A Positive Lent

by Richard on February 25, 2007

I almost hate to admit this (almost!), but I really like the Church of England’s promotion of a positive Lent. Instead of giving things up, you take actions daily: make someone laugh, give way to someone in a hurry, spend time in silence… Nothing grand or earth-shattering by themselves, but could have quite an impact if taken up by the whole church. So though I’m late to the party, I hope I’m not too late.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1

Dave 02.25.07 at 2:52 am

You’re welcome to the party (as long as you’ve brought a bottle of wine).

Actually I think the positive stuff is just for the first 20 days or so. Once we’ve got ‘em in we’ll hit ‘em with the real acts of penance.

2

Beth 02.25.07 at 10:49 am

Every year, I give up complaining for Lent. I guess it could be a positive kind o giving up, since it should theoretically benefit those around me! I also gave up chocolate, though, as an insurance for when I don’t manage not to complain for 40 days…

3

Kim 02.25.07 at 11:02 am

Oh dear. And there was I thinking that Lent was a penitential season, forty days with Jesus in the wilderness and on the way to Jerusalem. Guess we’ll have to replace purple with polka-dotted vestments, almsgiving with retail therapy, fasting with binge eating, and the Stations of the Cross with the Mumbles Mile (a night out making one’s way along a famous stretch of pubs in Swansea). Oh, and we’ll have to re-write Mark 8:34: “If any want to become my followers, let them be generous to themselves …”

The other- and world-directedness bit of the campaign is more in keeping with the spirit of Lent, but the whole thing strikes me as rather frivolous, a desperate attempt to show the world that Christians aren’t killjoys. The world, I suspect, will be unimpressed - and rightly so.

It’s an example of “Designer Lent”. I’m not one for ashes and sackcloth, but I do believe that Lent should be a time for withdrawal, prayer, and reflection. Tell a crappy joke (the campaign stipulates nothing risqué - how twee can you get!)? Rather read some serious theology!

4

Richard 02.25.07 at 1:19 pm

I knew you’d say that. ;)

It doesn’t have to be either/or, Kim. Withdrawal, prayer and reflection don’t prevent the sort of positive actions that the CofE is suggesting. Kind of like fasting with a clean face and a head annointed with olive oil. Or something. And if some of the actions suggested are twee, so what? Do something different instead. If the whole church engaged in random acts of frivolous kindness during Lent, I reckon that would be pretty remarkable.

5

Kim 02.25.07 at 2:47 pm

I knew you’d say that :)

Hey, I’m all for “acts of frivolous kindness at any time. I just wonder at the wisdom of flagging it up as a Lenten discipline. Admit it, it’s a gimmick.

6

Richard 02.25.07 at 2:56 pm

‘Course it’s a gimmick. Gimmicks are OK in my book as long as they don’t become the be-all and end-all. I like gimmicks. :)

And if the publicity I’ve read is true, your mate Rowan likes them too.

7

Kim 02.25.07 at 11:10 pm

Well, you’ve made me smile. Thanks for the “positive Lent”! :)

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