Update – looks like my comment on TC has be saved from moderation limbo, I’ll leave this up though since people are commenting.
Well, over at Think Christian I came across this post entitled “Five Reasons Not To Give Up Something For Lent.” I posted these responses over in Think Christian – but the ether ate them (I’m thinking that TC’s normally stellar moderation is on the fritz). So, read the post over on TC – then read below to get my responses to the reasons.
#1 – You’ve missed the point. Lent is a season of penance set aside to train our wills to be able to better follow Christ the rest of the year. It’s the same way that Advent is supposed to function. The point isn’t to say, “Yay, I got to the end how awesome am I!” It’s to get to the end and say, “Thank you Jesus for leading me in disciplining my life to more graciously display your glory.”
#2 – Sure, but that’s not the point either. As a Baptist pastor I marvel at the Orthodox fast for Lent of Meat, Cheese, Fish, Oil, and Wine. These are GOOD things, willingly laid down for a time in order to spend more time in spiritual discipline. I agree that giving up chocolate isn’t in the same league as that, but the money you’d spend on chocolate during Lent would traditionally be given to the poor. Again, at the end if you’ve drawn close to God maybe you don’t take a luxury back up and that money remains a gift to those who need it. Again, small steps, but they can be real.
#3 – Yes, which is why your understanding on #4 is wrong too. Sundays are ALWAYS feast days in the Liturgical tradition, Lent is not a time of self-flagellation but of penance so the Joy of the Lord can be experienced with ever greater exuberance. Having said that, the NT is pretty clear that the ABUNDANCE that we experience in the here an now is mixed with some serious suffering for the name of Jesus, that’s not a reality that should be blurred even unintentionally.
#4 – People have already covered this [note to my readers, see the TC comments for why Lent is 40 days]. You’re reason is wrong, sorry.
#5 – This is just a blank stare moment for me dude. Easter has a Sunday, yes, but it’s a SEASON which lasts until Ascension Sunday. The season of Easter corresponds to the time after Jesus’ resurrection when the taught his disciples the meaning of what had happened. Nate, I’m sorry but it really just sounds like you are pre-disposed against this tradition and wanted to justify that disposition. Your reasons really don’t stack up against the actual tradition of Lent.