagree [that the feeling of having cheated someone is a bad pleasure to cultivate], or at any rate don’t feel … [Read more...]

Is Lent for the Weak?

Remember you can vote once per day for the About.com Atheism Awards.  I'm one of five nominees for Best Atheist Blog.  More details here.Brian S. had a couple of questions after reading my post yesterday about my plans for Lent. He wrote: I disagree, or at any rate don’t feel that you’ve demonstrated that sufficiently. I could make the argument, as you almost do, that “getting one over on someone” is a natural human feeling, and you’re finding a healthy outlet for it. Or I could argue that w … [Read more...]

I’m giving up free food for Lent

Ok, I know that sounds weird, but there's method in my madness.  I try to be on guard against my Kantian-to-solipsist tendencies, and I think I've noticed another spot festering.  I'm lucky in that, within walking distance of my office there's a delicious cupcake place that, once a week, gives away free cupcakes if you come in and do a talent.  And right across from my building is a restaurant that does free wine and cheese tastings twice a week.  Like a certain Transylvania count, I never drink. … [Read more...]

Picking a Lenten Discipline

Thanks for all the comments and suggestions about choosing a discipline for Lent! Your comments ranged from the very practical to the illuminatingly philosophical. And the clear majority of comments started with thoughts about food.The trouble is, I’m already a very picky eater with a small appetite. My meals tend to be bread (or bagels or pasta) and seltzer with fruit on the side. My friend Tristyn knew this when she caveated her recommendation that I join her in her Orthodox fasting by s … [Read more...]


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