Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Ash Wednesday: Protestants and Lent...

More and more Protestants are celebrating Lent. The Houston Chronicle has a little piece saying just that this morning.

I remember back in high school when some girls would show up at school one day with large ash marks on their foreheads. It was weird to me and I knew as soon as I saw it that it was just some "stupid Catholic ritual." To be honest, it didn't help that I would hear people say things like "I'm giving up Dr. Pepper for lent." Even as a nascent believer I knew that that was a display of trite religiosity. I'm not so hostile now.

'm wondering, why are so many more Protestants seeking to be engaged in some of these ancient liturgical practices?

My initial thought is that our methods of spiritual formation and discipleship (which often amount to singing songs and cognitive content) are not giving us a full-orbed Christian experience.

Roger Oakland, on the other hand, would say we are all caught up in the emergent church heresy and on our way to Rome.

Personally, I'm going to celebrate Lent, unless Roger convinces me otherwise (not going to happen). Lent isn't a biblical mandate, but neither is the Winter Retreat I'm taking my highschoolers on next week.

I'm going to commemorate Jesus' temptation and prepare for his death by doing battle with a certain temptation: the twin temptation of busyness and perfectionism. I've come up with five "non-negotiables" to help me to do this. They are pasted on my desk now. #4 is "Set a Quitting Time." I've tended to work as if the kingdom of God depended on me...that is a sin!

So which is it? Is Lent a valid practice of repentance and preparation for Easter, or is it a heretical interjection of Satanic doctrine? Are you taking part, and if so, how?



Anonymous said...

Am unable to print this post, due to your color context or something else. I get a print that is totally black and not readable. Do not have a print problem with other blogs.

Damian Romano said...

Actually friend, we haven't had anyone else complain about the printing. Perhaps you could try to copy-and-past the post onto a word doc and print it, that should help.

Thanks for stopping by.

Zach Lind said...

great post, matt. growing up I think I had the same feelings about lent that you did. I've come to see it as a valuable practice. obviously, it can be a bit trite depending on one's approach to it, but I think it's wise to leave room for the notion that it can also be beneficial.

Matt Wilcoxen said...

Thanks, Zach, I agree, it definitely has some merit! Thanks for the input. I hope Germany is treating you well!