Blogging for Lent

Three years ago I gave up blogging for Lent. This year I am moving in the opposite direction.  it has been over a year since I have regularly posted here, so for this season of Lent, I will commit to blogging each day.

Except Sundays, of course. Sunday’s aren’t counted as part of Lent.

I know that six posts a week is way more that optimal blogging.  Consider it making up for lost ground.

Feel free not to read them all.

I had already made this plan when I came across Jeremy’s latest at Hacking Christianity, “Would a Missionary give up Swahili for Lent?”  Here’s the Len Sweet (@LenSweet) Quote that secured my commitment to blog this Lent:

Good luck with saying in the past 500 years “I’m sorry, I don’t do books.” Good luck with saying in the next 30 years, “I’m sorry I don’t do Internet.” As the book was the delivery system for learning and faith development, the Internet will be the delivery system for learning and faith development…

What’s the first thing a missionary does? Learn the language. This is the language of the world we live. I’m sorry if you don’t like it. You could go “okay, I don’t like Swahili.” Well, if God has called us to be ministry now in this kind of a world, so you don’t get to choose: you have to learn a new language.

So it looks like I’ve got a lot of writing to do over the next 40 days.  If you’d like to help, send me a topic or a question for me to answer.  Either comment here, twitter (@steveheyduck), find me on facebook, or email me at steve (dot) noncon (at) gmail.com

My Lent 2014

It feels surreal to think that 2 years ago I gave up blogging for Lent and this year I am taking it up again for Lent.  Since moving, I’ve posted far less often than I used to. For the next several weeks, that will change.

I pondered this first post all day yesterday, Ash Wednesday.  Sadly, I never actually got the time to write it.

“Lent,” I read somewhere, is an archaic word meaning “spring,” as in the season.  It stands to reason, as Lent always overlaps with spring, and certainly at least always occurs during the time of year when the days start getting longer. (I hate to cite wikipedia as a source, but this information is corroborated there)

So, on Ash Wednesday, as I am pondering ashes and burlap and dead branches and crowns of thorns, I realize that I am, that we are, considering all these things, stark, rough, lifeless as they appear, for the sake of life.

Lent is, after all, about preparing for resurrection.  While Jesus did say that death precedes life (John 12;24), and that numerous times called any who would follow him to deny themselves (Luke 9:23, for instance), I believe we have sapping the wisdom from these teachings in the interest of legalism and moralism.

As UnChristian pointed out, many people think of Christians first with words like “judgmental” and “hypocritical.”  We have earned the reputation because too often we have made following Jesus more about a list of things we don’t do (and you shouldn’t either!) than about the quality of life Jesus offers through his death and resurrection.

So, while Lent may include practices of introspection, somber moods, self-denial, etc., we do well to remember that these are not the point.

RESURRECTION IS THE POINT!
 

Whatever you do during Lent – whether you take on something or give up something, may you do it with the goal of resurrection life in sight, not simply to prove to yourself, others, or God, that you can make a change for 40 days.

I am giving up blogging for Lent

But keep checking in here; I’ve got some good things in store for you between now and Easter!

I am giving up blogging for Lent so I can focus on another writing project. Since Lent does not technically include Sundays, I will post here weekly on the Lord’s Day.

I have also invited a trio of my friends to guest blog here. They have each discerned a call to ordained ministry in The United Methodist Church.

Ethan Gregory is in his second year at SMU. He is also a General Conference Delegate for the Central Texas Conference. I believe he is the youngest such delegate we have ever elected.

Will McClammy is the Associate Pastor and Youth Director at FUMC Eastland. Several years ago Will and I served together on the CTCYM Advisory Board.

Stefani Reed is in her first year at Perkins School of Theology. I met Stefani on her first CTCYM mission trip – 10 years ago.

If these 3 are any indication of the future of the UMC, I am hopeful. I appreciate their willingness to share here.

Lent – what to do

Today is Ash Wednesday.  Sadly, I’ve been too busy as of yet today to seriously consider what I would do with/for Lent this year.  Yeah, I could have planned ahead, but I didn’t.  Too late now to worry about what I could have done yesterday.

Inspired by Bryan Bellamy, I just removed my email accounts from my phone.  Email will have to wait until I am home or at the office.  It used to wait, it will wait again. I am too easily distracted by the ability to check my email anywhere I get a phone signal.  Until after Easter, I won’t do so anymore.

Bryan shared that he is going to live as simply as possible.  What other steps can/should I take during Lent?  The one I’m thinking about is that I so often try to do more than one thing at a time.  Type out a blog post, answer the phone, think about my next message; you know how it is.

So, as best as I can, I’m going to (for Lent) stop doing more than one thing at a time.  If someone is talking to me, I am going to listen, and only listen.  If I am trying to write or read, I won’t also have the television or music going.

And, just for good measure, I will make it a practice to always stop eating before I am full.

What are you doing/undoing for Lent?