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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Giving Up

Ben and I decided to start the Lentin season off right: with a giant whoopie pie and four bags of candy.

About 12 years ago today, I walked into the library at my high school to study and sat down next to my friend Paul, who was dilligently studying for a math test. Before I'd even said hi, I noticed a big, black smudge on his forehead. In an effort to be a good friend, I blurted out without thinking: "hey you have a big black smudge on your forehead." You know, the same way you would tell someone they have spinach in their teeth. Instead of thanking me, Paul just looked at me like I was the biggest moron to ever walk the planet. "It's Ash Wednesday."

I'll be honest, the whole concept for giving things up for lent has always confused me a bit. I get that the point is to experience suffering as Christ suffered, but I guess I don't totally see how a bunch of privaleged white college girls nobly declaring that they are giving up chocolate is in any way comparable to fasting in the desert for 40 days. Maybe my lack of understanding is due to the fact that I'm agnostic, which I've been told means that I just can't make up my mind about anything.

I'm also not really a big fan of self-punishment in any form. I feel like if you're going to give something up, why make it something totally meaningless chocolate or potato chips? Why not give up something that actually changes the world for the better? Why not give up gossip, or negativity - equally as difficult to give up as cookies, if not more, but with an actual point besides our own struggles. Anyways, just something to think about.

P.S. The Green Tea and Lemon Whoopie pie is delicious.


  1. I love you, Kristina. And for what it's worth, this pastor-to-be has almost totally rejected the idea that we should give something up in order to "suffer like Jesus suffered." Personally, I don't think God, as I know God, would want us to hurt ourselves on purpose. If it is meaningful to people to take up a spiritual practice or discipline during Lent for their own personal betterment, I support that...but I can't advocate suffering just for suffering's sake. This may make me a heretic, but what can ya do?

    I like to think of Lent as a time to return, remember, and reframe--return to what is most basic and true about who we are as sacred components of creation, remember this story from our Biblical tradition that ends in hope and resurrection, and reframe our lives in such a way that honors the inherent preciousness (and brevity) of life.

    Anyway. Off of my soapbox. Can you tell that I preached on Ash Wednesday? Also, I'm giving up not seeing you for Lent.

  2. I totally agree... and I'm so happy for you that you got to preach on Ash Wednesday!! But also jealous that I am missing out on the speechifying of pastor Linz :(

    Giving up not seeing me hhmmm?? I hope this means a Skype date in our near future ;)


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