Friday, February 08, 2008

A Lenten Friday Five

This week's questions from the RevGalBlogPals:

1. Did you celebrate Mardi Gras and/or Ash Wednesday this week? How?
It was a strange year this year. Last week was a little bit like Mardi Gras as far as general feasting and merriment, and I did win a string of Mardi Gras beads at the arcade at Daytona Beach...but I'm really more of a Shrove Tuesday gal; love those pancakes, in any way/shape/form. But this week I was preoccupied playing catchup at work, and then Wednesday our area was buffeted by a true blizzard that basically shut down all public events and kept us at home Wednesday evening

2. What was your most memorable Mardi Gras/Ash Wednesday/Lent?
Let's see...there was that beery Fasching party my fellow German Department students and I attended back in my university days, memorable because it was the first and only time I 1)did the Chicken Dance; and 2)temporarily blacked out -- I was standing in the bathroom, the walls spinning around me, and then suddenly for a moment I couldn't remember where I was or why. (This incident went a long way toward my exercising greater caution in my collegiate partying.) But seriously...I think the first time I actually experienced the imposition of ashes, it was a profound spiritual event for me. It's still one of the major touchstones in the circle of the Church year. I'm sorry I didn't get the opportunity to go to services this year.

3. Did you/your church/your family celebrate Lent as a child? If not, when and how did you discover it?
My childhood church, an LCMS parish, had a very Pietist bent and thus an uncomfortable relationship with ritual in general -- one always got the impression that our pastors were embarrassed by too much of it, and God forbid that we ever appear too Catholic. So Lent for us was not much more than a very stripped-down Wednesday Vesper service added to the weekly church calendar. Imagine my surprise when I went away to college and found myself in a high-up-the-candle Lutheran parish that "did" Lent in a very mindful and ritually full way. I appreciated it, a lot; it was an "aha!" experience for me.

4. Are you more in the give-up camp, or the take-on camp, or somewhere in between?
I'd say somewhere in between. I think that, given my own psychology and life situation right now, "taking on" too much is a recipe for disaster, whereas "giving up" some things may indeed be beneficial. My goal this year, though, is to not confuse Lenten discipline with New Year's self-reinvention; two good ideas, to be sure, but to be undertaken with different motivations and different desired outcomes.

5. How do you plan to keep Lent this year?
I am -- shameless plug for the RevGalBlogPals' book club here -- reading the Bread and Wine Lenten anthology again. And -- yipes -- I told Fellow Traveler that I may attempt an Internet fast one day a week. We're also going to try going meatless more often at our place, and channel the savings toward charities of our choice.


Dr Laura Marie Grimes said...

Your seminary experience sounds really cool. Too bad it's not happening any more.

I was RC for a long time and the required fasting was not healthy for me on many counts--but I do miss the profound sense of community engagement it gave.

Dr Laura Marie Grimes said...

So glad that the fire wasn't dangerous. Whoa.

I am intrigued by your comment about the difference between New Year's and Lenten intentions. Probably need to reflect on that some more.