Other Perspectives on Lent

Allow me to catch you up on some thoughts that others around the Christian blogosphere have shared.  Easter is almost upon us, and with it the end of our Lenten journey, but there is still plenty of time to consider these thoughts and implement any that strike your fancy.

Margaret Feinberg is giving up prayer.  Not all prayer, mind you.  Just the interminably run-on variety that seems to be prevalent all over evangelicalism.  Specifically, she is going to limit herself to three-word prayers.  You don’t need to be that drastic, but I think we could all stand to focus on making our prayers short and sweet and to the point.

Giving up social media for Lent seems to be quite a fashionable thing among those who observe Lent, and for many people it would not be a bad idea.  But Bruce Reyes Chow of Mission Bay Community Church in San Francisco does not think this is a good idea for everyone.  He notes that many of the criticisms which people level against social networking can also be leveled against the church, and also that social networking can be a very positive thing.  Upshot:  Think it through before you decide to give up social media.

Rev. Steven Charleston, interim rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Oklahoma City, suggests that we “give up giving up”.  The current political, cultural, and economic climate can easily intimidate us into believing that our best days as a nation are behind us and that we must accept our role as a second-class people going forward.  Charleston challenges us to “stand tall as people of faith and proclaim that we are neither victims nor losers, but free men and women with the wisdom and the will to face any challenge that history sends our way.”

David A. Davis, pastor of Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton, New Jersey, suggests that the way in which many people observe Lent is overly individualistic.  Many who observe Lent see it as a time to focus on spiritual disciplines in their own personal lives.  But in Davis’s view, the chief threat we face in this world is when the people of God as a whole lose their way.  Lent ought to be a time for the community as a whole to check its priorities, focus upon claiming our identity as God’s people, and commit to living that out in the world.