Joined: May 2002 Posts: 16283 Location: Florida
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What is lent?
Lent begins on Wednesday, February 26 and ends on Thursday, April 9, and is a period of time where you have an increased chance of a house fire if you don't properly remove it from your dryer. I think.
Joined: Jun 2012 Posts: 1091 Location: Texas
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At the risk of being called irreligious, evil, or whatever, I offer the following in the spirit in which it began - having a little fun. When I was in college, we played what we called "The Lent Game." You made a list of what you were giving up for Lent; the one with the longest list won. The only rule; everything you were going to give up had to begin with L; e.g. luncheon, liver, licorice, lemon drops, etc. Le(n)t the game begin.
_________________ Love what you do, and do what you love. Don't listen to anyone else who tells you not to do it. -Ray Bradbury
Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it. -Robert A. Heinlein
Joined: May 2011 Posts: 1580
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I am told the custom of giving up something for Lent began with the same pattern that gave us Carnaval. Food was scarce in the depths of winter, and the households would scrape together whatever fat they had left and make pancakes, or other cooking requiring oil and fat, and have a little celebration. We call it Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) today. And whatever meat (carne) that had lasted that long would be part of the feast/festival, and that is Carnaval.
During Lent, Christians came to practice the absence of meat. (Carnaval is more about enjoying a last fling with meat than about how little of it could be found). This fasting was in rhythm with nature, but also identified with the self-denying asceticism that is an important theme in Christianity. For this one time of the year, Christians can interpret their abstinence (which nature might have imposed anyway) as solidarity with Jesus, who had no place to lay his head and who made the ultimate self-sacrifice.
Last year I gave up a very bad habit, addiction really, for Lent, as I had at Lent for many years previously. This time it stuck. I have not gone back to it since then. In this age of material plenty, when self-control is the most important issue in health and self-indulgence goes beyond all bounds of a balanced life, it might be good to think about ways we can reduce our cravings for convenience, disposability, impersonal distance, extravagance to impress others, and commodification of everything. I might suggest taking up a new recipe each week for cooking at home, and dabble in the marvels of vegetarian cooking while we are at it. I discovered a wonderful sweet-potato and chickpea curry (sorry, requires tamarind which is hard to find) this way two years ago. The irony of using foodiness as a way to do self-denial has got to have some appeal to all you heathens.
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