Friday, April 3, 2009

What I Should Have Given Up for Lent?

Only two days until Palm Sunday and I'm just now figuring out what I should have given up for Lent. And that would be?

Dear God...I should have stopped reading news about the Roman Catholic Church. I should have stopped reading commentary about my religion by culture critics and political pundits. Actually, I should have stopped reading news and commentary about all institutional manifestations of Christianity. Christian behavior has been conspicuously absent within Christendom lately.

Not that I am without sin in this regard, but let the record show that I pitched my online fits about the Williamson snafu eighteen days before Lent began. And haven't I been been uncharacteristically silent about the embarrassing mess that Vatican communications has become? Okay, that's a wee lie. I've posted comments on others' blogs about this ridiculousness.

[I could, mind you, cite examples of WTF from other liturgical churches. I follow what's happening among Episcopalians and Lutherans, in addition to Roman and Byzantine Rite Catholics.]

And yet, maybe God has graced me with exactly the Lenten journey I needed. Reading religion news and the intra-communion vitriol passing for commentary has certainly felt penitential. I feel as if I've spent the past thirty-six days wandering around a parched desert filled with dry bones, empty skulls, stinging insects, and hostile tribes willing to exile their own while warring with one another. Except for the Eucharist, precious little nourishment.

Our trudge with and to the Cross continues for another eight days. I'm looking forward to renewing my baptismal promises during the great vigil of Easter. How about you?


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes. I'm constantly amazed at how God puts people in our lives when we need them. I needed your blog post today. I never thought it was ok to share your anger, frustration and disappointment in the church and those that run it. What would happen if you shared your frustration in front of a budding/new Christian and tainted their walk with Christ by your cynical view of the church. It just came to me that Paul too rallied, fists clenched at the organized church and warned them of the same things it struggles with today. Read one of his letters lately? Self promotion, in fighting, control, narrow focus, bigotry - well, you get my drift. I've been without a church home now for over 3 years because of the lack of Christianity in church. That lack of humble servant hearts and true outreach to those that need it most - perhaps those that don't look or act like us. Am I perfect? Pluhse but I do expect us to live what God's word says and reach out to those that need Him most and not just check a box every Sunday in our Sunday best showing off what we DO have materialistically. Some churches have lost their way - caught up in a wave of ....what exactly? I dunno. I gave up.

    Lent, a time of reflection on what Jesus did for us. I think about that sacrifice on my sorry behalf every single day. How can I honor that by how I live my life? Guess it's to get back to church. It scares the heck out of me. But, with God all things are possible. Who am I to turn my back on that?

    Thanks for an honest and heart felt look at church today. Blessings.

  3. And I am moved to tears by your comment. I'm all too familiar with your pain and disappointment. I've felt it myself and have, I hope, ministered to others who have felt it as well.

    It's difficult, at best, to keep focused on our God and our Christ in the face of bad human behavior. We cannot let these social institutions, created by and for humans, get in the way of God's love, grace, and mercy!

  4. Every year I almost give up Catholocism for Lent. I start out with great intentions - nothing material. This year it was to shed that which did not serve God (His phrasing, not mine. I was very grateful for the suggestion. And that it wasn't coffee.) The messiness in the Church has bothered me, and I wondered if God was still showing up at Mass or if it was all for show. It evolved into really questioning if my being Catholic served God. I cam to realize with a LOT of prayer, and some mini-miracles, that it's like that quote about the mafia in the Godfather - just when I think I'm out - it sucks me back in. And that yes, being Catholic (for me) serves God. That makes the next week of thankfulness, and then celebration that much sweeter.

  5. bigbinder,
    I'm guessing that I'm-outta-here-wait-I'm-not dance goes on for many more than those who acknowledge the process.

    I believe revealing the ongoing struggle to reconcile faith with religion as well as the institution of church is an essential part of formation that needs to be welcomed and supported, not quashed.

    As the saying goes, "what we feel, we can heal."


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