March 9, 2011

Lent is About Sacrifice, Not a Dare!

"RT @M3RLz: Why would you celebrate lent if you never go to church?!
I'm so confused... Just call it a dare since that's basically what it is."
As a person who was born and raised in church, I am greatly offended when people use religion as an excuse when it suits their needs. One current pet peeve is hearing people say that they are celebrating Lent but cannot for the life of them remember the last time that they attended a church service.

By definition, the season of Lent is the time of preparation for Holy Week, leading up to Easter. According to Wikipedia, the purpose of Lent "is the preparation of the believer — through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial — for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus". Lent should not be taken as a joke. While most people use it to become closer to God, others are "observing" the religious holiday as a challenge to see if they can avoid doing a certain thing or avoid a certain food for 40 days.

As someone who does not take God or the Christian religion lightly, I am appalled to hear someone say: "I'm giving up [ ] for Lent". Will that bring you closer to God in any way? Will you use that time to pray more or to attend more services? Of course not, so you're not really celebrating Lent, you're challenging yourself to see if you can make it without something for 40 days; or you can even call it a self-imposed dare.

You might be wondering why a person who has been missing so many church services would be insulted by such statements. To be honest, I think I'm entitled since I'm practically a PK aka Preacher's Kid. For 24 years straight, I've been in church every single Sunday and have attended non-Sunday services. I've sung in countless church concerts and my mother has held high-ranking positions in every church that we've attended, therefore basically giving my sister and I the Preacher's Kid treatment. Even when I had chest pains (which was often due to my poor eating habits) or when I twisted my knee or ankle (which was also often since I was active even though I have weak ankles), I was there with cane in hand on a few occasions.

My very religious mother didn't exactly give me a choice; It was either go, or get out. I was never given a choice of accepting a corporal punishment/spanking or going to a Sunday night or a week-day service instead. "If you're not going to go to church, get out of my house." Anyone who knows my mother, knows that she does not joke around when it comes to anything related to God, so it was never a bluff.

When I tried to test her leniency, out of spite, she made me join three church choirs, which meant that I had to go to three, yes three, churches every Sunday. For more than five years of my life, I attended a Pentecostal, Methodist, and a Baptist church each Sunday. So yes, I'm entitled to be upset when people disrespect an important aspect of my religion.

Bottom line: Lent is meant to be a sacrifice, not a dare.

I know I haven't been on in months, but I had to come back since I didn't feel like bombarding my followers on twitter or my friends on facebook with how I was feeling. What's a blog, if not for posting frustrations?

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my sense of entitlement was in regard to being upset about people misusing the term "Lent", not about redemption or salvation.***

1 comment:

THE 78' MS. J said...

I so feel you on this post, I've been watching folks all week talk about lent half of them are the most ratchet tweeters known to man. Shrugs hopefully this post will make them some kind of way about playing with God.