Posted by: Nathan | February 22, 2007

Participating in Lent (for Once)

When I went to Catholic high school, I always thought it was cool not to participate in Ash Wednesday; my unmarked forehead proudly displayed my “Protestantism.”* Now I’m more mature (I hope), and for the first time in my life I’m going to participate in Lent.

Usually folks give up something they really like for Lent: J’s giving up chocolate again, which is always a big sacrifice for her considering her love of chocolate. I don’t have anything like that I could give up—maybe Lost, blogging or something else, but I always feel like the things that exist on earth to enjoy and aren’t sinful should be enjoyed.

So I’m giving up complaining for Lent. “Impossible!” you say. Well, you’re probably right. But for me, the point is not to be perfect in this quest, but to take the journey. Hopefully I’ll diminish my complaining even if I’m unable to eradicate it entirely. I’m using Philippians 2:14 as my verse for this undertaking.

So happy Ash Wednesday/Lent to everyone who is celebrating it. And, just out of curiosity: Dan, are you giving up water polo again this year?

*What I’m protesting is completely beyond me at this point.


  1. Good luck on your Lenten journey. I’m not sure if I could take on that particular quest, but I hope you succeed–aside the occasional slip-ups. 😉

  2. If being proud for not participating in Lent is a sign of immaturity, pass me a pacifier. Last year, I made sure to bring a big cheeseburger to the office for lunch on Ash Wednesday. This year my diet changed my course slightly, but my turkey sandwich still had a few Catholic co-workers salivating. Also, I kid you not, I gave up water polo for Lent once in high school (I’m impressed, Dan).

    Regardless of your inspiration, major Digital-Audio-Players to you for making a marked effort to abstain from complaining. I’ve tried and failed many times, but still hope to make some progress some day.

  3. Kudos on your Lenten aspirations. Having never “participated,” I think Lent could potentially be a tremendous blessing to a person’s spritual life.

  4. Let me clarify my maturity comment. I was only commenting on MY attitude toward Lent; if others do not wish to observe it, danged if I think it matters. Whatever you do, do it unto the Lord. I myself love hamburgers on Fridays, and won’t be doing the whole fish thing. Besides, fish=meat. Sorry, but it is.

  5. Even so, I’ll admit that my wanting to eat my meaty lunch at work as a badge of protestantism was indeed immature.

    I’m saddened by my co-workers who are abstaining from something for Lent solely because they believe that to do otherwise would be a sin. I have no idea whether the Catholic church presents it that way, but I would hope it’s encouraged as a way to enhance in some way one’s spiritual life. I expect that abstaining along with friends and family is a great way to stay the course (so Lent seems like a great time to do so), and when done to better oneself, I applaud the practice.

    And you’re right that fish=meat. I say the sudden allowance was silly. I believe that in the earliest day of Lenten fasting, even dairy products were forbidden.

  6. Several family members who are regular bloggers on this site, took the challenge with me in December to refrain from ‘gossiping, complaining or criticizing for 21 days (the idea of a pastor in Kansas -passed on by a local columnist in the Gazette).
    We were all given bracelets (yes they were bright purple, but they were free and everyone could always get something less out-there).
    The system was to switch wrists each time you fell back into g,c or c-ing.
    Wow, was it a lot harder than I expected (self-deceived).
    Maybe the bloggers will want to add their experiences.
    My encouragement to you, Nathan, is that it is so worth it and much more than a Lenten thing (although, it’s as good a time as any to start)!
    It is does reveal much about our chararter and how we actually live out the love of the Father with others.
    I’ve decided I’ll have to make my bracelet a life long body ornament(changing styles, but not principles) just so I have the continual reminder of ‘whatever is good and pure and true’ and that it is from the real heart that the mouth speaks.
    I’ll be praying for your ‘quest’.

  7. Nathan, this has been an inspiring blog thread for me. Since I have the same issue of complaining in my personal life as you (go figure!) I will adopt your same approach to Lent this year. And since I always wear a PK bracelet I will also adopt Debbie’s approach to self-awareness by switching wrists after each violation. Hopefully those will get fewer and farther between. The PK thing actually works because Promise #1 includes “obedience to God’s Word” which in this case is Phil. 2:14.

    Don’t tell Mom I made this commitment. I’m going to be brave and ask her at Easter if she noticed a change. Or should I ask her on the day *after* Easter? When does Lent officially end anyway?

  8. Great post Nathan and great comments everyone. Good luck to you and not-complaining. It is a noble endeavor. I’ve also tried to stop complaining; although I’ve pretty much given up the endeavor, I still notice my complaints and grumbles more than I used to. So I hope this is a period of growth for you. As for me, I’ve decide to really go for it all this season of Lent: no more spelunking until Easter for me!

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